Don’t let “sunshine guilt” make you feel bad

On the first beautiful day of spring—or whenever the weather is particularly sunny, breezy, and warm—it seems like everyone immediately wants to get out and about. People will gather in parks and roadside cafes to soak up the sunshine and revel in it, even if there is still a chill in the air.

Warm, sunny weather tends to energize everyone, but what if you're too tired to get outside or would rather enjoy the glow of the TV? If you plan to sleep in and relax, the chance of a great day may leave you filled with FOMO and a twinge of regret.

This anxious feeling is known as "sun guilt" on TikTok, and the phrase has millions of views. In a viral video posted on March 4, creator @thereeneereina said she experienced sunshine guilt on an "unbelievably beautiful day" because she was too tired to get out and witness it all.

"I feel pressure [...] to go for a walk and enjoy the weather," she said. "I can't enjoy my time indoors right now because I keep thinking I should be outside. So basically my day is ruined."

One netizen said in the comments: "That's why I've always loved winter and rainy days. They don't expect anything from me and it's so peaceful," while another wrote, "Every time I laze on the couch, the sun shines I feel that way when the light shines through the window.”

What is Sunshine Sin?

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Sunshine guilt is a feeling of regret every time you stay indoors on a beautiful day, says Dr. Nadia Teymoorian, a psychologist at Moment of Clarity Mental Health Center. This feeling can be especially frustrating if you assume everyone else is out there. Living their best life.

Maybe you smell someone grilling, or hear your neighbor laughing—and just like that, you feel like the most boring person in the world because you want to stay indoors. Whether you're feeling under the weather, relaxing after a busy week, or marathon-watching your favorite movie, a day spent indoors always seems less rewarding and impressive than a day spent outdoors.

Sunlight guilt can also creep in if you're too busy with other responsibilities to get out. If you live in the Pacific Northwest or a drizzly country like Scotland or Ireland, you may feel even more guilty about sunshine because good weather is so rare, Temerian tells Bustle. When pleasant days are few and far between, the pressure to enjoy them is especially strong, and so is any associated guilt about missing out.

For some, sunshine guilt may occur throughout the summer because every day is meant to be great.

The connection between sunshine and FOMO

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As Kevin Belcastro, LMFT, a therapist at San Diego Mental Health Center, explains, sunshine guilt stems from the accumulation of negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions that come from believing that you have failed , or letting yourself down by trying to maintain a good attitude. sky.

"Some common reasons for this feeling of guilt have to do with social norms or values ​​and feeling like we're not living up to those norms or values," he tells Bustle. "There's a negative stigma associated with [relaxing indoors] or not taking advantage of 'nice' weather."

That's why you might feel lazy if you decide to stay home instead of going for a hike, or you might judge yourself for not achieving your goal, such as completing 10,000 steps. You can also easily compare to someone else's day, like if your friend posted a photo of a picnic in the park while you were watching Episode 10 of Love Is Blind .

Belcastro said if you hear music from a block party or run to the grocery store and find someone walking a dog, it can make you feel like a huge failure because you're not approaching it with the same energy. Come and meet the day. But don’t worry, you don’t have to feel bad.

Why it’s OK to “waste” a day

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Belcastro says everyone has different requirements when it comes to resting and recharging, so you might prefer a peaceful day in bed rather than hitting the beach.

Sometimes you just don’t have the courage to embrace the day, and that’s okay. If you're still feeling guilty, though, Belcastro recommends thinking about the root causes of your worries. He says maybe the idea that wasting a good day is "bad" is influenced by old family narratives, and now you've accepted them as your own without even realizing it. He says it'll help to start letting go of that attitude in order to truly make the most of your peaceful day.

Allowing yourself to stay home guilt-free is also a sign that you trust your gut. As Temerion says, admitting you need a break—even if everyone else is out—is an act of self-care. While she does recommend getting as much fresh air as possible, it's totally okay to miss out on some sunny days now and again.

How to avoid FOMO on sunny days

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To fully embrace your inner time, let go of the guilt and try to enjoy your original plan. "Shift your mindset to focus on self-care, as well as your intentions and priorities," says Tamorian.

Take a nap if you need to, but you can also choose to read, clean, make a delicious dinner, engage in a hobby, text a friend, or just have a day of self-care while wearing a mask and showering.

"Remember, you write your own story, so you have choices and you have the ability to create a feeling of balance and happiness," she says. “Avoid the unhealthy thought process of FOMO and create happy memories on your own terms.”


Dr. Nadia Teymoorian, Psychologist, Moment of Clarity Mental Health Center

Kevin Belcastro, LMFT, Therapist at San Diego Mental Health Center