You may be familiar with the term, FOMO – the fear of missing out. I’m unlikely to be the only person guilty of succumbing to this feeling, especially when faced with a clash of events or a disruption to plans with friends. When fomo strikes, it can send you into a crazy mindset that leads you to believe that whatever else you do in that period of time won’t be as fun or as significant, usually taking you on a downward spiral of misery and despair… well, I’ve had enough of feeling that way!
A good friend of mine recently advised me to re-train my brain into looking at the positive side of missing out on events and occasions, and since doing so I haven’t felt the fear since.
As a self-proclaimed ‘yes woman’, I have a habit of trying to please everyone. I always find myself agreeing to meet more than one friend on the same evening despite not having enough time to do so, and lately I’ve been leading a lifestyle that I simply can’t keep up with anymore – I don’t think my friends or family can keep up either! Some things that I say yes to come from not wanting to miss out, but the fear of missing out is exhausting and there comes a point when you have to tell yourself to stop.
Take a step back.
I may be a Yes Woman, but I’m not Wonder Woman.
A string of events recently triggered something in my brain, telling me that I can’t do this anymore – I won’t do this anymore. I’ve realised that the first step in feeling okay with missing out is to become content with the situation you are in, whether you have other plans or not. A couple of weeks ago I said no and missed out on something I had been looking forward to for weeks, despite having no other plans in place, and guess what? It turned out to be the best weekend I’ve had in months.
I got to enjoy a variety of other social engagements that I would have otherwise missed out on – like seeing my gorgeous baby cousin and spending time with friends who I haven’t seen in years – and in hindsight, it would have been these spontaneous plans that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on. Life has a funny way of doing that, occasionally giving you a gentle reminder that you really only miss out when you’re sat waiting for things to happen or if you big something up so much that reality never meets the hype. It’s a vicious and never-ending cycle that you need to break in order to find happiness, in turn beating that nasty feeling of missing out.
Find the joy in missing out.
Enjoy some quality ‘me’ time.
Run yourself a bubble bath, light a couple of candles and put on your Spotify playlist of choice – I opt for Norah Jones and John Mayor when I want to relax and unwind. Phone a friend and catch up on life. We all seem to be so busy, rushing through life at a fast pace and opting for emoji-filled text conversations as opposed to showing real emotion in a phone call. Indulge in a few episodes of your latest Netflix obsession, pour yourself a glass of wine and turn your phone onto Do Not Disturb mode. I’m guilty of doing the latter daily, sometimes I turn on Airplane mode if I want to seriously disconnect from reality.
If you feel like being a little bit more social, why not invite a friend or family member for coffee? Nothing beats a cuppa and good company to banish the blues. Arrange a night out with the girls. Any excuse to buy a new pair of shoes and throw on a fancy frock… Head off on a spontaneous road trip and visit a new town – you may be a stones throw away from a hidden gem that you haven’t spotted before, every day is a new adventure.
I’ve learnt that life is what you make of it, and there will always be something that you’ll miss out on. It’s impossible to do everything, see everyone, go everywhere… and even if you could, would you really be happy? So many people use social media to document their lives and whereabouts, it’s no wonder that fomo is so common with young people. If you feel like you are missing out on a party or an event, close those apps and remember that what you see online is a filtered version of reality.
The moments we treasure most are usually the ones undocumented.
You create and control your own happiness, so turn fomo into jomo – the joy of missing out is far more fun…
Let me know in the comments what you do when you feel the fear, and let’s beat fomo together!