FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

by Emily Cline

I have found that the older I get, the less I have FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). In fact, my mom tells me that I have JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out) due to my introverted nature. But I have found in this quarantine, my FOMO has resurfaced in strange ways.

I, like many others, am missing my college graduation. People are missing proms, concerts, even weddings. There is a certain level of loss or missing out that everyone is going through right now during COVID-19. Due to this, FOMO looks a lot more like fearing if we will be okay with missing these monumental mile-markers in our lives. Even though for some, like me, FOMO is just a momentary feeling, a lot of people struggle with it every day.

Have you ever logged onto a social media platform and saw a post that made you feel lesser-than? Maybe you felt left out, maybe you felt regret for not going somewhere, doing something, or being a certain person. Maybe you go to the party just because you are scared to seem lame or for something to happen that you were not a part of. A lot of us worry that something will happen when we are not present that will shape the group and how we fit into it. So, we compare ourselves, we go to the party, we fuel our own anxieties and miss out on our own lives because we become obsessed with what we “should” be doing.

FOMO and Anxiety are both NORMAL and COMMON. A lot of the time, I think FOMO can make us embarrassed to be ourselves and follow our own desires instead of the desires other place on us. As an introvert, I even feel normal anxiety for not feeling FOMO! I worry that makes me strange or seem anti-social. Overall, FOMO can cause us to overthink and question if we are enough.

One of the key ways experts say to deal with FOMO is participating more in gratitude. The more we are gracious for what we have, the less we focus on what we do not have. This could take form in a gratitude journal, practicing Radical Acceptance, or even just being optimistic. Another important step is to seek connection greater than through social media. Seeking real face-to-face connections and going out and living, instead of imaging how we should be, is a great way to combat anxiety from FOMO!

This is where the hardship comes in during COVID-19.

With little in-person social interaction and a cancellation of events and life mile-markers greater than we have experienced in decades, FOMO is getting harder and harder to handle. Although I do not have it completely figured out, I do know that it is perfectly okay to have FOMO and/or anxiety in this time. Feel your emotions, mourn the losses for what is missing, express gratitude for what is still there, and know that it is okay to talk about it!

What does FOMO look like for you in this weird time of quarantine?

Hi! My name is Emily Cline and I am from Christiansburg, Virginia. I recently graduated from Roanoke College with a Bachelor of Arts in both Public Health Studies and Sociology. I hold both my ZUMBA license and my Group Fitness Instructor certification through the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and love the combination they provide in strengthening both mental and physical health! Mental health education is important to me because of the impact it has on every aspect of our lives. Without truly understanding and caring for ourselves, we will never have the opportunity to live this beautiful life to the fullest!

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