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FOMO kicking in during the pandemic? The struggle is real

Published on:18 October 2021, 18:48pm IST
The fear of missing out can happen to anyone, more so in the day and age of social media. If yes, this piece is just for you, because we’ll help you tackle this!
Geetika Sachdev
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Fomo on Instagram
FOMO has become so common, more so during the pandemic. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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The pandemic has certainly been hard for people across all age groups. Being cooped up at home to stay protected from the deadly coronavirus has taken a toll not just on our physical health, but also on our state of mind. And although we’ve slowly and steadily started venturing out, there’s still that hesitation somewhere. There is a fear psychosis that prevents us from doing things with a carefree attitude, even though we are nursing more and more feelings of FOMO. 

So, what is this? Well, if you belong to the social media age, you may have experienced a fear of missing out multiple times. Scroll through your Instagram and Facebook feeds, and you are sure to come across posts that make you believe that your life is utterly boring! From attending lavish weddings to happening parties, or even those travel sojourns, all the action is there, right on your screens. That means even when you decide to give that event a miss, these posts will keep reminding you that others have a better life than you. No wonder, the struggle is real. 

Fomo on Instagram
Reduce your phone and social media usage. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

But in this tug of war of the mind and heart (and many other factors), what does one really do? Kanchan Rai, Mental and Emotional Wellbeing Coach, and Founder — Let Us Talk, shares some helpful tips with HealthShots.

Here’s how you can deal with FOMO

1. Digital detox: A digital detox is one of the best therapies to deal with FOMO. We spend most of our time behind the screens. This has increased our over-dependence on smartphones and exacerbated the use of social media, which is likely to impact a person’s emotional and mental health in an adverse manner. 

“A digital detox will certainly help in limiting the usage of technology and social media, which will reset our psychological system including the body and mind. Putting your phone away after your work hours, switching off from apps like Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms for some time will help curtail digital usage. While on detox, pay close attention to how you feel, address the difficulties and what’s it like to put away your technology crutch,” explains Rai. 

Also, read: Is social media ‘negative’ for your mental health? Let’s find out

2. Social comparison theory: With social media, people are able to focus on key facets of their lives, highlighting the positives and putting a shutter over everything and anything one wants to hide. We are busy scrolling nonstop, inquisitive about what we are missing out on and what others are doing or looking like that we often neglect ourselves. 

Fomo on Instagram
Building on your self esteem can help your emotional health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“The reason we struggle with self-doubt is that we compare our behind-the-scenes with others’ highlights. Instead of trying to be as good as or better than others, it’s important we focus on our energy and thoughts. One of the best ways to deal with this epidemic is the way we approach it. It’s quite difficult to avert this, but you can focus on being the best version of yourself, rather than the best version of someone else,” she adds.

3. Make an effort to make real connections: We get so absorbed in the virtual world that we forget to focus on real connections. Try and meet your friends in person, even if it’s for a small duration. 

Also, read: Your smartphone is wrecking your attention span and we’ve got proof!

“Planning a group outing, making plans with a close friend, or doing any activity that gets you out with your friends can be a good change. This will help you brush the feeling of missing out and put you in the centre of action. If you are too busy to make a plan, a direct message to your friend can foster a better connection than posting stories or posts all the time, and hoping for likes and comments,” says Rai. 

Fomo on Instagram
Find yourself some trustworthy friends to keep yourself mentally healthy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Practice gratitude: Getting engaged in gratitude-enhancing activities, even as simple as appreciating others or gratitude journaling will not only uplift your spirits, but also those of everyone around you. When you are focused on the abundance you already have, rather than counting the things you lack in life, your life automatically becomes more fulfilling.  

Also, read: 3 rock-solid reasons why you need to stop checking your phone first thing in the morning

“You will not feel the urge to go down the buck hole of social networking and the fear of missing out when you realize how much you already have. This can be delightful for your emotional and mental health,” she adds. 

The last word

Even though FOMO is strongly linked with social media usage, it is important to understand that it is a common and real feeling amongst individuals of all ages. Every person feels a certain level of FOMO at different times in their lives.

 If you are feeling that you suffer from FOMO, it is advised to reach out to a friend or spend some time reflecting on the things you are grateful and thankful for in your life. 

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.