FOMO or the fear of missing out, has been defined as (according to google) “Social anxiety that comes from believing that others may be having fun without you.”
I agree with that definition, but I also believe FOMO can be about a little more than simply thinking that others are out enjoying their lives without you present. Over the last few months I think many of us have been experiencing a bit of FOMO anxiety related less to our friends but more to the state of our world.
I live in America which means as you may know we just had an election, and if you’ve been paying attention then you know how that went…annnd how it’s currently going (deepest of sighs).During the time period leading up to the election results everyone…EVERYONE was on their phone, watching the news, looking at news articles, doing whatever they could to stay up to date so that when a result was called they would be the first to know. I would argue that that could also be a form of FOMO. Let’s toss out another example.
COVID. The world has been battling with COVID for a long time. Too long honestly but here we are. At this moment we’re currently watching the world trying to figure out what’s going to happen next. Is it back on the rise? Are we going to be entering a second lockdown? There are a lot of questions and we want to know the answers to those questions now. So we’re on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram looking for answers, contributing to discussions. Trying to figure out what’s going on and what tomorrow may look like. Not doing that, not giving yourself access to that information might for some cause some form of anxiety. Couldn’t we maybe also classify that as some type of FOMO? Fear of missing out on information? Fear of missing out on an important announcement? I think so.
So, how do we beat it? Yes, it’s important to be informed. Yes it’s important to stay connected especially when things are a little out of whack. But, there is a point when your brain can become overstimulated with too much information too often.
So, what do we do? We take a break. Here are 3 ways to help you take that break:
Give yourself sometime away from social media and news resources. I’ve recently started a habit that I actually got from a blogger (I don’t remember the post but I’ll do some digging and link it here if I find it). At a certain time of the day I’ll place my phone on the charger and stay away from it for anywhere upwards of an hour, but an hour is the minimum. I’m trying to do this daily. The first 15 minutes are always the most difficult, but by the hour is over, I’m usually not even interested in my phone anymore and my brain is calmer.
This one can be a little more difficult to manage because it involves other people and sometimes people are difficult. Setting boundaries on what information people can and cannot share with you and when is important to maintaining that mentally healthy space especially when in the process of fighting FOMO. During the election for example, while we were waiting for results, I told a few of my friends that I did not want to hear the play by play. It was causing me too much stress and I was already putting in the work of disconnecting from it on social media so I didn’t want it thrust upon me elsewhere. Obviously, not everyone will comply but for the most part it was very effective.
This internal work might not seem as important, but it’s actually quite necessary. It’s not uncommon while trying to get comfortable disconnecting that you will get into your own head and question if this is even necessary. You may tell yourself that it’s really not that big of a deal or even that you can handle the news/social media/conversation for a little while. And you may be able too, but you also may not. Only you truly know this, but if you decide that no, you cannot and that you are to remain disconnected encourage yourself. Remind yourself why you’re taking the baby steps to give yourself a mental break. Remind yourself of how the overstimulation makes you feel and remind yourself of how you want to feel instead. Encourage yourself throughout the process. It actually helps.
Those three ways to help you to take that break and beat FOMO anxiety have been things that have helped me immensely, and I hope it helps you too!
I’ve recently started rereading a book that I highly recommend you read if you struggle with FOMO. This book it called The Joy Of Missing Out by Tonya Dalton. I’ve mentioned this book before when I first started reading it but now that I’m starting to read it again I’m realizing new things. If you’re interested in this book check out my affiliate link: https://amzn.to/3noA00l . The holidays are around the corner so if you’re looking to save your money (which I mean, we should be always), pop it in your amazon wish list and send it off to family as a little *hint hint* as something you’re looking for for the holidays. I’ve gotten a lot out of it and I feel you will too!
Alrightie friends! That’s all for today!
xx Nicole Eva