You’re at home, tapping through Instagram, when boom – it hits you. A feeling that you’re missing out on something better, cooler and infinitely more fun than your current situation. FOMO, the “fear of missing out”, is easily triggered by the social media accounts of not just friends, but celebs and influencers whose literal job is to make you believe that whatever they’re doing is more exciting than your current situation.
We’re beginning to reflect on issues like FOMO as one of the negative effects of our hyper-connected world. Research psychologist Andrew Przybylski found that FOMO is a driving force behind social media use and that FOMO levels are highest in young people, and young men in particular. And hey, when former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya says he won’t let his own kids use social media because the “short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works”, you know that there’s probably a downside to all this posting and scrolling we’re doing, fun as social media can be.
We all want to experience life to the fullest, but constantly caving to FOMO can be really exhausting. One solution to the anxiety and dissatisfaction induced by staring at other people’s curated lives for too long is to embrace JOMO: the “joy of missing out”.
Here are five ways you can cultivate some serious JOMO by slowing down and spending time in nature.
Swap the hottest music festivals for the hottest camping spots
Feeling jealous watching half the people your age Instagram their antics at Splendour in the Grass? Well, you don’t need to wait for a music festival to whip out the camping equipment and get outdoors with your mates. Save the money you’d otherwise spend on tickets, avoid crowds and hang out with the people you actually want to spend time with. Try Wollemi National Park for hiking and camping at either Coorongooba, Newnes or Dunns Swamp.
Hit the stars not the club
For an awesome Saturday night experience that doesn’t leave you feeling like a used tea towel come Sunday morning, try stargazing in Warrumbungle National Park. Yeah, throwing shapes to the latest techno tracks is fun, but there’s a deeper sense of calm and wonder that comes from slowing down and enjoying the night sky with your friends or crush or whoever.
Pizza on the beach
It’s easy to get trapped in a cycle of constantly feeling the need to visit the latest cafes, bars and restaurants. This is peak FOMO working its anxiety inducing black magic on you. From novelty bars to blue majik smoothie bowls, there’ll always be an endless supply of new places you “just have to check out”.
Take the pressure off keeping up with the latest and greatest restaurants and try making your own wood-fired pizza at Depot beach campground in Murramarang National Park. Be sure to check out the pretty beaches along the way.
Draw it, don’t ’gram it
Instead of taking 300 photos of the scenery on your iPhone, draw it. Seriously. Channel your best inner year 10 geography excursion self, settle down on a picnic rug, and sketch the wildlife at Bents Basin. Drawing as a form of distraction or expression helps improve your mood – perfect for embracing JOMO and overcoming FOMO. There are also some pretty cool adult colouring books on the market if realistic banksia-tree replicas aren’t your specialty.
Alternatively, bring a film or disposable camera. The constraints of having less pictures to work with forces you to be more creative and you can’t get sucked in to deciding what to post in the moment. Delayed gratification can be good for the soul.
Get inspired by podcasts
Drop into that nature mood on your way to Dharug National Park by listening to an environmental themed podcast. There are heaps of options like BBC’s Costing the Earth and NPR’s Living on Earth or HumaNature covering topics from sustainability to awe-inspiring human interactions with nature.
Whereas studies show that Instagram is one of the worst forms of social media for your mental health, podcasts can leave you with a deeper sense of learning something worthwhile and don’t involve staring at the screen. They also give you something interesting to talk about. Once you get to the park, unplug, and go reflect on your newfound learnings and life in general on a walk.