How to Embrace JOMO: the Joy of Missing Out
Homebodies rejoice! JOMO is the new FOMO.
Words— Kaitlyn McInnis
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re likely well aware of FOMO -- the fear of missing out. It comes in the form of a particular feeling of anxiety around missing a social event or occasion that looks exponentially more fun than what you’re doing instead. It can suck -- especially when the event is posted all over social media or becomes the next in-joke among friends.
But what about JOMO -- the joy of missing out? Whether you’re an introvert, a homebody or an advocate for self-care, you’ve likely experienced JOMO already. It’s all about embracing spending time alone, of the pleasure of using our free time doing exactly what we want to do rather than dodging social invitations and feeling guilty about it.
When my colleagues suggested I write about my personal feelings toward the term, I was initially the slightest bit offended. Who, me? I never cancel plans to bask in my own company. In fact, I pride myself on being a solid friend! Why would they think something like this of me?
They responded with a single meme -- one that I apparently share and recirculate all too often. The epitome of the joy of missing out, and one of my all-time favorite occurrences: when your friends cancel on you, so you don’t have to cancel on them.
Whether you have introverted tendencies or not, practicing the joy of missing out can have a great impact on your mental health and overall wellbeing. Carving out intentional free time allows you to rest and reflect, to open yourself up to whatever it is you want to do.
It helps you place a bigger emphasis on self-care
If you’re booked solid with social engagements all week, it can be hard to maintain a laundry routine, let alone a self-care routine. This can have long term effects on your wellbeing -- whether you’re an introvert or not. Carving out time to take care of yourself is a powerful antidote to the craziness of daily life. Be it some as simple as cooking a meal at home, doing a guided meditation or even indulging in a few hours at the spa, self-care is much more than a trendy buzzword, it’s your key to a more mindful, balanced life.
It opens up your spontaneous side
What would you do if you said no to drinks with an acquaintance in favour of a completely free evening? Would you binge the entire Harry Potter series on Netflix? Would you finally read the stack of magazines piling up on your nightstand? Purposefully blocking off free time rather than saying yes to a social engagement you don’t even want to go to opens your free time in ways that you may not expect. When you’re not running from engagement to engagement, you have more time to mindfully choose the activities you want to do, rather than what others want you to do.
It encourages you to sign off social media - in favour of reflection
If you’re no longer worried about missing out on social engagements, you’ll be less likely to wait on a text or to scroll through Instagram Stories trying to see what you could have been out doing. Being content in the moment, rather than anxiously trying to anticipate what you’re missing, allows you to put your phone down and walk away -- at least for a little while. When you remove the distraction of social media, it’s easier to take a step back and return to your thoughts and reflect on your day or workweek. It also makes it easier to think about goal-setting and really think about what you want to achieve.
You’ll give more of yourself to the plans you actually want to follow through with
Consistently following through with social engagements you’re only lukewarm about may be wasting your social energy -- especially if you consider yourself to be an introvert. While it’s great to make new friends, to follow through with drinks with colleagues, to go to your significant other’s second cousin’s birthday dinner… it can be even better to take a step back and evaluate which one of these events you actually want to attend. Of course, sometimes you can’t get out of a particular event, but being more mindful when accepting invitations allows you to save your energy for the plans you actually want to attend -- the ones where your presence will really be valued. Socializing is a form of currency -- make sure you’re investing it wisely.