Confessions of a Former FOMO -aholic

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fomoHello, my name is Amy, and I have had FOMO.

A little over a year ago, I started to feel as if my life were falling apart. I couldn’t keep my house in order, couldn’t focus on my business, and was losing my patience and focus at work. I wasn’t sleeping well, eating terribly, and overall feeling lost. There were also some serious self-esteem issues in the mix and a constant feeling of panic. And to top it all off, the mother of all bad feelings — mommy guilt {pardon the pun}.

Mommy guilt + anxiety put me into a fog I couldn’t see through. That ever so unpleasant feeling that I was missing out on something created a panic-freeze in me I can’t even begin to explain. Not only had I developed a habit of over-committing myself to anything and everything I was asked to do, but I also started to question every decision I was making, so much so to the point where I stopped making any at all. I started ignoring ALL the to-dos for every commitment I had, professionally and personally. Of course, those to-dos didn’t “do” themselves, so the list got longer and longer and longer. But that fear of missing out, or FOMO, kept me from doing much of anything other than perseverating on what it was I perceived I was missing out on.

I was losing my grip on my life and didn’t know how to fix it.

After some lengthy conversations with my husband, I decided to seek out a psychologist to work with and tackle the overwhelming FOMO anxiety I was facing daily. I’ve spent the last year really working on myself and reflecting on how it all came to be. Was there something that put me over the edge? One thing that I was doing that wasn’t helping my FOMO situation?

I started to really look at my habits. How did I approach each daily activity? With eagerness? Dread? Caution? I started to notice a pattern when it came to my social media and internet browsing habits. Something was lurking behind every email, each blog post I was drawn to. It was one word. An ugly, guilt-laced, anxiety-producing word. And that word was “should.”

It was everywhere.

“7 Things You Should Do Before Next Friday”

“125 Things You Should Do In The Next 5 Minutes”

“783 Kid Things We’re Obsessed (And Why You Should Be, Too)”

“1047 Crafts You Should Do With Your Kids Right Now So They Love You Forever”

Once I figured out that “should” was a trigger word for me, I felt a huge relief. It wasn’t easy at first to stop the FOMO game, but identifying a huge player in the game helped. I really had to concentrate and remind myself constantly that I wasn’t missing out on anything. That my life was full and beautiful. “No more FOMO” kind of became my mantra. Repeating it to myself made not clicking on those pretty “should” emails and blog posts a little bit easier. I could see past the perfect Instagram feeds. It made declining invitations and requests a little less guilt-ridden, too.

As time went on, the “shoulds” in my life became easier and easier to handle. I decided I wanted my life to be about more than the places I’ve visited, how “connected” I was in my community, or how many activities I did with my kids last weekend. I didn’t need to keep up with anyone else or their family. I just needed to keep up with mine. And I finally — FINALLY — decided that I was tired of being told what I need to know or what I need to do, or how I need to feel. Only I know what’s best for me. And that’s the only way it should be.

Don’t get me wrong; I still have my moments. I’m the first to admit that I can just as easily get caught up in the “should” game. Slap the word “should” on a pretty picture, and I’m bound to click on it. But I’ve worked too hard on myself to give up now. I’m not willing to go back to a life of “shoulds.”

Hello, my name is Amy, and I’m {almost} FOMO-free. 

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