Have you taken a look at your social media recently? Have you been seeing more photos of dinner dates, get-togethers, parties and trips to the beach? It seems like everyone is out from isolation and living their best lives, right? But you may be looking at those crowds of people not quite ready to jump back into all of those social activities.
As much as all of you may have dreamed about for months or even years now is to get back to ‘normal’ (whatever normal is), the thought of all this may still make you feel uncertain or anxious.
FOMO on Normality
You may have fear of missing out (FOMO) but, in this case it is missing out on normal life. FOMO is not something new, it has been steadily increasing over the years with the uprising of social media. However, it does look a little bit different these days. FOMO mainly comes from comparing ourselves to others: what does this person have compared to what you do not?
Pre-covid, you may have experienced FOMO when someone bought a new car, went on a holiday or grabbed dinner at the fancy new restaurant in town. However, today’s Post-Covid FOMO might be slightly different. Some people are experiencing FOMO as they see other people going out and living a somewhat ‘normal life’, doing things we used to do before the pandemic with ease. Others are not ready to attend events or be around others, or they may not be allowed to due to vaccine restrictions etc.
The Pandemic’s Side Effects
According to the CDC, during June 2020 40 % of Americans reported struggling with mental health or substance use. 31% had anxiety or depression symptoms, 13% started or increased substance abuse use and 11% seriously considered suicide, these rates have nearly doubled prior to the pandemic (Czeisler et al., 2020). Alongside this a poll taken by the American Psychological Association shows the continuous impact the pandemic has had on Americans, as nearly half of the respondents said they felt “uneasy” about resuming in-person activities regardless of their vaccination status (American Psychological Association, 2021).
FOMO is self-driven, but it can increase anxiety, worries and uncertainty, there are so many unknowns right now and so much to worry about. This is a reason why millions of people across the globe are experiencing post-pandemic anxiety, depression, and fear, but there are ways you can manage them.
If you feel like you would like more information on this why not join our webinar: The Silent Pandemic.
Stef Gafa’ is a counsellor with Willingness who has a particular interest in trauma, attachment, domestic violence and the LGBT community.
American Psychological Association. (2021). Stress in America. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2021/sia-pandemic-report.pdf
Czeisler, M. É., Lane, R. I., Petrosky, E., Wiley, J. F., Christensen, A., Njai, R., … & Rajaratnam, S. M. (2020). Mental health, substance use, and suicidal ideation during the COVID-19 pandemic—United States, June 24–30, 2020. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 69(32), 1049. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6932a1