Tips for Slowing Down and Embracing JOMO: The Joy of Missing Out

Flow magazine with cup of tea: JOMO

FOMO, a term that made it into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013, describes the fear of missing out. It’s a feeling or sense of being left out that’s heightened by today’s “always-on” culture – we’re constantly reminded of what we’re missing out on through social media. Photos and stories flood our feeds to show us just how much of a good time our friends and acquaintances are having. In fact, a study by psychologists at Nottingham Trent University found that FOMO was one of of the key factors driving participants’ social media addiction.

But, FOMO isn’t just about the fear of missing out on social activities. One of the psychologists involved in the above study, Dr. Halley Pontes, suggests that the origin of FOMO varies from person to person and “is often a result of a deficit in psychological need, such as social connection”. Another study published in Computers in Human Behaviour suggests that FOMO is associated with lower “life satisfaction”. Perhaps then, FOMO really relates to the fear of missing out on, or lagging behind on, certain life milestones. From envy-inducing travel photos and engagement announcements to new job offers, social media is where we share the highlights of our lives. Arguably, a few years ago social media was synonymous with oversharing, now, only the best posts make it online. While it’s nice to see our friends’ achievements, we can’t help but compare ourselves to all the good stuff they’ve got going on. Should we pack up and go travelling for a few months? Should we be on the property ladder too? Why haven’t we got a promotion? If this all sounds too familiar (and tiring), maybe it’s time to switch FOMO for its slow sister, JOMO.

You Do You: Tips for Slowing Down and Embracing JOMO

Instead of fearing what you’re missing out on, JOMO is another nifty acronym to describe the joy of missing out. It’s about enjoying time alone, saying no to invites and living in the moment. It’s about ignoring the pressure to keep up. Whatever you call it, it’s really just about living and breathing the phrase “you do you” and tuning out from social media. While there don’t appear to be many studies around JOMO itself, there are many around social media and comparison culture. The study entitled “Seeing Everyone Else’s Highlight Reels: How Facebook Usage is Linked to Depressive Symptoms”, claims to be significant for going someway to explain why Facebook and depressive symptoms can be linked. It suggests that social comparison is one of the reasons why heavy use of Facebook can make us feel down. So, how do we lessen FOMO and embrace JOMO? Here are three simple tips for seeking JOMO – the joy of missing out.

1. Take a break from social media

Unplugging from social media helps remind you that the glimpses of life we see online are only part of the story. Instead of constantly feeling that there’s always something better going on elsewhere, or trying to prove you’re enjoying yourself with an Instagram story or tweet, you’ll feel more present and connected to the here and now.

2. Skip invites now and again

There’s a lot of pressure to make the most of your time, especially in metropoles like London. There’s a new pop-up or rooftop bar opening nearly every other week – it’s pretty exhausting, right? JOMO is about learning to say ‘no’ to invites when you’d really just prefer a night-in on the sofa. And, more importantly, knowing you’re no less fun for doing so.

3. Make time to be alone

Set aside a night a week, or at least a few hours, to spend time alone. Solitude is important for unwinding, finding focus and recharging. If social media and your friends’ milestones are leaving you feeling anxious, use your JOMO downtime to work out why and how you can work towards your own goals.

So, JOMO is all about being self-aware, reducing time spent on social media and consciously deciding how you want to spend your own time. JOMO challenges you to live your best life and not just an Instagram-worthy version of it. Whether or not we feel like we need another acronym in our lives, the above research highlights that more frequent breaks from the online world could do us good.

Fika: More Than the Swedish Word for Coffee Break

Swedish cinnamon bun on a tray: fika break

Over the past couple of years, we’ve been obsessed with the Danish word hygge. It’s untranslatable, but refers to being present and acknowledging certain moments as particularly charming or ‘cosy’. To brighten long, dark winters, Danes incorporate hyggelig moments into their everyday lives, without them feeling forced. Reflecting on the often romanticised way that hygge has been painted for non-Danes, it seems like a concept suited to encouraging slow living in our personal and domestic lives, but not in our professional ones. As work is such a big part of our week, what else contributes to the Nordic countries continuing to top the global contentment charts? For Swedes, it’s possible that another untranslatable word, fika, has something to do with it.

