A year and half after the Covid-19 outbreak, parts of world are opening up and moving on from the pandemic life to how things used to be before.
It is natural to experience fear of missing out (FOMO) from months of being trapped at home with limited interactions with people and lack of activities as we are hard-wired to seek face-to-face connection as humans.
People experience FOMO for many reasons: unhappiness, loneliness, and comparing themselves to others, assuming that they have it better.
However, the high levels of FOMO are linked to excessive use of social media and watching people doing more than you. It is a Catch 22 because we use social media to combat loneliness, but watching others have fun only adds to feelings of loneliness and anxiety.
These days, FOMO levels largely depend on where the individual resides as that determines completely different levels of socialising, traveling, or being locked down. One reason FOMO has been challenging is due to the uneven re-opening after lockdown across countries.
We seek and value human connection, and watching others have more freedom than us can have a damaging effect on our mental health, especially when others are partying without masks while we remain cooped up at home with no end in sight.
Before you feel too discouraged, there are little techniques we can practice to overcome FOMO:
- Practice gratitude
It sounds like a cliché, but one of the most valuable skills in daily life is gratitude. Write one thing you are grateful for in life. It can be your health, your family or even your access to the Internet because you are among the minority that can check what is happening worldwide.
- Establish social media boundaries
Limit checking social media before it brings you down too much. A study suggests that limiting social media to 30 minutes a day can significantly reduce anxiety and loneliness.
- Take a shower
The quarantine can make you lazy and neglect self-care and hygiene. It might seem simple, but taking a shower daily can help boost your mood. It helps cleanse your mind like your body.
- Moisturise daily
Whether it is unscented or smells like vanilla, show your skin that you care. Give yourself a massage and remind your skin that it is always loved, even in this chaos.
- Wear comfortable clothes
Staying home can make you not want to try but dress well for yourself. Maybe wear something that is associated with happy times. It is your body, treat it with care.
- Drink cold water
Staying home all the time can feel monotonous, and it is easy to reach out to unhealthy snacks when you are bored. On the other hand, you might be thirsty that can be perceived as hunger. Keep your body hydrated because there are only benefits to drinking water.
- Cook food
There is something therapeutic and relaxing about cooking. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and it can be wai wai. Soak it, sautee it and add vegetables to it. Enjoy the simple flavours instead of eating everything out of a packet.
- Clean something every day
It doesn’t have to be your entire house. Organise a drawer and set aside clothes to donate, dust the countertops. Fold your laundry or hang them in your closet. Wipe down the bathroom sink.
- Spend time outside
Whether it is your garden or your terrace, sit on the ground and walk barefoot on grass. Talk to your plants or look at the clouds. Start small and increase it slowly. Do not forget your sunscreen.
- Create something
It can be art, poetry or a dish. Knit a sweater, learn a new language or take an online class. Use the extra time constructively by attempting something you may have always wanted to do but never got around it.
- Talk to someone
Call a family member or a friend and have a chat. Do not keep the entire conversation about Covid-19 and how awful you feel. Instead, catch up on old times and things you plan on doing. Talk about fun memories. Keep complaining to a minimum.
- Hug your pet
If you have a cat or a dog, spend time with them. Your pets are so happy to have you around, and letting them know you still love them will only boost your mood. They also happen to the best listeners, and they never complain.
The root of the fear of missing out is the perception that others are having more fun and living better lives and it can damage your self-esteem and mental health.
Overchecking Facebook and Instagram can make it worse. We know what we see on social media is inaccurate, yet we cannot help but believe it. Let’s keep the hours we spend on our phones at a minimum. Easier said than done but give it a try and see a difference.
Because FOMO is strongly related to social media usage, it is essential to focus on genuine connections instead of vicariously living an imaginary life on the Internet. Take small actions and make changes, whether by spending time with family, the garden, or your pets.
Engaging in activities that connect us with the real world can give us a better sense of belonging and significantly decrease anxiety. It can make you happier, and we could all use that now.
Take care of yourself and be there for others.