I think of summer as my social season: I go out more often, get together with friends regularly, and don’t want to miss out on any potential fun. But now that cozy season is here and all I want to do is stay in my sweatpants and rewatch Gilmore Girls, I’m learning to feel confident in alone time. This year, I’m making an effort to ditch the FOMO I normally feel when I say “no” to plans and am instead embracing JOMO, the joy of missing out.
JOMO means not feeling excluded or isolated when you stay in on a Friday night—even if all your friends are hanging out without you or it seems like everyone on social media has a more “exciting” life than you do. It’s the art of finding happiness in missing out. It’s about waving goodbye to that feeling of always needing something to do and somewhere to be. I used to be worried about missing out on fun events or big news, but now I find it liberating to embrace the fact that I don’t need to attend every event, reply to every message, or follow every trend. In turn, I noticed a shift in my mental health when I started saying “no” and embraced the occasional night alone on my terms. Not only was it an emotionally positive experience, but I also noticed I was saving more money, going to bed earlier, and I was finally able to relax on the weekends. Read on for why you should practice JOMO too, and exactly how to do it.
The Benefits of JOMO
1. Increased creativity
Choosing to be alone simply because you want to spend time with yourself has been shown to increase creative thoughts. In a 2017 study, one researcher explained the findings: “Anxiety-free time spent in solitude may allow for, and foster, creative thinking and work.” If you decide to stay in for the night, you may find yourself inspired to create a new project, or maybe you’ll get the inspiration to solve a problem at work you’ve been struggling with. Spending time at home alone just to rest and relax is productive.
2. Reduced stress
Based on several studies, many feel less loneliness and stress when limiting social media and constant social interactions. This isn’t to say that you need to completely disregard friendships (connection and community are essential for physical and mental health as well, FYI!), but it’s about finding the balance. Maybe social media isn’t bringing you a fulfilling connection (and just adding to FOMO) so you decide to limit it, maybe you choose to forego the party on Saturday night with the friends who gossip the whole time, or maybe you say “no” to plans during the week to recharge alone before a packed social schedule on the weekend. This intentional alone time can reduce the stress of always being involved in social interactions.
3. Better quality friendships
Embracing the joy of intentional alone time can not only benefit your emotional well-being but can actually benefit your friendships too, helping you feel more fulfilled in platonic relationships. JOMO allows you to learn the difference between spending quality time with friends and quantity time with acquaintances. Personally, when my intention was to joyously opt for alone time, I found it easier to pick and choose what I attend and who I want to spend my time with. Furthermore, friendship expert Danielle Bayard Jackson said on The Everygirl Podcast that research shows a friendship circle of three to five friends is optimal for a fulfilling friendship life. So you can feel OK forgoing the big group hangout of people that you aren’t even close to anyway.
4. Increased confidence
In addition to having higher quality friendships, regular alone time can help you improve your relationship with yourself. Regular alone time can help to boost your confidence and connection to yourself. By spending a night in, you learn to enjoy time alone and build up independence by being solely responsible for your enjoyment, rather than depending on activities, emotions, and events led by others. You can also reflect on thoughts without feedback from others, which can then help you become more confident in your decision-making skills and independent thought processes.
5. Better emotional regulation
Turning down social events so you can spend time alone can provide space to process emotions without external influences. This can help you to work through difficult decisions and feelings without anyone else’s involvement, persuasion, or unsolicited advice. Being alone can also support mindfulness practices and has also been shown to develop your emotional well-being.
Tips on how to embrace JOMO this season
Now you’ve decided this is your JOMO era and you want to embrace a quiet season of saving money, going to bed early, and increasing your well-being, here are some tips you can use to help you stick to it.
Practice saying “no”
Saying no isn’t always easy, but learning how to turn down social gatherings without feeling guilty is an important step. Being honest and assertive with your response is key, and know that no one requires an explanation, and no white lie is necessary. No need to make up another excuse or explain why you need alone time—get comfortable being confident saying, “Thanks for the invite, but I’m going to use this night to unwind.”
Let your friends know ahead of time
Express to friends and family why you’re embracing JOMO so they can be more mindful of involving you in events or filling you in on all the drama from the night before. Let friends and family know that this is your season of self-care and you would like to refrain from being involved in things that don’t personally impact you. True friends will understand and respect doing what’s best for you.
Stay off of social media
One way to get the most out of JOMO season is to stay away from your phone. Numerous studies show that social media actually increases feelings of loneliness. It’s essential to stay away from triggering social media posts or accounts that make you think that FOMO is creeping in.
Focus on how you can actually enjoy time alone
You may be used to hustling around getting ready for an evening out or running out hours before an event to purchase a new outfit; instead, try to counter that feeling by slowing down and taking time in the evening to do something else. Plan a nice dinner for yourself, choose a favorite movie, or run a warm bath. This way, you can embrace a slower evening and enjoy your time alone without feeling rushed.