31st Dec 2019
Staying in tonight? When you start to embrace JOMO, it doesn’t seem like such a bad thing
FOMO is the bane of my life. I hate the knowledge that my friends (or anyone really) are out there making memories, living the high life or having any sort of fun when I’m not around. Forget the fact that I probably had a very good reason for declining the invite. There are people having fun without me, God damn it, and I don’t like it.
While I know plenty of people who’s incessant FOMO fuels their never-ending social lives, I am a special breed of FOMO enthusiast who, although I suffer terribly with the notion of missing out, do absolutely nothing to rectify it. Instead, I sit and wallow in my FOMO, incessantly refreshing social media to further irritate myself. But do I pull myself up by the bootstraps and drag myself out to have a good time? Absolutely not. Are you mad? I just made a cup of tea for myself, for crying out loud.
So, since I’m not going to be parting with my introverted-ness any time soon, I may as well start trying to make peace with it. That’s why I was delighted to see a new psychological trend making its way into the Zeitgeist — JOMO. That is, the joy of missing out. Now that’s an abbreviation I can get on board with.
JOMO is all about making peace with where you are and embracing the moment you’re in — yes, a somewhat arsey-sounding notion, but it’s tremendously important to our mental wellbeing. As most of our FOMO stems from those little robots in our pockets, social media is doing our mental health no favours. Switching off, and actually being okay with switching off, is a tough thing to do, but it’s as necessary to our health as eating well and exercising.
Think about how often you spend on social media, consuming the second-hand fun of others, every day. Now, imagine you spent that time on some other unhealthy habit – smoking, for example, or binge-eating junk food. Your health would tumble downhill very rapidly and you’d have no choice but to cut back or risk long-term damage. The same is true for phone-time, but, as is always the case with mental health, we tend to ignore the symptoms. But if you could embrace switching off from the world, and approach it like a mindfulness exercise (as you do your daily gym session), imagine how much better you’d feel for it.
Granted, summer is pretty much the worst time for FOMO, so embracing JOMO in its place will be tough going. But here are a few tips to get you started:
Set a schedule
Go to the gym after work every day? Head to bed at 10:30 pm every night? Then you’re well used to routine, and your JOMO time is no different. Set aside a time every day where you leave your phone, laptop and everything connected to the outside world off, and embrace the quiet. You can do anything you want in your JOMO hour (or two), as long as it is not work/social media related.
Make it known
Tell people about your new JOMO journey, and make sure they’re aware that you’ll be making a conscious effort to switch off for a set time every day. They are not to contact you during that time, and if they do, then they can’t be angry that you didn’t respond. At the end of the day, you shouldn’t be constantly available outside of working hours anyway, so it’s nothing to apologise for. Set their expectations, and then go JOMO-ing guilt-free.
Don’t think that your JOMO time is going to be sunshine and rainbows every day – there’ll be days when your thumb will be positively itching for a scroll. Resist the itch. Honing your joy of missing out is like building up a muscle at the gym, and since we’re all so used to spending every second on the grid, it requires conscious effort not to do so. Stay strong, and you’ll thank yourself later on.
Don’t be a hermit
Yes, this is somewhat of a contradiction, but hear me out. Through JOMO, you want to become comfortable saying no, but you don’t want to hide behind it. Decline the invites that you really wouldn’t enjoy or that stress you out, but don’t ignore your friends and family, and make sure to make time for being social. Yes, you shouldn’t agonise over missing out, but becoming too isolated won’t help your mental health either.
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