Until a few months ago, I have to admit, I used to suffer with an extreme case of FOMO. I didn’t want to admit to it, but I realised it’s actually a real and a pretty harmful thing to feel, if left unchecked. I would often stare at my phone, looking at all the amazing things other people were up to and wondering why was feeling so left out. I also pondered over why I didn’t own the beautiful clothes/make-up/home decor they did too. When you are feeling like this it seems everyone seems to live in some sort of showroom paradise of non-stop fun that was just non-existent for me. It was so ridiculously tiring and left me feeling sad and deflated. It’s not a good place to be and no one deserves to feel like that.
WHAT IS FOMO?
Let’s clear up what we are talking about when we say FOMO. For those unaware, FOMO stands for ‘Fear of Missing Out’, it’s now so commonly used it was added to the Oxford dictionary in June 2015.
-A state of mental or emotional strain caused by the fear of missing out.
-Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media
FOMO AND BLOGGING
I think as a blogger, feelings of FOMO are really common. Everyone is painting such a perfect picture on their blogs and social media, with tales of amazing adventures, highly edited photographs and an overwhelming amount of material possessions, it’s hard to know what is real anymore and so easy to get sucked into the vortex of FOMO. As bloggers, we live on social media and it’s hard to break free.
“FOMO is ultimately it’s the belief that whatever other people are doing, it is better than what you are doing right now. FOMO perpetuates the fear of having made the wrong decision on how to spend time, as “you can imagine how things could be different”.”
HOW I OVERCAME MY FOMO
FOMO is a really difficult habit to break, because unless you realise it’s happening, you can’t actually recognise why you are feeling so miserable. One of the first steps for me was actually just accepting the reason I felt sad was down to FOMO. For so long, I didn’t want to admit it and was in denial for a while, when I really searched inside my soul, deep down I was suffering, and understanding that was half the battle.
The main key for me for overcoming FOMO was to just realise two very, very simple things…
a) Focus on whats happening to me RIGHT NOW
b) Think about myself…. not OTHERS.
When I worked this revelation out, it hit me like a lightning bolt. So simple, but with social media surrounding me at every turn, it’s so easy for my judgement to be clouded. I could easily spend an evening in, reading blogs and endlessly scrolling social media and feeling like I was missing out on something, vicariously living through others. In that time I’d wasted my own evening by not embracing all the free time and peacefulness I had. I could have had a lovely hot bath, binged watched a whole series on Netflix or called a friend – What had I been doing??!! Why am I so hung up on other people that I had forgotten someone who is amazingly important in my life…… It’s Me! Ugh, so simple (face palm).
MY ADVICE ON FOMO
I’ve been working on this a while now and this is what I’ve come up with as the ultimate survival guide for getting over FOMO, and it’s a tricky one and will take some self-discipline but hang in there:
♡ Accept this is your now – I now like to call it ‘the FUN of missing out’, instead of feeling sad that I am not at the latest blogger event or party, I now like to indulge in a smug feeling that I have a whole evening to do everything I love instead. I accept that this is my situation right now and make the most of it. I have complete control of the TV remote, I eat all the foods I love, I have no one to answer to, only me.
♡ Put yourself first – This is a key point for me. I am so used to doing what other people want to do, I’d forgotten how to satisfy my own wishes and desires. It’s a big mindset shift to change from wanting to please others to just say ‘No, I want to do this for me’.
♡ Stop asking questions and wondering ‘What If’ – There is no point wondering what could have happened or what could be if things were different. What is happening is right now and that is all that matters, don’t waste time and emotions asking questions that are impossible to answer like ‘What If?’ that will never be answered and lead to assumptions and uncontrolled thoughts spiralling out of control (most of which aren’t true!)
♡ Thinking ‘People are having a better time then me’ is unhelpful, and often not true -Instagram offers more than just filters, you can paint such a perfect life, but hide a wealth of secrets. Who knows how people are really feeling? They may look like they are having a whale of a time on social media but who knows what is happening underneath the surface. Everyone has their own stresses going on and just because they don’t share them, doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering in their own way too.
♡Disconnect for a while – To truly focus on the here and now, it’s a lot easier if you take a while to disconnect, even if it’s for just an hour. Take a long, hot, bath and switch off. Turn off all devices, put on some soothing music and just be in your own space for a while and think about what is important to you.
♡ Put together a list of things you love doing – When I first realised my FOMO was getting out of control, I realised I didn’t even know what I enjoyed doing on my own anymore, that’s a really sad state to be in. I had to physically write a list of ideas of things to do so that when I would find myself at a loose end and negative feelings crept in I could use my list to remind me of the alternative things I love to do. I put on my list crocheting, reading, walking the dog and enjoyed reconnecting with my favourite things again.
♡ Gratitude – Instead of chasing fantasies, being grateful for what you do have and look around you to see the goodness in your situation now. Savour the moment and appreciate what is around you.
♡ You won’t always miss out – I also found it helps to realise I won’t always miss out – just because I’m not at the party tonight, doesn’t mean I will never go out again. This is just tonight and there will be other days. I’ll have my time and when I do, it’ll be amazing.
It’s all very simple really, yet so difficult to see when you are trapped in the unrealistic world of FOMO. I hope this post has been helpful in some way, even if it helps one person, the 3 hours it took me to write will be worth it. Since freeing myself from FOMO I’ve felt so liberated and truly enjoy time on my own, I even secretly enjoy NOT being invited to things. It’s been a bit shift in mindset, but ultimately, I’m so glad I made it and I hope you can too.