On a night out, I’m one of those people who never knows when to go home.
In fact, my FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) urges are so strong that I once spent 24 hours in Madrid – I just had to visit a friend one weekend and I couldn’t get the time off work. Similarly, after our work Christmas lunch last year, I found myself on a train from London to Brighton for a night on the tiles with a colleague (we’d been drinking since 2pm and I definitely should have gone home).
It seems I’m not the only one. We’re a generation of FOMOers, always connected, always on-the-go, always thinking the grass is greener. But the ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ mentality is taking its toll.
We’re suffering from social fatigue and traveling in the fast lane to burnout.
So, in an attempt to have a more wholesome 2015 (and to give my bank balance a rest), I decided to embrace JOMO.
JOMO, a term first coined in 2014, stands for Joy Of Missing Out and it’s about having the power to say “no”.
The aim is to encourage people to feel comfortable about turning down social invitations and spending quality time alone. It’s being mindful of your body and limitations, making enough time for sleep and relaxation, and being happy and at peace with your own company.
This is something Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, knows too well.
In 2007, she collapsed from exhaustion and broke her cheekbone. She describes that moment as her “wake-up call”, a signal to re-evaluate how she prioritised work, family, and friends.
“I was simply trying to do it all, saying yes to everything, and paying a very high price,” she explains. “I had to make a lot of changes, which were very difficult at first. But as you take back time for yourself, you gradually focus less on what you’re missing out on and more on what you’re gaining.
“Saying ‘no’ to something or declining to take on too many social obligations isn’t about absence, it’s about saying yes to something else – time for yourself.”
She explains that often our default setting is to always say “yes”. “People are on sort of an opt-in setting with their social lives,” she adds. “So they think that they can only say no if they have another competing social obligation.”
So what’s a gal like me, with all of the above symptoms, to do?
To start with, Arianna explains, that you have to get used to saying no, even when the events you’re turning down sound fun or interesting.
Secondly, we need to rid ourselves of the pressure to spend that down time in a “productive” or “useful” way.
“Time spent walking, sleeping or meditating is, of course, extremely useful,” she says. “But it takes time getting used to not feeling guilty about it.”
LIKE HUFFPOST UK LIFESTYLE ON FACEBOOK | FOLLOW US ON TWITTER | WE’RE ALSO ON INSTAGRAM
So, over the past few weeks I’ve put JOMO to the test.
Instead of mid-week dinners, trips to the pub, late nights and cramming too much into my weekends, I’ve had a drastic social detox and pencilled time in with the most important person: myself.
Suddenly I’ve got so much time on my hands. In the last few weeks I’ve been going to the gym more, sleeping better and preparing healthier dinners and lunches for the next day.
Of course, it’s worked a treat. I’m less stressed, have more energy and feel more creative.
I’m also making time to do all the things I put off in 2014. As part of our Today We Tried series, I’ve made time to read more and watch classic films, I’ve even made a cake.
Sometimes though, as Arianna said, I just do nothing. Mooching around the house, going for a walk or having an early night feels just as beneficial as being proactive.
While I’m sure that FOMO will undoubtedly rear its ugly head in the future, I’m enjoying this new, relaxed version of myself.
HuffPost UK Lifestyle is running a monthly campaign called Say No To January, where we champion positive personal change, and rail against the idea of ‘New Year, New You’. This is about celebrating yourself, inspiring you to try new things and figuring out what direction you’d like your life to go in.