Man relaxing on a couch, watching tv and looking at photos of other people on his phone.

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

When I first heard this term a while back I thought it was silly. That is until the day I actually felt the “fear of missing out” (FOMO). A group of friends of mine had all signed up to do the color run, which is a 5k walk/run where you are sprayed with colors. I had always thought this would be such a fun experience but unfortunately due to my asthma I knew there was no way I could join them. It was a hard pill to swallow as I knew I would have been able to do the 5k part but I would pay dearly due to the colorful powder and totally regret it. It was hard seeing the photos my friends posted with their finishing medals, but I knew it was for the best.

Having severe asthma myself, I tend to have FOMO more often than I would like. My mind wants to be able to do all of the things my friends and family do, but my body says nope. I had to take some time and really think about how I could overcome these feelings over missing out on things I wish I could do. Here are a few ways to combat FOMO that have really helped me over the past few years.

Stop comparing yourself to others

I will wholeheartedly admit that I sometimes really struggle with this. I see friends who have such wonderful stamina and are able to literally run through and climb mountains. It bums me out, because I may not ever be able to have my own Sound of Music moment due to my severe asthma.

We live in the social media age where people share everything about their lives online. Even though we are happy for our friends and family, it’s hard not to feel jealous when we see others doing the things that we wish we could. I find myself putting my phone down and reducing the amount of time I spend online in order to combat those feelings.

Turn your FOMO into JOMO

JOMO (joy of missing out) is another term I recently learned and I have to say I absolutely love it. When my friends invite me to go out to dinner or to a party and my asthma is acting up or I am recovering from an asthma flare, I have to politely decline every though I may not want to. But then I change my thinking to instead of having to get dressed up and be ‘on point’ all night, I can stay in my pajamas, relax, and catch up on movies and TV shows without any stress.

Find joy in the things you CAN do

We aren’t defined by the things we can’t do, even though sometimes it may feel that way. Even though I may never be an elite athlete, I am a musician - and a good one at that. Playing various musical instruments brings me so much joy! Instead of feeling sorry for myself that I can’t do all of the things that my friends do, I focus on things that I can do, even as an asthmatic. I also love to volunteer to help with events in my community that I know my asthma won’t be bothered by.

These are just a few things that have helped me overcome the feelings of FOMO. I would love to hear what things have helped you as well!

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