Fighting FOMO*: The Need for “You Time”

*Fear of missing out

Here in the Bay Area, people of all ages are busier than ever. Between work, commuting in traffic to get to work, and all of the activities outside of work, it’s easy to feel like you’re always on the go. Even in our “free” time, there’s always a possible activity to keep us occupied, from restaurants to try, bars to hit, festivals, museums, parks, parties - you name it. All of these activities can be exhilarating, and they’re some of the many reasons people love to live in the Bay Area. However, when we spend our time packed with fun and energetic activities, we subject ourselves to a lot of stimuli.

Ask yourself this: Do you ever feel exhausted by your “leisure time”? Do you feel like you need an extra weekend to recover from your weekend? Well, you’re not the only one!

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The limited amount of free time we have plus the seemingly endless options of activities can add up to an overpacked life. With an already busy work schedule, our free time is precious. With many of my clients, I see the pressure they face to spend that time wisely. Should you use your Sunday morning to squeeze in a workout? Catch up on all of your errands? Clean your apartment? Meet up with that friend you’ve been trying to see for ages? Head across the city to whichever festival is raging?

I’m not advising you to skip out on your responsibilities, friendships, or fun opportunities. Instead, I’m asking you to reflect on that free time as it arises, and think about what will genuinely make YOU happy. What brings you joy? What will leave you feeling replenished for all of your other engagements, work or socially related?

For many, the answer is a bit of alone time. Yes, I’m speaking to those introverts out there. But this message can be valuable for extroverts who feel over-extended as well. It can feel selfish to spend your hours by yourself when you already have difficulty scheduling time with friends, and it can feel wasteful to spend time watching TV or playing video games when there are so many errands and fun activities just outside your door. But I’d like to challenge you to change your thinking here. Spending time alone and doing something relaxing is productive. When you do something relaxing that brings you joy, you allow your brain and body to recharge. Reading a book or taking an afternoon nap may not be worthy of an instagram post, but it can leave you feeling refreshed to enjoy your next hours or days even more.

Learn to fight FOMO with conversations. Start to see the value in spending time with yourself. With everything going on in the Bay Area, there will always be other parties, festivals, brunches, etc. It’s impossible to attend everything, but it’s also beneficial to not. With rest and recuperation, you’ll enjoy these activities more when you do join. Consider being honest with people who invite you. It can be challenging, but you’ll be surprised at how many people will understand if you let them know you need a little down time. If you feel guilty about missing a social engagement, use that same conversation to schedule another hang-out with that friend or group.

Enjoy an activity that isn’t about being productive. So often our activities are working towards a goal - going out to meet new friends, taking a run to burn off a dinner out, reading a book to start investing, watching the news to stay informed. All of these activities are great, especially if you genuinely enjoy them. However, is there something you love to do, but you feel slightly guilty spending the time doing it? Don’t neglect it! Read the trashy mystery novel; stay in and watch hours of college football; move your body in a way that YOU like, without worrying about the calories it’s burning, like dusting off the old skateboard. And guess what? Sometimes it’s ok to do NOTHING at all! Scroll through your phone, take a nap, you name it. Your brain and body are like batteries; doing nothing gives them a break so you can be be the best employee, friend, athlete, and more during the rest of your time.

Do you feel guilty during downtime? Do you feel the FOMO? Would you like to discuss other ways to help you relax and recuperate? Contact me for a free phone consultation today!