The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

“Introvert days” are a valid form of self-care

Emma Cathers
Emma’s illi for the self care/lazy days column

College can be a breeding ground for hyper-productivity and stress.

I often feel overwhelmed by the seemingly never-ending to-do list that takes over my schedule each semester.

Through therapy, I have learned that simply doing nothing every so often can be a beneficial tool for taking care of my mental health.

During my first year at UVM, I was constantly productive to a fault. I would spend all day, every day, doing homework, working and cleaning my space.

However, I was not taking care of myself mentally. Constantly pressuring myself to be productive caused me to burn out. I would spend any break from school doing absolutely nothing because I was too emotionally exhausted to handle anything else.

Burnout in college students is caused by chronic stress felt over a long period of time and may result in fatigue, lack of motivation, irritability, as well as physical and mental illness, according to a Feb. 3 article from Malvern Behavioral Health.

When I would try to relax and scroll on TikTok, my For You page would be constantly filled with videos of put-together “girl bosses.”

I liked the inspiration I got from these videos, but sometimes it feels like these girls are in a constant state of productivity that I needed to match in order to be adequate.

When I finally hit my breaking point during sophomore year, my therapist told me that while it was good that I prioritized school and success, I also needed to prioritize my own well-being.

I knew I was mentally exhausted, but I didn’t understand how bad it had gotten until I realized I barely spent time on anything but school. I didn’t spend much time doing the things I enjoyed anymore, and even lost some friends because I was stuck in a constant state of working.

Now, I love to partake in what I like to call “introvert days” to balance out my productivity.

By spring semester, I was taking about an hour every day to allow myself to recharge after classes. If I wasn’t taking a nap, I was watching an episode of “Gilmore Girls” and eating a snack to unwind and relieve some stress.

When I spent time taking care of my mind, I had much more energy to put into other things I loved doing, such as spending time on hobbies and with my friends.

Recently, I’ve seen a phenomenon similar to my introvert days circulating on TikTok—where people are calling these “rot days.”

“Bed rotting” is a recent TikTok trend in which people are sharing their self-care routines on mental health days, according to a July 13 article from Wondermind.

Bed rotting may have negative side effects if done excessively, but experts say that small amounts of relaxing in bed can be beneficial to reduce exhaustion for those in stressful roles, according to an Aug. 21 Asbury Park Press article.

For busy college students, bed rotting can be an easy way to blow off steam in between classes or over the weekends, as an alternative to taking a nap, running errands or continuing to do work.

Bed rotting provides a more Gen Z approach to preserving mental health, in contrast to the “girlboss” era, originally started by millennials in the 2010s, according to a June 17, 2022 Evie article.

I used to feel ashamed of taking time for myself; I remember in high school when my friends would say I wasn’t doing enough if I wasn’t busy with activities for every second after school.

I participated in a lot—all honors classes, dance, theater and music lessons—yet I was still convinced it wasn’t enough because I took a short nap after school.

“Productivity shame” is defined as setting unrealistic expectations for oneself, causing a feeling of never doing enough, according to an article by Todoist.

It has been a big learning curve realizing that I don’t always have to be “on.” I’ve realized I will be more productive if I allow myself to take care of my own needs.

There are a few things I’ve learned about my introvert days that help me to maximize my resting potential.

First, I like to call them “introvert days” rather than “lazy days” or “rot days” because this helps me to minimize the guilt I feel. It’s not being lazy if I just need some time to recharge and if it’s benefiting my mental health—I don’t need to feel guilty for taking me-time.

I also like to get as much work done before my resting period as possible. This allows me to cross these items off my mental to-do list—I can’t relax if I’m thinking about all the things I have to get done.

Additionally, Wondermind explains that it is necessary to be mindful with your bed rotting. It’s important to set expectations, try relaxing non-screen activities and integrate more self-care into your daily routine, according to the article.

Mental health days, introvert days, rot days or whatever else you call them: we all need a break sometimes. Allow yourself to take time to breathe and put away your responsibilities for a while.

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About the Contributor
Emma Dinsmore, Digital Media Editor
(She/her) Emma Dinsmore is a junior elementary education major and political science minor from Queensbury, New York. She has been an Opinion Columnist for the Cynic since the fall of 2021, and became the Digital Media Editor in the spring of 2024 as well. In her free time, she loves writing, baking and watching chick flicks. Email [email protected] to get in contact with Emma.