The Joy Of "Filler Episode" Days

Don’t do it for the plot.

Originally Published: 
TikTok thinks everyone deserves filler episode days — here's why.
Getty Images/Delmaine Donson

If you feel like you’re constantly pressured to do the most, you need to hear this: Not every day has to be action-packed. In fact, TikTok says it’s sometimes nice — and even necessary — to have “filler episode” days where you barely do anything at all.

In a TV series, a dramatic couple of episodes is usually followed by a filler episode where the characters kick back and relax or do something totally unrelated to their own development. Nobody falls in love, moves to a new city, or gets a promotion. Instead, they buy groceries, have a flashback, or chat about nothing in a cafe. But it’s boring and mundane on purpose, as it’s meant to give viewers a break from the excitement of the main story. Filler episodes also help pad out the season so that the show writers don’t burn through all of their good ideas.

On TikTok — where the term “filler episodes” has over 36 million views — people are applying the same idea to real life... and it’s so refreshing. During a filler episode, you basically give your main character energy a recovery day. This is when you’ll run all your errands, stay home to clean or do laundry, make phone calls, or simply stare out a window... and it’s something experts co-sign. Here’s what to know about the trend.

All The Benefits Of “Filler Episode” Days

According to Leeor Gal, LMFT, a licensed therapist and owner of The Therapy Gal, filler days provide you with the opportunity to refuel and unwind from your “plot twist” days. If you just had a big event, like a vacation or a whirlwind work week, a filler day is in order. Sure, you might feel compelled to further the plot with something equally fun and exciting, but Gal recommends slowing down and doing nothing for an hour, an evening, or even an entire weekend.

As Gal explains, attempting to live in a constant state of excitement means you never get to rest, relax, or recharge. Instead of constantly aiming for Emmy award-worthy days, allowing yourself a filler episode will do your mind and body a favor.

While everyone needs time off, filler days are especially important for introverted folks who tend to feel drained after too much action. “If the way you recharge is through alone time or downtime, then having filler days is going to be an important part of your week,” says Gal. That can mean a Friday night in or a Sunday spent horizontal in bed.

Besides being relaxing, filler episode days can also help with your productivity in the long run. “When you have time to relax and recharge, you develop a renewed level of energy and focus, which then allows you to enhance your abilities to accomplish your tasks,” Gal explains.

You don’t have to be lounging around on filler episode days, either. Gal recommends going for a long walk, doing a fun workout, or streaming a meditation session. “This will ultimately promote a more fulfilling, balanced life,” she says.

At their core, filler episodes can function as your all-important self-care days. “If you notice yourself becoming irritable, experience low mood, low productivity, difficulty sleeping, social withdrawal, and physical symptoms of stress, you may be on your way to burnout,” Gal tells Bustle. Take it as a sign that you need a lazy, boring, low-stress day before you get back to the regularly scheduled programming.


Leeor Gal, LMFT, licensed couple and family therapist, owner of The Therapy Gal

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