What is ‘sunshine guilt’? Why you feel extra shame on nice weather days

The sun will come out tomorrow — but do you care?

Maybe you’ve opted to partake in the two recently viral “lazy” trends: bed rotting, an indefinite state of sloth at any time of day, or hurkle-durkling, to lounge around in the morning when you should be seizing the day.

The regret you feel when ignoring a beautiful day in favor of more bedtime indicates you’ve been stricken with “sun guilt” or “sunshine guilt” — and based on the number of views the term has garnered on TikTok, it appears to be pretty common.

Dr. Nadia Teymoorian, a psychologist from the Moment of Clarity Mental Health Center, explained to Bustle that “sunshine guilt” is the feeling of remorse one gets when they stay inside on a nice day, and the feeling can intensify if the person assumes everyone else is outdoors enjoying their lives.

User @thereneereina posted a video explaining the phenomenon earlier this month, which has racked up 230,900 views as of Monday morning.

“It is an abnormally beautiful day outside, but I’m tired,” she said. “So now I feel this pressure to go outside and go for a walk and enjoy the weather while it lasts.”

She continued, “I can’t enjoy myself indoors now because the whole time I’m thinking that I should be outside. So basically my day is ruined.”

Virtually everyone in the comment section admitted to feeling sunshine guilt as well.

“yep. the sun is harassing me, calling me a lazy pos.

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the sun is a villain today,” one person quipped.

“I think about this every time I’m loafing on my couch, & the sun is beaming through the windows,” another said.

On a warm and sunny day, it seems as though everyone is outside at a park or eating outdoors. Getty Images
On a warm and sunny day, it seems as though everyone is outside at a park or eating outdoors. Getty Images

This type of guilt tends to go hand-in-hand with the fear of missing out, or feeling like you’re doing something wrong.

“Some common causes for this type of guilt are associated with societal norms or values, and feeling that we are not meeting them,” Kevin Belcastro, LMFT, a therapist with Mental Health Center of San Diego, told Bustle. “There are negative stigmas associated with [relaxing inside] or not taking advantage of ‘good’ weather.”

While sunshine and socialization can be good for you, different people have individual needs, so if staying in and watching reality TV is what you need at the moment, that’s OK.

If you’re too tired to go outside or would rather have a day on your couch, you might feel a bit of FOMO — and possibly a bit of regret. Getty Images
If you’re too tired to go outside or would rather have a day on your couch, you might feel a bit of FOMO — and possibly a bit of regret. Getty Images

Teymoorian suggests not letting the guilt get to you by trying to enjoy yourself and shifting your mindset “to focus on self-care, as well as your intention and priorities.”

“Remember, you write your own story, so you have a choice and you are capable of creating a feeling of balance and happiness,” she shared. “Avoid that unhealthy thought process of FOMO and make happy memories based on your own needs.”

Previous studies have shown that embracing lazy mornings really could be a boon to well-being.

A December 2023 study published in the journal Sleep Health suggests that sleeping in on the weekends could actually save your life in the long run.

Researchers found that an extra two hours of sleep on the weekend can reduce the chances of a heart attack or stroke by 63% — especially for people who get less than six hours of sleep during the week.