It’s a (No) Bones Day: Practicing Self Care

TikTok famous dog Noodle encourages viewers to practice self-care. (Courtesy of Instagram)

TikTok famous dog Noodle encourages viewers to practice self-care. (Courtesy of Instagram)

Noodle has become such a widespread sensation that when a girl in my class announced that it was a “bones day,” it felt as though the energy in the room had physically lifted. 

For those not familiar, Noodle is a 13-year-old pug who has gone viral on the TikTok account @jongraz which is operated by Noodle’s owner, Jonathan Graziano. Every morning at around 10 a.m., Graziano posts a video lifting Noodle from his bed. If Noodle remains standing, it is declared a “bones day,” and viewers are encouraged to treat themselves to whatever they desire — be that a plane ticket or a rice cooker. If Noodle slumps right back down in his bed, it is a “no bones day,” and Graziano instructs viewers to take it easy and be kind to themselves.

With seemingly no explanation, Noodle has captivated TikTok to the point that there are creative mashups and songs about him. @notthemaincharacters made a “no bones” theme song to the tune of “Mama Said” by Lukas Graham. There’s even a dramatic sea shanty about Noodle (by @malindamusic), paying homage to a TikTok trend from months ago. Noodle has jumped to other platforms as well, meeting celebrities and inspiring a COVID-19 vaccine-promotion video from Louisiana Governor Jon Bel Edwards.

Rolling Stone, however, is not entertained. In an article from Oct. 27, writer Ej Dickson declared Noodle the Pug “canceled.” Dickson and her co-host, Brittany Spanos, labeled Noodle’s moodcast as “cheugy,” meaning that Noodle and his owner were uncool and trying too hard. Graziano, however, was undeterred. In a TikTok video, he acknowledged that there was some truth to the claim, admitting that he was a 30-something year old on TikTok, but he continued with the daily Noodle updates.

Many on TikTok joke about what a grip Noodle has on their well-being.  I, too, am a little guilty of letting this random predictor set the tone for my days, but I don’t necessarily think it’s a problem. If you wake up feeling under the weather, seeing that it’s a “no bones day” may help you remember that there’s no shame in taking a day to rest and take care of yourself. It serves as a reminder that we all have off days, and it is important to be accepting and gentle with yourself. Graziano typically includes  suggestions for self-care, such as taking a bubble bath or staying in bed. 

On the flip side, the declaration of a “bones day” can turn your perspective to see the mundane facets of everyday life more positively. It may be just enough of a boost to transform getting your morning coffee from routine to “treating yourself.”

It might seem like a silly notion to let a pug’s balancing abilities determine your day, but in many ways, Noodle is having a positive impact on mental health. Beyond the fact that his owner advises viewers to practice self-care, Noodle’s daily forecasts are the excuse that some people need in order to take time for themselves. Instead of pushing past their limit, Noodle’s declaration of a “no bones day” gives individuals permission to take it easy and feel their feelings. We all have “no bones days,” even if they don’t coincide with Noodle’s.

Whether or not you enjoy checking on a pug for the day’s vibe, do make sure to treat yourself or take care of yourself as your body and mind need you to. Not every day will be a “bones day,” but not every day will be a “no bones day,” either. Take them as they come and do what will work best for your mind on any given day. Remember that you’re allowed to take a day in bed and recover, and you’re allowed to treat yourself. So take the time you need to check in with yourself and take care of your needs.