If you’ve had my name popping up from time to time on your social media feed, you’ve probably noticed something in the last couple of weeks.
Utter silence and the lack of posts/updates on my end.
I wouldn’t say it was planned because, as you might know, I was away and had no WiFi for over a week (I know, oh the horror!). A number of people told me on Twitter that it was the “blogger’s worst nightmare”. Couldn’t second that quicker.
At first, it almost put me into what-do-I-do-with-my-life-now mode. Because, let’s face it, in one way of another, we are all dependent on WiFi/social media/internet in general.
Another aspect of being offline hit me even harder: “How do I keep up??!!”
FOMO, or fear of missing out, is a very real thing. It can be quite destructive and harmful.
Especially so, when you put yourself out there as a blogger, a YouTuber or a social media persona.
The cure is out there though.
Despite the fact that I did miss certain Twitter threads, latest Instagram updates, lost some followers who couldn’t/wouldn’t possibly stick around because I was “quiet”, I came out of it feeling on top of the world because I won the battle. If you feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information, events, things to do and all kinds of news, turning off might sound like a scary option. That’s when this guide comes in and FOMO leaves defeated.
If you ask any blogger if they have ever felt they needed a tiny break from blogging/social media, they would most likely be lying if they say “NO”.
Unless it’s a full-time gig or someone is simply lucky to have 24 hours to dedicate to all things blogging, it is a tough job to balance it all.
As you might remember from my How To Blog While Traveling post, we are in a constant search of that perfect balance.
When life happens, uni load gets too much, work is busy, family needs you, then blogging may travel down the to-do list, no matter how much it breaks your heart.
It is applicable even when you’re not a blogger.
If you spend less time on social media comparing to your friends, co-workers or family members, you might feel like you’re always the last one to know things or missing out on all the life updates.
But guess what? – It’s OK.
Our brain gets tired. Overwhelmed. Confused. Overloaded with information.
I’ve been enjoying reading a number of books in neuroscience and have discovered that it’s proven how “turning off” is our only solution at times.
Less information = more happiness.
Today, it is impossible to “escape” completely. We can’t move into the cave or run off to a beach house somewhere in Hawaii and spend the rest of our lives riding the waves and watching sunsets. The most vital thing is to learn when/how to turn off the noise of the world and keep that FOMO at bay, so we can have that happy and quick comeback. Unless you have a beach house in Hawaii.
Anyone at any stage of their lives can suffer from FOMO.
Have you ever been out with your best friends and still checking your phone for Twitter updates? Or worse, have you gone on a date and flicked through your Facebook feed while your SO was off to the restroom or even in front of them?
Yup, that’s FOMO, in its of-course-you-don’t-have-a-problem-or-an-addition-you’re-just-browsing-because-you’re-bored what seems like innocent form.
If you ever catch yourself aimlessly flicking through IG photos (and realize it only after an hour has gone by) or doing the good ol’ pull down to refresh on Twitter every living minute, you’ve probably been bitten by the bug.
We all have, to an extent.
But it’s not just about our addiction to our gadgets.
Understanding FOMO and things that trigger it, will help you take those baby steps in overcoming it. Fear of missing out might punch extra hard when it gets mixed into this crazy concoction with comparing your current state, your life, yourself to others. That’s a massive MASSIVE no-no. That’s the rule any Pinterest quote will remind you about. So, what can you do to overcome FOMO?
How To Overcome FOMO: 7 Easy Steps
1 – It’s decision o’clock.
Very often we can watch one gazillion YouTube videos, read hundreds of articles or blog posts full of pretty great advice to help us resolve a certain issue.
And then we go away and do nothing.
It’s one of the reasons why FOMO develops this “limitless shelf life”.
That’s why, the first step is always the hardest because it means you need to acknowledge that you have a problem.
Unfortunately, tweeting about won’t help (unless all we look for is sympathy at that moment).
Making a conscious decision to get rid of FOMO once and for all is a massive step towards getting rid of it for good. It’s not easy but it’s doable!
2 – Turn it off.
One thing that usually triggers FOMO is actually the remedy as well.
Chances are, the more you’re online and “involved” in everything that is happening (you might feel as if you have hundreds of “tabs” open in your mind all at once), the more fear is creeping in. Slowly but surely. Very soon you might simply burn out.
Turning off from time to time is the answer.
Start with baby steps.
Don’t use your phone when you’re having dinner with your loved ones. Sit down to read a book or watch a movie instead of spending all evening in front of the computer screen. Block distractions such as Facebook (or any other social media platform you feel most addicted to) with the help of apps (I love Offtime, Forest, Self-Control, TrackTime, etc.) or your own willpower.
Having a no WiFi day might sound crazy (and scary!) but it is one of those “trust fall” practices that will set you on a winning road to overcoming FOMO.
Decide what’s important to read/watch/stay connected to and keep track of the time you spend “monitoring those updates”.
3 – Built what will last.
Internet and social media became our biggest technological blessing and curse.
If in the past people used to stay in touch or keep up with a limited circle of family and friends, today we “have the luxury” of seeing not only what our friends are up to, but also what Kylie Jenner had for lunch. Random example, I know. But you get an idea.
What happens is we might get lost in this Pacific-Ocean-size pool of people and their lives, forgetting that in most cases their online presence doesn’t reflect the reality with the 100% accuracy. Plus, do you REALLY need to know what he/she had for breakfast? Don’t think it’s vital.
