November 20, 2020

8 Ways to Combat Loneliness, Anxiety & FOMO during the Next Round of Quarantine.

We are entering another period of quarantine in many countries. 

We have to stay at home; we cannot go out and enjoy our favorite restaurant. We cannot go to the cinema and have some snacks while watching the latest movie. Our lives changed, and we are missing the many activities that we used to do. 

What do you think about that? 

Have you discovered that you are an introvert and are actually happy to avoid all the events and gatherings? Or are you going to sorely miss that part of your life? 

What type of person are you? Are you the type who wants to say yes to every invitation? Do you like to join every party, go to new restaurants and attend events? Is your life full of these activities?

You may have heard of the term FOMO (fear of missing out). People with FOMO want to be present at every event because they don’t want to miss something. 

Us FOMO-ers are afraid of not going to a party because we may not meet our future partner. We are worried that if we do not go to the new restaurant, we will not have much to say to our friends. 

COVID-19 has changed FOMO in two ways: 

>> The first aspect is that, yes, we have to stay at home. COVID-19 forced the cancelation of many events, and we can’t physically be present for most things. So, here is the silver lining and the first thing that has changed: we are not really missing out because there are simply fewer or no events.

>> At the same time, we have to stay at home more, we have more spare time, so our attention is taken over by social media. We want to check every single post, video, or podcast available. So, essentially, FOMO has moved to social media (and maybe even increased). Now the fear of missing out is what our friends and influencers say on the internet. The concept is the same, except now we’re spending more time in the virtual world. 

And when we are on the internet, the artificial intelligence of social media feeds us with their best suggestions—we keep scrolling, watching, and passively reading. But there are ways to track the amount of time we are online and what we are watching. We can have a look at that and ask ourselves: is it all worth that time?

We have discussed the meaning of FOMO, but what leads us to have FOMO? What are the main reasons?

We talked about the role of social media in FOMO. A second reason is loneliness. When we feel lonely, we are more likely to compare ourselves—see ourselves less favorably.

Other reasons are psychological: anxiety, low self-esteem, and seeking external happiness. When we have low self-esteem levels, experience anxiety, or seek happiness externally, we start to believe that these other people are better and happier than us.

But what if we choose to control this fear? Can we decide if we want to do something, or is it an artificial intelligence that drives us?

The answer is yes! We can choose JOMO: the joy of missing out. It’s enjoying what you’re doing in the here and now and not on social media broadcasting or seeing what everybody else is doing.

Here is a list of eight tips for embracing JOMO:

1. Disconnect from technology.

Use the technology for fun—a way to connect with people. Do not allow technology to decide for you. You can even do a “digital detox” to decrease the abuse of tech.

2. Reflect.

Take some time to contemplate how you are spending your time and how it makes you feel. What are the reasons you joined the last event? Did you enjoy it?

3. Be more intentional with how you spend your time.

Spend some time consciously deciding what is important to you and your happiness, and how you want to spend your time. And then prioritize those things. What activities or events fit in with your goals or priorities? Do you consciously choose them?

4. Be mindful and present.

Cultivating JOMO includes slowing down and becoming more in the moment. Bring awareness to your emotional and physical needs and choose to be more present in your life. We are often in a rush. Just slow down and reserve more time for activities you want to do, without just jumping from one thing to the next. 

5. Practice saying, “No.”

Let’s learn to say no to things without fear or guilt. You can consciously choose what is necessary or brings joy. If you are a parent, you may have to say no to your child. It is challenging but beneficial to their proper development. Practice saying no and choosing long-term happiness.

6. Quality over quantity.

Every time you make a decision on how to spend your time, choose the one that makes you genuinely happy. Do less and feel better. Follow the 80 percent rule: what do you spend 20 percent of your time doing that gives you 80 percent of your happiness?

7. Take time for yourself.

Yes, you’re probably already alone a lot, but this means to disconnect from everything, real and virtual, and dedicate time to reflecting, thinking, and meditating.

8. Set expectations.

You ultimately decide what others can expect from you. If you choose to react immediately, then people will expect that. Consciously take your time before reacting; be creative and intentional. 

JOMO is a lesser-known word that balances FOMO and gives us more control over our lives and, ultimately, our happiness.

We know that FOMO can come from loneliness, anxiety, low self-esteem, and can be amplified by social media. But, now that we know that, we can control it and choose. We can decide how much technology we use, with whom we spend our time, be more mindful about our choices, and start practicing no. 

We can choose simple ways to become happier and enjoy our life.


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