The holidays are approaching, which can be a time of joy and laughter, of friends and family. However, the truth is they can also be a time of immense pressure and stress. Despite the heartwarming commercials and saccharine Hallmark cards, the truth is that this time of year can be a gut punch for a lot of people. Difficult relationships with family members, financial stress, and a difference in your regular routine can be all contribute to this pressure. And a uniquely modern part of the struggle comes in the form of ‘Social Media FOMO’ (or Fear Of Missing Out).
The nonstop barrage of happy moments that parade across our timelines this time of year can be a source of stress and insecurity, whether we want to admit it or not. It gives us the chance to wonder if we’re doing enough for the holidays, and feel all the guilt that comes with it. Are we decorating enough, going on enough outings? Having enough cozy nights and crafty afternoons with our kids? On top of the regular types of stress that come this time of year, it can be just another source of anxiety.
Social Media FOMO can pop up any time of the year but the holidays are especially ripe for complicated feelings, especially about family and finances. This is compounded by the fact that other people are posting pictures of their vacations, their family sleigh rides, and a myriad of other holiday type things. It’s the perfect recipe to feel like crap, however, it is avoidable! There are a few things you can do to try and protect yourself against Social media FOMO and the stress that can come with it.
Limit your time on social media
This one is kind of a no-brainer. Limiting the amount of time you spend on social media is almost always a good idea, but if it’s stressing you out to see everyone’s highlight reel this time of year then that becomes doubly true. Instead of using that time to beat yourself up for not making enough memories, you could use it to actually do something more fun and productive.
Remind yourself that what you’re seeing is curated
We all know this about social media, however it is so easy to get sucked in. With how emotionally charged the holidays can be, sometimes we can get into the bad habit of just looking for ways that we don’t measure up. It’s important to remember that those photos are just moments, and nothing more. Even at our worst, most of us can get it together for a single moment.
Keep in mind that the health of your family is key
If you “missed out” due to saving money, or because you were just needing a break; then keep in mind that this has value too. Instead of thinking of these things as missing out think of them as gaining something (like rest, or more money in your savings). This is a simple mindset shift that can bring great returns.
Try and look at your own days objectively
Although you may not have perfect color-coordinated pictures to flaunt, chances are you are doing more than you think you are, and your family is making plenty of memories. The fact is, memories were made far before there was social media to document them. And being in the moment counts for something too.
Look back through your old holiday photos
This ties in with looking objectively at your own life. Taking a look back through your own highlight reel is a far better use of your time then comparing yourself to someone else, and bonus- it may bring back lots of nostalgic feelings that can help you get into the holiday spirit.
Set up a fun memorable activity and purposely don’t document it online at all
It might sound crazy, but go out and just live your life! Make your memories without posting them. This is a great way to nudge yourself into remembering that life is more that what we see online- an important fact that gets muddied up by modern life.
Whatever you do, it’s important to remember that social media is a fairly new thing and doesn’t deserve the weight we give it. The holidays can be stressful as it is- it’s imperative we remember to give ourselves grace. The important thing is that you and your family have the space to enjoy a happy holiday your own way- with no comparisons, “shoulds”, or worries of whether you’re doing enough.