Instead of focusing on someone else’s virtual life, pause and admire yours.
Yes, admire. Not over-analyse or criticize.
Then, look at those around you. The people who form “your circle”.
It might include your family members, your significant other and your friends.
Reflect on your relationships. Are there any toxic ones? If someone makes you feel miserable, distance yourself from them. Build your core group of Team You. Work on those relationship. Show that you care about them. They are the “real deal” and are “worthy” of keeping up with.
4 – Don’t compare.
Now, this is the hardest thing EVER.
Sooner or later, under one circumstance or another, you might feel jealous or anxious that someone has or that someone is doing something you don’t.
You start comparing your success to theirs, your relationships, your skills, your whole life.
Sometimes you might even do it involuntarily. If you’re as Pinterest obsessed as I am, you have probably seen maaaaaaaaany quotes about NOT comparing yourself to others, including this one by Theodore Roosevelt:
The moment you stop yourself from comparing will be one of the biggest achievements in your life.
I once heard someone say: ‘The fact that someone is happy doesn’t mean they stole your happiness’.
It stuck with me and has been helping me for many years now.
No matter what expensive handbag someone bought, a fancy destination they traveled to or a relationship they are currently in, they didn’t take it away from you. Therefore, there’s no need to be UNhappy about it.
On the contrary, be happy for them!
Look for advice how to achieve what they have.
Talk to happy and optimistic people (re: tip #3) and surround yourself with like-minded.
If you are a blogger, focus on what you do. Don’t panic others are ahead or catching up. It will steal the joy and make you fall out of love with your passion.
You do you.
5 – Project Happiness.
Closely connected to what I have shared in tip #4, being happy is key when it comes to overcoming FOMO.
First comes the comparison, then the frustration with what we don’t have.
As a result, it robs you of happiness.
If I am brutally honest, we rob ourselves of our own happiness.
Very often the happiness today is associated with possessions.
Take it from a girl who was growing up wearing one coat for 5 winters (your truly).
Things don’t make you happy.
Yes, they might induce that initial punch of euphoria but that’s where it ends.
Instead of desiring more or lusting after next best thing, think how much you’ve been blessed with.
Some people don’t have a roof over their heads, and you do.
Some are growing up or living their lives without any family, and you are surrounded by the loved ones.
Some dream of having one warm scarf, and you have at least 20.
Without going too deep with this tip, I’d just say this – search for your happiness on the inside. Real and unwavering joy and peace are not found in this world.
Look for something that lasts and never fails. Personally, for me it is my relationship with God, His faithfulness, my relationships with people I love and any given chance I can help others in their need.
The pure fact that you’re reading this post means you and I are blessed beyond measure. We have the means to be online in the comfort of our home, we are friends (or about to become them) and we are on the road to being happier and more thankful than ever. Yay!
6 – The power of “NO”.
Fear of missing out became a reality when you first felt like someone is doing something you are not or that they do it without you.
How do you know? You probably saw it online.
Those big-smiled photos taken in these exciting locations you’ve never been to (but maybe always wanted to go), happy faces of your friends or complete strangers who seem to have been having a lot more fun than you did on a Saturday night and news… the sheer volume of news, that pours out from people’s Twitter accounts and Facebook profiles – while it all seems AND looks real and legit, you can’t be 100% certain you would have the exact amount of fun if you were physically there.
Some events are OK to miss.
Not every activity someone else is doing is a must-do for you.
Sometimes it helps a great deal to say “no”.
Maybe not out loud into someone’s face but to yourself. Be honest with YOU. It’s all about that conscious decision what you need and what you don’t need.
If it’s an event you might miss, ask yourself if you REALLY want to be there. If yes, set a reminder or contact relevant people who will keep you updated. If you have missed a get-together and it looks like everyone have been having a great time, question yourself for the reasons you’d want your face to be there in that group photo. If your intentions and thoughts don’t revolve around “they are doing it so I better do it” or “they are leaving me out on purpose”, you’re golden. If they do, reach out to those friends and ask to invite you to the next catch-up. If they don’t, turn off those Facebook notifications and re-read tip #3.
7 – Be grateful.
Even if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving Day in your country, it’s not an excuse not to be thankful.
Like I mentioned way up there in the “Project Happiness” tip (#5), expressing gratitude for what you have and who you have in your life can turn your whole world around. To better. Much much much better.
What do you get in return for being thankful? You get your life back.
As philosophical or deep as it might sound, it’s actually pretty straightforward. Gratitude helps you to see how big the simple things are.
Tonight you’ll be climbing into a warm bed.
Tomorrow you’re going to go to work (which you sometimes can’t stand, and it’s OK) meaning you’re blessed with the means to make money, ergo provide for yourself/your loved ones. Your home isn’t being attacked because you’re not in the war-ridden country.
There are thousands of other things you might want to reflect on and be thankful for.
Starting a gratitude diary or dedicating a page for ‘saying thanks’ in your planner or a bullet journal is very helpful.
Practice mindfulness, prayer, think about everything big and small you possess or have going on.
FOMO doesn’t stand a chance in the life of a thankful person once we go through all the stages, especially this last one.
Last but not least, it’s not a one-day process.
It might take time.
Take the first step to overcoming FOMO, taking control and setting on a journey to a happier self.
It’s worth the ride.
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and let me know your thoughts about FOMO. Have you ever experienced it?
Let me know what piece of advice you found most helpful.