How to Handle FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

You may have heard the acronym “FOMO” in your kid’s vocabulary, or on TV, but still wonder what it actually means. FOMO—the fear of missing out—is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as the “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.”

It’s likely that we have all experienced FOMO to some degree. Whether we see friends post about an awesome hike they went on, a movie they saw, or a delicious meal they cooked, sometimes we see status updates that make us a little jealous. You may feel the need to post your own exciting status, or reach out to get more details. While it may be an uncomfortable feeling, FOMO can motivate parents and kids to do more in life and take advantage of all the opportunities that come along.

Matthias L., currently a senior at Ohio Virtual Academy (OHVA), is an example of someone who may be motivating others with a little FOMO when they get a glimpse of his daily routine. He’s a dedicated student, a musician, referee, soccer player, volunteer, and track athlete. But that’s not all! He still finds time to work part time at Panera Bread and serve as commander and highest-ranking cadet with the 2nd Lieutenant of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP is a branch of the Air Force).

Maybe those who suffer from FOMO can learn from how Matthias manages his unusually busy schedule. His mother Marie says that “Matthias is a very independent young man. He has always been good about managing his own time, and I have never had a problem with him struggling to get work done.”

One reason Matthias has been able to accomplish so much during his senior year is the extra control he has over his school schedule. As an online learner with K12‘s OHVA, he enjoys exceptional courses, dedicated teachers, a strong support team, and an individualized program, but he can make his schedule work for him. “Once he receives his schedule, he will tweak it a bit to fit the order he wants,” explains Marie. “He will often split up his school schedule if needed and finish at the end of the day.”

So what can parents and students who experience FOMO learn from Matthias? “Matthias know himself very well,” says Marie. “He incorporates breaks into his schedule to maximize his time and energy, and many of his activities are things that he enjoys doing which can be relaxing.”

So, take it from Matthias the next time your FOMO kicks in—plan ahead, take a break, but, most importantly, know yourself and make sure your sideline is full of cheerleaders not naysayers.


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