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Mental Health

How To Deal With Summer FOMO, According To A Her Campus Editor

Today, we’re talking about summer FOMO. In Ask An Editor, Her Campus Editors answer readers’ questions about how to be a human. This month, Her Campus’s Deputy Editor, Iman Hariri-Kia, hosts office hours about social anxiety. 

Dear Editor,

How do I deal with summer FOMO?

Sincerely, 

Sad Girl Summer 

Dear Sad Girl Summer,

Can I be honest with you for a sec? Summer FOMO hit me like a truck. It all started a couple of weeks ago, when my partner visited home, and I was left alone to my own devices. But I wasn’t too worried — after all, I’m a strong independent woman. I have two (two!) jobs I love, friends from high school, college, and post-grad, and family just a subway ride away. What could possibly go wrong?

Reader, four days later, I found myself pacing back and forth in my apartment, refreshing my Instagram feed, feeling overwhelmed with insecurity. My head pounded with that familiar heaviness of social anxiety, a sensation I hadn’t experienced in over a year. It felt like everyone I knew was out doing something fun, while I sat on my couch, flanked by my two closest companions: loneliness and self pity. Why weren’t my friends texting me? Had I done something to upset them? What was wrong with me?!

Nothing. Nothing was wrong with me — just, as I suspect, nothing is wrong with you. In quarantine, I’d formed these intimate connections with the people that remained steadfast in my life, friendships that had strengthened in isolation. I’d grown accustomed to the idea that no one had anywhere to go, so we could just exist together. In the absence of social pressure, I’d learned to listen to my own inner voice; to figure out what I wanted, and give it to myself. 

But now, summer FOMO is back with a vengeance. And the noise it’s making is so loud, that it started drowning out my intuition. I could no longer distinguish between what I wanted and what I felt like I should want. Here are the steps I’m taking to combat this kind of thinking: 

Summer FOMO Is Common

We’ve been so focused on hot girl summer, hot vax summer, etc., that we’ve kind of brushed over the fact that this is an incredibly strange time for everyone. We’re all healing from the collective trauma of the past year, and right now, no one feels 100% “normal.” We all just have different ways of dealing with it. If you got vaccinated, then got sad, or the world opened back up, then you felt yourself close off, know that you’re not alone. There’s no one right way to be right now, and more people around you are struggling than they let on. Some might cope by hitting the dance floor, others by staying inside for a few extra months. Either way, take what you need and treat yourself with patience and kindness.

Tell Your Friends About Your Summer FOMO

What’s my favorite saying? Open and honest communication is key to a healthy relationship. I know it probably feels like your friends are intentionally ignoring you or going out of their way to exclude you, but in my experience, people are more egocentric than we realize. Basically, they’re more likely to be thinking about themselves than you and your feelings. Your friends can’t read your mind, so open up and tell them how you’ve been feeling lately. Chances are, they didn’t realize you were going through it, and will be happy to add one more number to that reservation or stay inside with you for a much-needed movie night. Friendship is cool. Don’t underestimate its power.

Take Summer FOMO Into Your Own Hands

Once you’ve come to terms with the source of your summer FOMO and communicated with your friends about the way you’re feeling, it’s time to take back your power. If you know you’re someone who needs to keep their evenings busy, reach out to friends, family, and coworkers a week in advance and start building out your literal calendar. That way, when Sunday scaries hit, you’ll be able to look at your GCal and feel comforted by everything coming up that week. Next, take advantage of the world opening back up and try something new each and every weekend. Go check out that immersive museum exhibit you’ve seen all over TikTok or rent a Citi Bike and explore the upper loop of the park. Create a summer bucket list for yourself and take joy in crossing off one action item a week. The ritual will make you feel accomplished and in control of your schedule. You might even start savoring your own company again.

Of course, if summer FOMO makes you want to roll up in your weighted blanket and sleep until the sun goes down, that’s okay, too. There’s no one way to feel right now, so check in often with yourself and figure out what you need. The world is changing so rapidly, but people evolve quickly as well. The person you were yesterday won’t be the person you are tomorrow, so give yourself wiggle room to grow. I look forward to meeting the new you, and I hope you’ll like the new me. Maybe the two of us can hang out, together. 

And if you ever need a summer friend to combat the FOMO, I’m just a DM away.

Love,

Iman

 

Iman Hariri-Kia is a New York-based writer, author, and Her Campus Deputy Editor. A 2017 recipient of the Annabelle Bonner Medal and a nationally acclaimed journalist, she covers sex, relationships, identity, adolescence, and more. Her debut novel, A HUNDRED OTHER GIRLS, will be published in spring 2022.
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