JOMO Is the New FOMO – and It’s Perfect for Preventing Burnout

Finally an abbreviation we can all get behind.

Andreas Hoernisch/Getty Images
Andreas Hoernisch/Getty Images

By Meredith Lepore

Finally an abbreviation we can all get behind. First, there was FOMO, which addressed that universal feeling we have all developed thanks to the rise of social media. See in the dark ages (you know, before Instagram) we weren’t as jealous of other people because we had to use our imaginations to think about all the cool things they were doing, but now thanks to all these social media platforms we actually have cold, hard evidence that people are having way better lives than us (or so it seems) thus giving us all FOMO.

Except somewhere along the way of being jealous and bummed that we were constantly missing things, we started to get tired of constantly being tuned in and knowing about every single thing everyone was doing ever. The average teenager spends around six hours a day refreshing their social media feeds and the average adult spends about four. That comes out to about 37% of a teen’s waking hours and 25% for adults being spent on social media. We are obsessed.

And not only social media but we are also constantly checking our email and Slack and other work-related systems in some ways because we are expected to but also simply because we can. According to a new study from LinkedIn, almost 70% of employees don’t disconnect from work email or communications even while on vacation.

Embrace the Joy of Missing Out

That is why so many people are starting to embrace JOMO aka the Joy Of Missing Out. We are now so thrilled (well some of us) if we are on a plane and have no WiFi because we literally can’t be in the communication, social media, Slack GIF channel, etc., We have to take a break.

Hayley Phelan recently explored this newly discovered freedom in a piece for The New York Times. After losing WiFi midway through a flight, instead of a sense of complete panic setting in, something else happened. “First: I did not fall out of the sky. Second: After recovering from the initial fury-implosion, I worked more intently and productively than I had in ages.”

We are so tuned in and tuned up so now a clean break, even if for a few hours, is absolutely necessary and quite enjoyable. Tehrene Firman wrote on Well & Good, “Adults need boundaries too, and after busy days hustling at work (and sometimes a side gig), staying in and socially disconnecting from the outside world by washing off your makeup, firing up Netflix, and gobbling down a bowl of (healthy!) popcorn is pretty much the crème de la crème.”

This is why you are seeing digital detox holidays and no social media wellness treats rise in popularity. Heck, Google and Instagram are installing tools to encourage you to be on them less. As comedian John Mulaney once perfectly put it, “In terms of instant relief, canceling plans is like heroin … such instant joy.”

This is not to say that you should be totally tuned out and sitting under a blanket in the dark watching Netflix in full on hygge-mode all the time — Glamour’s Elizabeth Kiefer recently wrote of a cancellation epidemic amongst young women — but once a week, or once a month, or even for an hour or two, JOMO could do your mind wonders.

So embrace the joy of missing out occasionally.

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