FOMO as lockdown ends | Advice for Young People | Jigsaw Online

FOMO as lockdown ends

For many of us, the only upside of Covid-19 was the downfall in FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. Instead of party snaps and palm trees, our insta feeds were filled with baking videos and solo walks.

With the phased return to normality, the return of FOMO is inevitable.

The lowering of restrictions and our return to social activities still brings a lot of uncertainty. How we return to our social lives is going to be different for everyone. Through social media, we are aware of what our friends and family are doing. It is understandable that we will compare, and possibly question our choices.

The fear of missing out

It might be the case that our family doesn’t want us to hang out with friends just yet. Meeting in groups may feel uncomfortable. Especially if some friends break the rules by hugging or standing too close. Getting a coffee or using public transport still requires some caution. There are lots of valid reasons why our return to being social again will be different to what we saw on social media during the pandemic.

Summer can be a time of loneliness for many young people without the usual routine. Now the addition of the effects of lockdown, we can feel completely out of the loop for social activities and catch ups. The summer can look like a long and lonely period of time.

Dealing with FOMO

We are all in this together but we can only make choices for ourselves. Do what makes you, and those you live with, feel safe and protected. If you’re feeling pressure to be more social, recognise where this is coming from. It could be comments from mates, or a snap you’ve seen on your feed. Social pressure often happens online or in a group setting, so it could be worth speaking to friends individually. Our friends should respect our decisions, as we should theirs. Explain your stance on social distancing. Together you can find ways to be social that are comfortable for everyone.

There are some safer ways to be social. Choose to meet in pairs rather than bigger groups. This also makes listening to each other, whilst two metres apart, a lot easier! Suggest a local bike ride together so the distance is easier to maintain. Maybe go for a “walk and talk” by calling friends for some company during your solo walk. Read more ideas on how to connect during Covid-19.

Without the usual routines and connections, summer can be a time of loneliness for many young people.

Comparison to others

Even if we’re finding ways to be social, it’s still possible to feel lonely and isolated. With our phones filled with reminders of everyone else’s social life, it can feel like we’re the only ones feeling this way. All too often, we forget that social media only shows a snapshot of the full picture.

If you find FOMO feelings are starting to creep in (frustration, anger, sadness, anxiety), ask yourself if these are connected to social media? How we feel after putting down our phones is a good indicator. Not all social media is created equal, so really explore what apps are making you feel this way.

Interrogate further by identifying any particular account, or feed that really triggers FOMO. Give yourself permission to either delete or mute what’s not helpful anymore. Curate your social media to make you feel good about your social situation.

Reaching out

You may feel that others aren’t including you in their catch-ups or reunions. This can be hurtful but is often related to a breakdown in communication. It can feel awkward to reach out and reconnect with others after such a long time of isolation. However, don’t rely on others to make the first move. If it feels difficult to reach out, it might be helpful to acknowledge this with other people. You won’t be the only one who is finding it strange. Perhaps start with a text showing an interest in catching up, either via technology or face to face. Be aware, others may feel a bit anxious about socialising again, and their boundaries should be respected. So, compromise may be required.

If you’re feeling the effects of FOMO you certainly aren’t alone. Connect with others through our Live Group Chats facilitated by a Jigsaw clinician.

Debbie’s story, 18 Dublin

picture of our youth volunteer Debbie

If someone told us a year ago that in 2020, life as we know it would be put on hold for over three months, we would have laughed. No one saw this coming. March was just another month, filled with plans. Me specifically, I was supposed to be celebrating my 18th birthday.

At the time, I was devastated. But I realised, a lot of people were experiencing the exact same thing. I had to look at the bigger picture. It’s important to understand that you’re not alone here. Everyone is in the same boat. Talking to my friends has been comforting for me, because they can all relate. I’ve come to realise that I’m not necessarily missing out on anything, because everything has been canceled or postponed.