My first full-time job out of college was at an elementary school where most of the staff were at least 20 years older than me.
Needless to say, I had a hard time making friends.
But, after a long week of making sure kids didn’t crack their heads open on the playground (and working my other part-time job as a hostess), I loved coming home to my couch. I could watch Army Wives in my ratty sweatpants and check my phone in between the most dramatic scenes.
There was one problem, though: everyone was doing something cooler than me.
It seemed like everyone, at least. Old friends and acquaintances from school would toast martinis, attend rock concerts, eat Insta-worthy food. By comparison, my weekends seemed pretty lame.
And suddenly, I went from enjoying my evenings to loathing myself for enjoying them. Why couldn’t I spend my time that way? During some months I would work six or seven days each week, yet I still felt like I had to do something more worthwhile with my free time to validate myself.
That feeling? It’s called FOMO: fear of missing out. It’s the self-deprecating drive to see if something more interesting is happening on social media, and the inadequacy that shortly follows.
I hate FOMO—but that didn’t stop me from checking my feeds anyway. Every picture, tweet, or status update made me want to bury myself in that couch of mine. Why couldn’t I just let it go?
Because FOMO, and social media, are addictive. And if we don’t feel FOMO every time we check our phones, we’re forced to question ourselves (i.e., you must be antisocial if you don’t wish you were with your Facebook friends).
These strategies helped me destroy FOMO, though, and keep me motivated when that nagging desire to check my phone starts creeping in: