The New Normal And The Return Of FOMO

While you are staying safe at home, the world is slowly getting back on its feet like nothing ever happened.

A few months ago when you were told to self-isolate, you kept asking the question, "when can I go out and live normally?" Now, months have passed by and some of us ask, "how is she casually hanging out on the beach with her friends? Isn't she worried about falling ill in the pandemic?" As you see friends and family going out and about, don't let FOMO get to you and realize that all you need is a change of perspective. 

'FOMO' - Fear of Missing Out

FOMO is a popular acronym for the real feeling and fear of missing out on life compared to others. It is a sensation that we all feel when we watch our friends and family having fun or traveling across the globe. FOMO was coined in the year 2000 and it is recently recognized as a form of social anxiety that comes from the belief that you do not want to miss out on the events and excitement. This term is more often related to excess usage of smartphones and social media. 

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash | A girl sneaking through the blinds of the window

The feeling of FOMO is not restricted to any age or gender, as per studies. A study in Psychiatry Research journal found that FOMO was linked to a greater smartphone and social media usage. The research also found that excess of use of social media and 'problematic' smartphone usage was linked with a greater experience of fear of missing out which cause negative effects on mood. 

According to Research, Fear of Missing out can cause feelings like unhappiness and dissatisfaction with life over others.

Having self-isolated and quarantined in our house, the feeling of FOMO had almost reduced. As everyone was in the same boat, the sadness and anxiety of wanting to do what others were doing faded away. Just as many countries have started lifting the lockdowns, businesses, entertainment centers, beaches, and parks are reopening, it is a confusing state of mind.

Whether to go out or not? Watching others stepping out in a difficult situation may look heroic or reckless behavior, is just a result of your perspective. At one moment you may feel to do the same and the next moment you may start caring about others. Is it really safe? Is it FOMO or 'fear of going out'? 

While the business needs to start before it fails, it is also important to follow the rules and take precautionary measures to stay safe. These decisions depend on us. We need to be diligent and act prudently in our efforts to return to 'the new normal'.

The feeling of FOMO had almost disappeared as all of us were stuck and believed that everyone is doing the same thing. But as the lockdown is lifting slowly, people are stepping out to live the moments outside the four walls. 

"I lowkey felt happy that I did not have to watch summer vacation stories of other people on social media", says a friend who is always busy during the summer break. 

Dealing with FOMO

FOMO is caused by sadness and feeling unsatisfied with our own lives. To regain happiness and satisfaction, you need to refocus your attention on the things that make you happy. This is one of the best ways to deal with anxiety and sadness. Start following a routine from day to night and include activities that motivate and encourage you. 

  • Start journaling

I promise it helps. Every day, before going to bed, write about the things you are grateful for. You may write about the smallest moment of happiness or achievement of the day. This is known as 'gratitude journaling'. A lot of people who have been following this routine have experienced change. They have learned to accept the little things in life.

Especially, in the difficult times where you cannot have the most of the outside world. Gratitude journaling can help you channelize your thoughts in a positive direction.

  • Say NO to social media

If you are feeling lonely, going to Facebook, Instagram or any other social media is not the solution. Avoid the use of social media and go back to your roots. Practice your hobby. Studies have said, social media is not the best companion for your loneliness.

It can be agreed upon that FOMO is actually caused by the usage of social media. Being psychologically dependent on social networks is the known result of anxiety and with FOMO, this can negatively influence health and well-being, which is very likely these days. 

  • Make your screen time productive

Since most of the world operations are carried on by people from their homes, it is difficult to reduce screen time. Therefore, use your screen time wisely. Pick up activities that will upgrade you, professionally and personally. Try to stay away from the news especially early in the morning or before going to bed. There is so much negativity and vulnerability around, it can encourage you to overthink. Also, the fear of going out could be a factor that can scare you.

  • Embrace your relationships

One of the outcomes of the pandemic is that most of us have had the time to reflect on our relationships. We never really went hunting for a friend or a companion. But we cherished the moments with the family and friends around us. This moment made us choose our loved ones wisely. The ones who stuck by us during the unprecedented situations. We didn't waste time seeking out new relationships.

We spent the best time with the same people and created our own happy life. So, why let FOMO affect us? Why let social media and the happy social lives of others come in between of your healthy, happy life? 

Create your own memories, relive, and practice your old hobbies. Don't let social media affect your home-bound life. What you need to remember as you move forward for the new normal is, to stay responsible and care about others. To respect the decision of others who are making a decision to go out and move ahead. You need to enjoy your own journey without worrying about the destination and not let FOMO become a hurdle of the new life.

A writer who loves watching movie-marathons. Otherwise, you'll find her walking around the city, cafe-hopping & trying the best food around.

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