Getting rid of FOMO Anxiety

Sometimes, cancelling plans is a really positive thing. You may need to wind down from a heavy working week, and necking cocktails until 3am just isn’t doing it for you. It could be that the book you’ve been meaning to read for a while is a whole lot more appealing than climbing out of bed and joining brunch across town. This, my friends is the JOMO (joy of missing out) as opposite to FOMO anxiety that we love to see. Taking time for yourself and not attending every single social event in case you miss out.

But what happens when you end up feeling worse after cancelling plans?

Instead of the lovely, relaxing evening you may have been expecting when cancelling a social event, you’re overcome with intense feelings of guilt and worry. Well, you might be surprised to find out that FOMO anxiety is way more common than you think.


Letting Everyone Down?


I spoke to Lauren* 28, who suffers with anxiety and has experienced guilt when cancelling plans:

“I love being around people but sometimes feel that I just need some time to myself. I will cancel a plan and look forward to it. I might order a takeaway and decide what I’d like to watch on Netflix; light a few candles. As soon as I sit down, I begin worrying that my friends will be talking about how much of a flake I am or how I’ve let them all down. I can’t relax and end up wishing I’d gone in the first place.” 


For Zoe* 26, the cancel anxiety comes more from feeling that she should be achieving something constantly:

“I work so hard during the week and always have plans at the weekends. On the rare occasion I cancel something to stay in bed to catch up on rest, I physically can’t relax. I will just lie there believing I should be doing something, anything. It’s as if my body won’t allow me to chill out.”


*Click here to check out Why ‘Doing Nothing Should Be Your 2020’s Resolution’?


More Than Just FOMO

I’ve personally struggled with cancelling plans in the past. We’ve all heard of FOMO, but cancel anxiety is definitely a step up from this. What would make me most anxious was checking my phone throughout the night and seeing people’s Instagram stories. Although I’d bowed out of the occasion for a reason, I would worry that next time we were all together, I wouldn’t be part of the narrative and potential ‘private’ jokes from that evening. This would happen despite knowing that all of my friends are megababes and would never make me feel like this.

To combat this, I turn my phone onto silent or off completely and leave it in a different room to avoid constantly checking for updates and simply try to get on with my rest time.


How to Stop The Anxiety Effectively


#1  Be honest

I now overcome cancel anxiety by being honest with people if I can’t make it or feel that I should stay in. Message or call as soon as possible, rather than ignoring it. There’s nothing worse than your phone buzzing with someone trying to find out where you are. Something simple like: ‘Hey, I don’t feel great today, mind if we take a raincheck?’ will do the trick.


#2 Don’t check social media

As with FOMO anxiety and my experience above, don’t keep checking the ‘gram. It will only make your anxiety worse. Hold off until you feel a little better. Check this out if you are looking for a positive social media experience.


#3 Focus on yourself

If you’ve chosen to step back from a plan because you need time just for you, make it 100% your priority. Do things that bring you joy and enjoy your party for one.


Finally, don’t go because of the anxiety. Although you may feel that heading to a party will get rid of the anxiety, you might find that you’re simply going through the motions, not enjoying yourself and potentially making your anxiety worse through exhaustion. Stay away and practice the above tips until cancelling plans becomes easier for you!

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