If you’re anything like me, on more than one occasion you’ll have succumbed to FOMO.
It’s a familiar affair: you’ve just got in from a long shift. You’re shattered, and you’ve been looking forward to crawling under your duvet with Netflix and snacks all day. You get home, get into bed and then – BAM. An innocent peruse of Instagram and Snapchat has left you with the crippling fear that you’re missing out.
You lie in bed for a few more minutes, desperately trying to focus on the latest episode of Black Mirror, but you just can’t shake the FOMO. Reluctantly, you jump out of bed and start getting ready to go out to join your friends for what will likely be yet another mediocre night out.
You’re a slave to your FOMO.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Imagine a world without FOMO. A world where, as crazy as it sounds, you could come home from a busy day and spend your evening how you want, without the perpetual (if irrational) anxiety that you’ll somehow be missing out on an amazing social event that everyone at work / uni / school will be talking about for weeks.
But this world can exist. It’s all about changing your mindset, and swapping out your FOMO for JOMO – the joy of missing out. JOMO isn’t just a feeling, it’s a lifestyle. JOMO provides the perfect opportunity for self-care, for down time, without the disturbance of social media. Most importantly, JOMO allows you to enjoy your own company, without all the guilt or regret.
Forget FOMO – come to the JOMO party.
In order to transcend the confines of FOMO and enter the wonderful world that is JOMO, you must learn to deal with your FOMO.
The first key to JOMO is asking yourself the question, ‘what am I really missing out on?’ and realising your FOMO is totally invalid. Think about it rationally: when has your friends ever uploaded a Boomerang of the dentist’s surgery? Or the recycling centre? Or the post office?
Social media is often the trigger for FOMO, but social media is designed to broadcast the highlights. This constant state of fun and excitement you think you’re missing out on based on a Snapchat story or a Facebook live doesn’t actually exist. It’s just that no one is broadcasting the boring bits.
Once you realise this, you’ll be able to enjoy social media for what it is without immediately being overcome with the absurd feeling that you’re somehow living a sub-par existence, and thus avoid the pressure to do what everyone else is doing for the sake of not regretting it later.
A potential welcome side-effect of abandoning your FOMO is that you’ll find yourself trapped in the never-ending scroll-cycle of Instagram-Twitter-Snapchat-Facebook less often. Without the quietly constant thought that you could be doing something ‘better’ than what you’re doing right now, you won’t actively seek confirmation that there is somewhere else you could be right now. And we all know we’re glued to our phones too often.
Go for JO (mo).
The innate fear of missing out is a part of our psyche, but it has only been intensified by a society that revolves around social media and consumerism.
When you give up FOMO, you clear a space in your head that you can dedicate to things that make you feel good. JOMO is merely an umbrella term for anything that isn’t the feelings of anxiety and emotional strain created by FOMO. In this sense, JOMO means something different to everyone, and can be manifested in any number of ways. The most important thing about JOMO is that it’s about spending your time doing what you want, rather than falling victim to compulsive FOMO.
The joyous part about learning to love it when you’re missing out is in how you actualise your JOMO. Engaging in a bit of self-care can be the perfect source of JOMO, and it’s a great way to get used to the idea of your own company in a positive way.
When you give in to your FOMO compulsions, go out and film the night for your Instagram or Snapchat story, you’re spending the whole time trying to show everyone what a good time you’re having. In that sense, you’re not truly enjoying yourself, and concurrently fuelling someone else’s FOMO.
In that sense, sometimes doing nothing the best thing to do.We all live increasingly busy lives, and succumbing to your FOMO every weekend doesn’t give you the chance to turn off. Relaxing with a good book or a film, running a steamy bath and indulging in a stay-at-home spa evening, or simply getting an early night can often leave you feeling more satisfied the next day than the petty ‘relief’ you get from making sure that you weren’t missing out on the social event of the year by going out for the trillionth weekend in a row.
When made a regular habit, the after-effects of JOMO on your wellbeing are far more enduring than the short-term reprieve of caving to your FOMO.