10 Tips To Minimize Holiday Season FOMO
The period between the holiday season and the new year can be a time of joy, renewal and meaning making but it can also be a time of stress, anxiety and despair. This duality is because there is a whole lot of pressure and expectations built into “the season to be jolly”. It is easy to experience holiday season FOMO and imagine everyone else is out there celebrating with friends and family, delighting in their picture perfect moments while you are just getting through your days.
Living with and through social media only makes holiday season FOMO more contagious. As you scroll through perfectly curated photos and posts, it may feel like your life is lacking in comparison to the joy and delight everyone else is experiencing. You may mistakenly come to believe that you are the only one struggling with anxiety, loneliness, and despair while everyone else is caught up in their celebrations and merry making. All of this time spent engaging in unhealthy social comparison based thinking can get you stuck in the maladaptive cycle of experiencing sadness and feeling anxious. This will lead to even more emotional distress.
The good news is there are action steps you can take to avoid experiencing holiday season FOMO and to instead live YOUR best life.
- Be proactive in your holiday stress management planning. Think back to prior holidays and note which moments were the hardest for you. Pick your top two or three predicted stressors and have action steps to help mitigate these stressors. For example, if you worry that family members will ask about your life in ways that make you feel unsuccessful – “Are you seeing anyone?” or “How’s your job going?” – plan and practice an elevator pitch that you can deliver.
- Figure out what valued living means to you, and engage in the behaviors in line with what YOU want your life to be about. Don’t get caught up in all the endless to-do’s and stressors. Instead, go into the holiday season with an idea of what you want to get out of it. For example, for this holiday season you can set an intention to put time and energy into the social connections that are most important to you, or use the time to recuperate from the long, tiring year you just had.
- Allow values vs “should” to guide your behaviors. Show up for events and tasks that are important to you, not because they are exceptions others or you have put upon yourself.
- Go on a social media diet. Determine the aspects of your social media usage that cause you to engage in unhealthy social comparisons and set reduction goals to minimize (or ideally eliminate) the amount of time you spend scrolling.
- Use the increased down time that the holiday season often allows for to enhance your mindfulness capabilities. Learning the art of being here now vs. then and there will be beneficial not only this holiday season but also for the rest of the year.
- Slow down. Life is short and by scurrying around to complete checklist tasks, you are simply a mouse in a wheel. Instead be mindful of each moment and find one thing you can appreciate about the moment you are in.
- Strengthen your gratitude mental muscle through exercises such as writing down 1 thing you appreciate about your current life, no matter how big or small. Every time you work your gratitude muscle, you will learn to appreciate your own life vs. comparing to others. Think about it like lifting weights at the gym, every single rep you do increases your strength over time.
- Practice working your distress mental muscle by opening up to vs. fighting to “not have” uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. Through this hard, important work, you will teach your brain how to efficiently and effectively move through and past emotional distress, rather than getting caught up in it.
- Remind yourself that the essence of the holiday season is connections and love. You can honor this spirit by volunteering at a nursing home or joining a community group or doing any activity that takes you out of “I” perspective and allows you to feel part of something bigger than yourself.
- Be sure to maintain your own health, by getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising when you can, keeping alcohol within reason and finding time to listen to music, read or just relax on your own.
First published in December 2021
ADAA Blog Content and Blog Comments Policy
ADAA provides this Website blogs for the benefit of its members and the public. The content, view and opinions published in Blogs written by our personnel or contributors – or from links or posts on the Website from other sources – belong solely to their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ADAA, its members, management or employees. Any comments or opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors only. Please remember that the open and real-time nature of the comments posted to these venues makes it is impossible for ADAA to confirm the validity of any content posted, and though we reserve the right to review and edit or delete any such comment, we do not guarantee that we will monitor or review it. As such, we are not responsible for any messages posted or the consequences of following any advice offered within such posts. If you find any posts in these posts/comments to be offensive, inaccurate or objectionable, please contact us via email at [email protected] and reference the relevant content. If we determine that removal of a post or posts is necessary, we will make reasonable efforts to do so in a timely manner.
ADAA expressly disclaims responsibility for and liabilities resulting from, any information or communications from and between users of ADAA’s blog post commenting features. Users acknowledge and agree that they may be individually liable for anything they communicate using ADAA’s blogs, including but not limited to defamatory, discriminatory, false or unauthorized information. Users are cautioned that they are responsible for complying with the requirements of applicable copyright and trademark laws and regulations. By submitting a response, comment or content, you agree that such submission is non-confidential for all purposes. Any submission to this Website will be deemed and remain the property of ADAA.
The ADAA blogs are forums for individuals to share their opinions, experiences and thoughts related to mental illness. ADAA wants to ensure the integrity of this service and therefore, use of this service is limited to participants who agree to adhere to the following guidelines:
1. Refrain from transmitting any message, information, data, or text that is unlawful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, that may be invasive of another ‘s privacy, hateful, or bashing communications – especially those aimed at gender, race, color, sexual orientation, national origin, religious views or disability.
Please note that there is a review process whereby all comments posted to blog posts and webinars are reviewed by ADAA staff to determine appropriateness before comments are posted. ADAA reserves the right to remove or edit a post containing offensive material as defined by ADAA.
ADAA reserves the right to remove or edit posts that contain explicit, obscene, offensive, or vulgar language. Similarly, posts that contain any graphic files will be removed immediately upon notice.
2. Refrain from posting or transmitting any unsolicited, promotional materials, “junk mail,” “spam,” “chain mail,” “pyramid schemes” or any other form of solicitation. ADAA reserves the right to delete these posts immediately upon notice.
3. ADAA invites and encourages a healthy exchange of opinions. If you disagree with a participant ‘s post or opinion and wish to challenge it, do so with respect. The real objective of the ADAA blog post commenting function is to promote discussion and understanding, not to convince others that your opinion is “right.” Name calling, insults, and personal attacks are not appropriate and will not be tolerated. ADAA will remove these posts immediately upon notice.
4. ADAA promotes privacy and encourages participants to keep personal information such as address and telephone number from being posted. Similarly, do not ask for personal information from other participants. Any comments that ask for telephone, address, e-mail, surveys and research studies will not be approved for posting.
5. Participants should be aware that the opinions, beliefs and statements on blog posts do not necessarily represent the opinions and beliefs of ADAA. Participants also agree that ADAA is not to be held liable for any loss or injury caused, in whole or in part, by sponsorship of blog post commenting. Participants also agree that ADAA reserves the right to report any suspicions of harm to self or others as evidenced by participant posts.