The new normal has changed many things for us. Instagram Stories that were once full of restaurants, weddings, bars and birthdays are now filled with live-streaming workout challenges, swapping recipes, or teaching yourself a new language. From celebrities to your next-door neighbour, it seems like everyone is brimming with productivity and yet seeing these posts makes you feel left out and unproductive.


An acronym for “fear of missing out”, FOMO is defined by academics in the scientific journal, Computers in Human Behavior as “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent.” For many people, this manifests as discomfort, anxiety and sadness triggered by looking at others’ lives through their specially curated and glorified social media posts.

Seeing everyone take part in all kinds of activities like the Dalgona coffee or the Don’t Rush challenge, they may make you feel the pressure to be your best productive self. You’re worried you’re falling behind and not being part of what everyone is doing. How is it possible to feel such FOMO when physical distancing is enforced? And how do you overcome it? Hopefully the following tips help you with these questions.



According to studies cited by the Journal of Business & Economics Research social media amplifies FOMO whether you like it or not. For many, if you scroll through your timeline long enough, you’ll find that social media has a way of making you feel envious of others’ lives or unsatisfied with your own. It is also important to remember that a lot of what people do on social media is exaggerated to make their lives seem a lot better, and frankly more fun, than they really are. Therefore, it is important to realise that these lives you’re viewing online are not completely authentic but rather, are curated. It’s very simple to post the highs and omit the lows so keep that in mind as you see their perfectly curated feeds. Try limiting your time on social media websites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter by setting yourself a time limit when you scroll through your social media feeds.



If limiting time on social media daily doesn’t seem like enough, try a digital detox from social media. Some people choose to take a few days or weeks off from social media to reorganise their thoughts and spend more time with their friends and family as well as focusing on the present. Given the current global situation, there is no time like now to focus on your real-life connections. Adhering to safe distancing, having a simple video call with a few good buddies or loved ones will be a much better time spent than the hours upon hours spent scrolling through your feed.



JOMO, or “Joy of Missing Out” is the antithesis of FOMO. While people with FOMO may second-guess their choices and wonder if they could be doing more elsewhere or having more fun, people with JOMO embrace the choices they have made and find joy in the present situation. So rather than worrying about what you may or may not be missing out on, try making the choice that is best for you and owning that decision. Find happiness in what you’re doing and remind yourself why you made the choice in the first place, and also remember, there is always next time.



Review your timeline and try to declutter yourself from certain acquaintances, apps, or websites that makes you feel anxious or brings out the FOMO in you. This could also work for the space surrounding you. Overindulgence in materials might be causing you to feel that you are missing out on other material possessions. Clear out the things in your closet that you don’t wear anymore and take some time to clean up your room and home. You might realise that some things are just not necessary in life and get a fresh perspective on life.


Once you take a break from social media and outside influences that can pressure you, all this time spent with yourself will also allow you to check in on what matters to you the most and what you like doing. Take it as an opportunity to evaluate what you want, when you want it, and maybe realise hobbies that are meaningful to you. You might even discover a new hobby or two or learn a new skill by slowly taking your time to explore new opportunities be it journaling, sketching, gardening or even baking.

In conclusion, it is all about cultivating an attitude of gratitude that can help with combating any feelings of envy and anxiety. The next time you’re experiencing a jolt of FOMO try redirecting your focus to the positive aspects of your own life. List down the good things that have happened to you recently, no matter how big or small.

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The above articles are intended for informational purposes only. AIA accepts no responsibility for loss, which may arise from reliance on information contained in the articles.