“Fear of missing out is just that — fear," says licensed professional counselor Justin Kahn of Point Pleasant, New Jersey. However, in today's society, this fear runs rampant with about 69 percent of millennials experiencing FOMO (fear of missing out) daily. To proactively combat feelings of FOMO as we head into the coldest nights and darkest days of the year, we asked eight experts to share their tips for fighting FOMO and seasonal blues with us.
1. Disconnect from social media
“One of my favorite tips for fighting FOMO — or at least reduce it — is to get off social media. If you are scrolling on social media and you feel competitive or experience jealousy, take a breath and put your phone down. Scrolling endlessly on your phone can lead to FOMO and anxiety. Do a social media cleanse and delete apps off your phone if they are causing anxiety," says owner and holistic therapist Katie Ziskind, LMFT, RYT500 from Wisdom Within Counseling.
"It's important to know there are events that you won't be able to attend and that's okay. As well, it's OK to not get invited to all social events. Know that you won't always be invited to everything and that's OK, too."
"Give yourself permission to let go and not over-commit. Know that if you do too much, you will feel out of balance. If you have FOMO, you might over-commit and try to do too much, you will be leaving yourself mentally and emotionally exhausted."
2. Reframe your perspective
“Because we often focus on what everyone else is doing, we can forget that everyone also has a no list — the things they gave up because it didn't matter as much as what they said yes to," says Tiffany Rochester, a clinical psychologist from We're On The Same Mountain. “You might miss out on an experience because you choose to prioritize staying within budget or being close to friends. Focus on what it is you decide to have rather than what you pass up."
3. Practice mindfulness and gratitude
“FOMO may often be the result of a racing mind that is always craving for more and forgetting to notice what is truly important. I recommend these two tips for fighting FOMO," says Archana Bahuguna, the founder of Pahoti Wellness.
"Try to slow down and remain mindful of who you are. If you like, you can practice a simple meditation practice like observing a lit candle's natural light for a few minutes while breathing deeply and slowly."
"Work on developing a gratitude practice. Pick your favorite writing utensil and jot down a list of all you are grateful for. This will help you remember all your blessings."
4. Decorate your apartment
“In your apartment, always surround yourself with things that make you smile. Make sure to fill your apartment space and your personal life with safe, positive people who love you," says certified life and business coach, Megan Smidt.
5. Get crafty
"Combat FOMO by staying creative and working with a craft that keeps your hands and mind busy," says Maddie from CraftJam. “Activities like crochet, embroidery and watercolor help with anxiety and stress relief while helping you stay present (and off your phone)!"
6. Become your best friend
“Be your own bestie, plain and simple. You can never miss out if you're having a good time — even if you're alone. Whether you're making spontaneous Target runs for apartment decorations, pampering yourself with a spa night or planning a scenic drive, there's no limit to solo entertainment," says the Just Girl Project.
7. Tune into the seasons
“The changes of seasons can impact mood and motivation. Make sure to maintain your exercise routines along with efforts to get outside," says Main Street Counseling, "There are plenty of fall and winter activities that can help you cope with symptoms of seasonal depression, including hiking, biking, fishing, skiing, snowboarding and ice skating."
8. Look to the light
“Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is real. If the shorter days and longer nights affect your mood and wellbeing, remember — orient to the light," says the Foundation for Positive Psychology.
"Try bringing color into your space, add new curtains with a fun print or cheerful color. Additionally, full-spectrum lights help bring more warmth and light into any space. Consider hanging up fairy lights — the way they brightly twinkle will reflect happiness into your space."
"Remember, every winter solstice holiday is about preserving the light through the winter season as we and the earth sleep to emerge anew for spring. Always tend to your inner fire."
Beat the winter blues
According to the Mayo Clinic, SAD is a type of depression that relates to the changing seasons. In fact, most people with SAD start experiencing symptoms around this time each fall — typically coinciding with Daylight Saving Time ending and continuing through the winter months. While about six percent of people experience winter depression, another 20 percent may experience mild SAD.
These are the most common signs and symptoms of SAD:
- Feeling sad and depressed most of the time in a seasonal pattern
- Low energy
- Constant tiredness
- Loss of interest in activities
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Sleeping too much
- Sleeping too little
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling irritated, agitated or sluggish
- Having frequent thoughts about death or suicide
If you're experiencing these signs and symptoms, you don't have to go through them alone. There are resources aplenty that offer confidential, free help:
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 1-800-622-HELP (4357)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or chat online
- Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME" to 741741
Practice, practice, practice
Let's get real, removing Instagram from your phone or taking up a new craft is often easier said than done. That being said, make sure to give yourself plenty of grace as you practice and apply these tips for fighting FOMO in your everyday life.