Many of us are quick to feel left out. With social media making it incredibly easy to post only the most carefully curated version of our lives, it’s no surprise that seeing everyone’s highlight reel makes us feel like we’re constantly missing out on something bigger, better, and more fun.
This particular feeling is so common nowadays, it has warranted its own title: FOMO. Short for “fear of missing out,” it has become widely used in our daily lexicon. As a functional medicine practitioner, I have seen firsthand how much stress and anxiety FOMO can cause, and how that heightened stress response can trigger health problems and exacerbate symptoms.
I’ve also seen that, during the pandemic, people have embraced the chance to slow down, without the fear of missing out—because, well, there’s not much to miss out on. And they are thriving!
I have long referred to my love of self-care and taking time to rest as JOMO: short for the “joy of missing out.” And now that the world is beginning to reopen, a lot of my patients have actually expressed anxiety about going back to a life of busyness and stress. That’s why I believe it’s more important than ever to embrace the antithesis of FOMO. Here’s exactly why it’s time we give JOMO the credit it deserves:
1. JOMO will lower your stress response.
During times of stress, your body’s stress hormone, cortisol, is on high alert. Even though this is a normal response, chronically high cortisol levels are not and may lead to a whole slew of health problems.
Instead of saying yes to every little thing, only commit to the things that are the most important to you and that are in line with your overall values and goals. Your time is sacred. Allow yourself space to breathe without always feeling on edge.
2. JOMO will increase your mindfulness around food.
Chances are, the busier you are, the more likely you are to grab whatever is easiest and quickest to eat. Between work, social events, volunteering, and family activities, there is little time to meal prep. But the more you edit down your schedule, the more time you have to pay attention to the food that you are putting into your body.
A JOMO lifestyle can give you more opportunity to grocery shop, cook, and sit down to a real meal instead of eating on the go. Whether you are eating a relaxing meal by yourself or with loved ones, you’ll have time to slowly chew your food, enjoy the flavors, and give your gut a chance to fully digest whatever you are eating.
3. JOMO will allow for personal growth.
How many times have you said to yourself “I’d love to learn how to…” or “I’ve always wanted to try…” only to look back months (if not years) later, never actually learning or trying that thing you’re passionate about? Embracing JOMO will free up your time for personal growth because you are no longer bound to a schedule of what you think you should be doing. Instead, you’ll be able to do what you actually want to be doing. And the more you find fulfillment in your own journey, the less you’ll feel left out of what others are doing.
4. JOMO will cut out toxic people.
We all have people in our lives who don’t serve us. You know, the people who always have something negative to say about your life and only seem to bring you down with their words and actions. That can be in the form of close relationships you’ve had for years or trolls on social media.
When you finally start embracing JOMO, anyone who wasn’t a true friend will weed themselves out of your life very quickly. Basically, if you aren’t around to serve them, they will quickly forget about you and move on. And the less time you are giving to social media (because remember, you are enjoying your personal growth journey!), the less time you’ll spend being berated by online trolls.
5. JOMO will help you let go of the past.
So much has changed since the pandemic started. People have switched jobs, moved cities or states, had children, started and ended relationships, and so much more. And a lot of these things happened because we had a chance to pause and reevaluate our lives.
In that same way, JOMO gives us a constant chance to reflect on what is going on in the present moment. With a more mindful outlook on life, you can take the time necessary to unpack anything from your past—good or bad—and use it to make the best decisions for your future.
Regardless of what happens as the world reopens, one thing is for sure: This last year and a half has shown me that life is precious, fleeting, and we never know what is going to happen. So instead of living in constant FOMO, I am going to live my life in JOMO-land, for me and my family. I hope you can do the same.