What is Fika?

Fika is the Swedish word for a coffee break – it’s both a noun and a verb. But it’s more than just having a cup of coffee, it’s making time to slow down, pause, and enjoy a sweet treat. This will often be the much-loved Kanelbullar – Swedish cinnamon buns – found in practically every bakery and cafe in Sweden. Rather than queuing for a (probably non-recyclable) coffee cup with your name scrawled across it, sprinting back to work and forgetting all about your purchase minutes after, fika is a moment to look forward to. It’s about contemplating on your own or enjoying conversation with friends or colleagues. 

Even big brands in Sweden incorporate fika into the working day, often twice. And it makes sense – a proper break to refresh the mind and strengthen social relationships can only create a happier, more efficient team. Though, granted, it does sound quite idyllic. Phrases like “I don’t have time” or “what would my boss think?” are probably springing to mind. Yet if the whole office is stepping away from their screens for a while, surely these breaks become as normal as stopping for lunch. In fact, in a BBC article, Matts Johansson, founder of a coffee chain in Gothenburg, mentioned that fika “…is like going to the pub in other countries”. In other words, it’s very normal because pretty much everyone does it. 

Can We Fika in London?

Londoners don’t sit still for long. If you want to encourage your boss to embrace fika breaks or need to convince yourself that it’s a good idea if you’re working at home, reflect on this next piece of research. Margareta Troein Töllborn, a professor from Lund University, found that short, consistent breaks from work actually reduced the risk of employees experiencing burnout from stress. So, rather than seeing fika as losing 15 minutes of the working day, we should see fika as an investment. An investment in wellbeing, team morale and time to think creatively.

How to Fika Like the Swedish

Well, there are no rules, really. You can even swap the coffee for tea. You can fika whenever you like, wherever you like  – just not at your desk, while scrolling through emails. That’s cheating. And, if you’re having a break with colleagues, avoid talking about work – switch topics for a while, and you’ll return to a problem or task feeling refreshed.

Ready to ditch our grab and go culture and add a hint of Swedish slow living to your day? Even if you don’t like coffee, you might be able to get on-board with the promise of tea, cake and the chance to press pause during the day.

Urban Jungle: Benefits of Houseplants in the City

Girl holding plant: Benefits of House Plants

Houseplants may be ‘in’ and create great content for the ‘gram, but they are also a good way to encourage slow living in the city, especially when you don’t have a garden or terrace. In need of some greenery? Here are some of the benefits of houseplants and creating your own urban jungle in the city.

Benefits of Houseplants

Purifying the City Air

We all know that London’s air isn’t great. According to the government, around two million Londoners are living in areas with air quality that exceeds the legal limits for pollution. While measures such as the new Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London are aiming to reduce levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) on the streets, we can also take action in our own homes. Houseplants pump fresh oxygen into the air and some can even remove impurities. Snake plants and spider plants are good air-purifiers that are both nice to look at and pretty sturdy (if you’re a serial plant killer).

No Garden? No Problem

In London, gardens, terraces and balconies are a premium. If you’re lacking outside space and missing the countryside, houseplants allow you to create your own calm, nature-infused oasis inside.

There are plenty of brilliant garden centres and plants shops in London to browse, not to mention Columbia Road flower market, which offers reasonably priced houseplants among the blooms.

Green Therapy

Caring for plants is the perfect way to add some botanical-style slow living to your routine. If you’re a houseplant fan, you’ll find checking up on your plants is relaxing and therapeutic. Maybe it’s because they can’t talk… Although, on the other hand, some say talking to your plants and praising them helps them grow. Perhaps it’s worth a try?

Making Rented Space Your Own

If you can’t paint the walls to cover up cracks and marks, you can pop a houseplant in front of the eyesore. Plants are a relatively cheap way to decorate and accessorise your temporary (or not so temporary) home – especially when your contract prevents you from doing much else. You can infinitely redesign your plant shelfies and move your pots to create a new look whenever you feel like it.

If you needed some convincing (or you needed to prove to your flatmates or S.O that you deserve to buy more), these benefits of houseplants will help you thrive in your own space.