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Dealing with FOMO in a digital world and ways to overcome it - by Fadeke Banjo.


I do not know if it is just me who has found themselves spending more time on social media this year/during this pandemic than before. With being at home more and after graduating from university and no longer being a student, I had found myself spending more time on social media than before the pandemic and other commitments I had. With this time, I have also had to deal with the reality of adulthood, e.g., job hunting and the societal pressure to have my life sorted out. In addition, I have felt like my life is on a 'slow-motion option,' and my age mates (in their 20's, I turned 22 this year August, where my Leo gang at? lol!) seem to be miles ahead of me (dramatic much?? I know). Social media has not helped with this feeling of FOMO (FEAR OF MISSING OUT!) and comparison.


What is FOMO, you may ask?

FOMO, also known as the fear of missing out, refers to the fear (or feeling of anxiety) of not being included in something, such as an exciting or enjoyable activity that others are experiencing.' - Merrian-Webster.

FOMO can also include the feeling or perception that others are having more fun, living a more exciting life, or experiencing better things than you are. It can involve a deep sense of envy and can affect your self-esteem.


An example of FOMO could include the following:

1) Seeing a social media post with your friend at a birthday party you weren't invited to, or you were unaware was happening.

2) Missing out on a great opportunity.

3) Seeing your friends at a Wizkid concert you now wished you attended! (Okay, maybe the 3rd example was a bit personal, lol!).

FOMO can come in different forms and affects people in different ways.


The connection between FOMO and social media

This feeling of missing out can stem from time spent on social media platforms. Although social media is used to connect us to our friends, family, people we look up to, and people around the world, it can also negatively impact our wellbeing and mental health. Studies have found that experiencing FOMO on social media can have negative consequences to our mental health & overall self-esteem.

FOMO on social media can also cause a lack of sleep (being on social media past your bedtime because you don't want to miss out), increased feelings of loneliness, not being satisfied with your life, increased anxiety, and worsening symptoms of depression and stress.

How to overcome social media FOMO (Here are some 5 Tips)

Now enough of all the negative talk, let's focus on the practical ways to overcome FOMO online.

1) Social Detox - Take time away from social media, whether it's three days off social media, an hour, or a week, and enjoy being present, e.g., being in nature, spending time with family/friends, reading a book, etc.

2) Take time to do things on your terms, don't let what's going on social media dictate how you live your life.

3) Set social media limits/phone limits - You can set these limits on your phone device. Also, some social media platforms, including Instagram, now has a feature to limit your time on the platform.

4) Unfollow pages/people on social media that negatively impact your mental health and wellbeing and instead follow people/pages that inspire you.

5) Get yourself a notebook and write down the things you are grateful for in your life. So often, when we focus on other people's lives on social media, we forget about the beauty of our own lives.


Final thoughts

In a society that seems to spend most of its time online via social media, people share their lives and achievements more than ever. As a result, you may fall into the trap of comparing your life to others or thinking that you need to get your life together because you see your age mates doing all these cool things, and you feel stuck in life.

Well, I want to remind you today, you are exactly where you need to be right now in your life. You are not behind, be patient and know everything is falling into place. Plus, we are still living during the pandemic & lockdowns. So, the world is a bit uneasy right now, so with having this in mind, don't beat yourself up. As long as you have oxygen in your lungs & keep hope alive, your chapter isn't over.

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