These days, it might feel like your entire world is online. When you’re not using your laptop or phone for work, you may often find yourself browsing the internet or scrolling through your social media news feeds. Whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, dating apps, your favourite news website, or all of the above, there is a good chance you spend a decent-sized chunk of your day online.
Not only can this end up being a major waste of time, but you are actually consuming and internalizing this content whether you realize it or not! Have you ever noticed that you experience an influx of negative emotions after consuming certain types of online content? Perhaps you feel like your life isn’t as exciting as your favourite social media influencers’, your extracurricular activities aren’t interesting or “on trend,” or your achievements aren’t actually that impressive. Unfortunately, the list can go on and on.
Social media promotes FOMO
While many of us are aware of the fact that social media and online content is curated and doesn’t accurately represent people’s lives, it can still be difficult to internalize that message. Instead, we end up with FOMO (fear of missing out). While FOMO certainly happens in all kinds of situations, online content can also make us feel this way. Seeing other people’s achievements, perfect families, impressive job titles, vacations, and more can make us feel like we aren’t living life to the fullest.
One of the best ways to combat these negative (and frankly unrealistic) comparisons is with JOMO. JOMO, stands for the “joy of missing out,” and is a term that was coined by tech entrepreneur Anil Dash in 2012. Not long afterward, Christina Cook expanded on this idea in her book “The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World.”
What exactly is JOMO?
JOMO is about disconnecting from the online world in order to truly experience and enjoy our lives offline. Instead of obsessing over our online personas or constantly comparing ourselves to those we see on social media, JOMO encourages people to engage with the real world more often and set healthy boundaries regarding online activity.
The 10 principles of JOMO have been outlined by Christina Cook on her website. In short, her JOMO manifesto encourages individuals to:
Living by these JOMO principles is a great way to enhance one’s wellbeing and stay aware of the important parts of life! Stop worrying about what others will think or what you are missing out on and live your life the way you want to!
While it might be a nice idea to log off forever and delete your entire online presence, that might not be the best idea, as many facets of our lives are online, including work. It wouldn’t bode well for you or your career if you are constantly missing work emails! Additionally, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have learned just how important the internet is when it comes to staying in contact with our loved ones!
So, we have to find a way to exist online without it taking over too much of our mental ground.
One of the first things you can do is filter what you choose to see online. Think about the kinds of content you are regularly viewing and assess whether it is ultimately beneficial to you or not.
There’s an App for that!
You may also wish to keep track of how much time you spend on certain apps on your phone. In some cases, your phone may be able to track this data for you. If not, there are plenty of apps out there that can track your usage!
With this information, you will be able to figure out where most of your time is going. Consider implementing time limits or simply deleting your most-used apps if you feel they are not beneficial to your wellbeing. Personally, I just use an old-fashioned timer to set limits on my social media time.
Try a Digital Detox
Another option may be setting aside your phone or laptop for part of your day. This could be for a couple hours at the end of the day, during mealtimes, or whenever you feel that you could use a break!
For information, check out this article on how to do a digital detox! By logging off and turning off, you will be able to engage in activities that are meaningful, productive, and enjoyable. In other words, you will experience the joy of missing out! Embrace the here and now without giving up on the connections that matter. And please, don’t be hard on yourself - find the joy in it!
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