FOMO is one of those rational fears that feels irrational, and they are just plain annoying to have.
If you didn’t know already, FOMO is the acronym for the Fear Of Missing Out! And when you’re afraid of something, a lot happens to your mind.
Sure, you’re others may laugh at you for stressing about missing meatless monday, but you can’t describe how you were feeling utterly helpless and awful the whole time you couldn’t be there.
And it gets you thinking…
What else have you missed out on that you can’t remember??
And you’re absolutely right, you probably have missed out on a lot of things (ouch). No wonder you’re so distressed! But, have you considered why you missed out these things? Or why you don’t believe your FOMO feelings are really real?
Let’s take a deeper look at to what happens when you’re real FOMO takes hold.
1. Intrusive Thoughts
You wake up at like 11 on friday night and realize your nap went over by 5 hours, geez! You missed your significant other’s birthday party, and you feel like absolute *snickerdoodle*.
But that’s just the beginning here… unfortunately
You’re mind is racing faster than your own heartbeat, and the emotional avalanche in your mind starts collapsing downhill. You’re stuck in your own head, going over and over about what tonight could have been, only if you had set an alarm. You think:
You could have met their friends!
Gave them their birthday present
Spend the day with them
Met their family
Had a good time this evening
Make some friends
Support your significant other
and SO. MUCH. MORE
But you can only loathe on the couch because you already missed a wonderful opportunity to connect with everyone tonight. You feel so bad that you missed out on all that bonding; it’s something that can’t be recreated again.
But the truth of the matter is that, yes, you did miss out, but that’s okay. You deserve time to relax, and it was an honest mistake. It’s awful to expect yourself to be 110% everyday and every hour without catching a break! You’re allowed to feel upset about missing something that was really important to you; you should, and I say it all the time: you’re feelings are always right, no matter how insane they can be, they are apart of who you are.
There will be times where you feel so sad after missing out of an event. The best thing you can do is try to catch up with your partner tonight or the next day to have your own bonding. You can even invite others who attended that event you *slept* out on! Even though you missed tonight’s meeting, your soirée can be even better than the one you missed, and this will help ease your loud thoughts.
2. The Guilt
When you finally calm down your bothersome thoughts, the next wave of FOMO hits; and you feel awfully guilty. Yeah, you already know that you can meet up with your SO tomorrow, but now you can’t help but feel really responsible for how they feel.
If they feel sad or upset tonight, it’s probably your fault… right? They’re probably feeling like you don’t care about or love them enough to show up to some “party”. Or, even worse, that you just didn’t even remember to show up! They must feel like you just don’t think about them. Their friends are thinking you both should break up. Maybe your S.O. is actually consi- woah, let’s back it up!
It’s not your fault!! Yes, it’s true that actions cause emotions, as I said in my article about dating, but remember, everyone has their own emotions.
Remember what I said earlier about emotions being a unique aspect about you? That’s true, however, we don’t always have to act on those feelings. Feel what you need to feel! Shout and scream and cry; those are your emotions, and they deserve to be listened to. It’s highly unlikely that your S.O. would dump you for missing their party because you spent the day working and accidentally fell asleep after (and if that magically somehow is the case, then a serious talk is needed!).
It’s hard to not feel like you’re the cause of ruining their special event, especially when they mean a lot to you. But best friends, close family, and partners usually understand your needs, and if you need to prioritize your self care, they would want you to be the best, happiest person you can. If they do feel sad that you missed the event, tell them what stopped you, and especially mention how you felt guilty about it.
Events and deadlines can always be rescheduled, but you only get one mental health, and one brain. That’s why it’s all the more important to look after yourself… which leads me to:
3. Caring For Yourself
FOMO is stressful, and dealing with it is just a painful mess of anxiety and exhaustion. You blame yourself, feel lonely, and sorry all at the same time, so when you’ve finally come to the end of the FOMO, you need some self love!
While calming yourself down and scheduling times with the people you missed today, it’s important to stay take it easy on your mental state. Chances are, you’ve probably been through a whirlwind of emotions, so it’s a good idea to check in on yourself and notice patterns in how you’re feeling.
If you’re intrusive thoughts keep trying to disrupt your efforts at being calm, try to watch some movies, go on social media, or talk to other friends. It’s better to deal and relax your mind than brush them off and think they don’t mean anything. FOMO effects will gradually lessen, so be gentle with yourself and the people you missed, because they probably want to meet with you as well. It will take time to find a date to get together, so allow everyone (including yourself) to take their time!
And there you go! FOMO happens to all of at some point no matter how busy we are or aren’t. Remember to take care of yourself and not beat yourself up, because there will always be a next time with good people, and you’ll always be apart of it 🙂
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Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.