Dig this: If you’re stressed, grab a shovel

There’s a saying that if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. However, the Wall Street Journal has found there’s a subculture that discovered the best way to bury their stress is to keep digging — literally.

Charlie Mone, a student at St. Andrews in Scotland, insists of his practice on the costal town’s beaches, “It’s just relaxing.”

Mone isn’t alone digging for buried pleasure. The habit he found while on vacation in the Canary Islands transferred well to his local beaches, and the paper reports he recruits others to join in on the fun in the sand. 

Videos of people digging holes for no reason whatsoever are becoming common on social media like TikTok and Instagram. In fact, searching for “hole digging” on the latter platform produces some 26 million results. Googling “Hole digging TikTok” produces roughly 560,000 results — including news warnings to get people to knock off the viral “Hole Digging Challenge” for the benefit of sea turtles and passersby.

That said, the Journal article details some of the great minds who were hip to the benefits of digging holes before TikTok was a thing, like supercomputer genius Seymour Cray, who told Time magazine in 1988 that the tunnel he carved under his home helped him overcome stumbling blocks in his research. “…[T]he tunnel the elves will often come to me with solutions to my problem,” he insisted.

A renowned etymologist named Harrison Dyar Jr. got hooked back in 1906, and people didn’t realize how far he’d gone under the earth until a truck fell into a sinkhole he accidentally caused in 1924. 

As for modern-day ditch diggers, they’re piling on the praises. “I’d been thinking about going to the gym,” said Estelle Woodrow, one of Mone’s fellow diggers. “But gym memberships are expensive.”