As a mental health expert who works with moms, I’m seeing first hand how moms are struggling with the many hard decisions that need to be made around how to celebrate the holidays this year during the pandemic. And many moms are experiencing major FOMO (fear of missing out). 

holiday tree and presents - Embracing the JOMO (The Joy of Missing Out) this Holiday Season

I know I am. More than anything, I want my little family of four to be able to gather with our extended family of over twenty aunts, uncles, and cousins around a huge dining table with extra extenders in it for our traditional Thanksgiving feast. And, oh, how do I so want to spend the winter holidays attending silly ugly sweater potluck parties with our circle of friends. 

My kiddos too are experiencing major FOMO, probably even more than I am as their mom. They want to go to the mall with their Christmas list in hand to visit Santa like we do every year, or spend time with their friends at school partaking in grade school games at their winter parties. 

But with the pandemic raging and numbers of cases increasing in almost every state across the country, my family is embracing a JOMO holiday this year instead.

What’s a JOMO holiday season and how do you have one, you might ask? Well, let me explain. 

The journey of JOMO began in 2012 when tech entrepreneur Anil Dash coined the term “the Joy of Missing Out” on his blog. Soon after Christina Cook published the book, The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World. The goal of JOMO was originally about disconnecting from our devices in a FOMO society that is glued to their screens. Now, in 2020, in a society stricken by the pandemic and fatigued with the constant sacrifices of giving up everyday activities for the last nine months, taking tips from JOMO’s tenants can be a way for us to embrace these sacrifices. 

Tip 1: “Just be here.” Knowing where we are and who we are with is enough. 

With all of the uncertainty that the pandemic brings, it’s hard to plan for the future. Instead of fighting against this during the holiday season, let’s embrace it by really settling into the present moment. Make your decision about who to spend the holidays with and where to spend the holidays with confidence. Then once that decision is made, accept it and go with it. You might find by doing so it increases your happiness in the present moment as you celebrate holiday traditions with your kiddos. 

Tip 2: Live for today and savor today’s experience.

If the pandemic has taught us anything (and it’s taught us so many things), it’s that we are only guaranteed today. So, this holiday season savor these days with your children. Really go all in by putting your phone down and enjoy the present moment with all five of your senses. When you bake those holiday cookies with just your kiddos this year, give yourself permission to taste the dough, smell the sweetness of all the sugar, the feel of the flour in your fingers as you throw it at each other for an inside snow party.

Tip 3: Practice gratitude for what we have, turning our thoughts away from what we are missing.

There is so much to grieve this holiday season. The loss of traditions, seeing friends and family, and normal life. We need to give ourselves space to grieve having to give up how we usually do the holidays. Once we validate our grief, we can turn towards practicing gratitude for what we have while turning our thoughts away from how things aren’t how we want them to be. This act of making the choice to miss out on the holiday traditions can give us back a sense of control as well give thanks for the things we still have. 

Tip 4: Be courageous and generous by choosing sacrifice over regret.

It takes courage to let go of the life we have planned in order to accept the life we have in front of us, especially when it’s not the life we want. And as moms, we constantly sacrifice our own needs for those of others which makes it harder to have to sacrifice more of the things we love during the holidays. But making this brave and other-focused decision means we are putting the health of our family and loved ones first. This also allows us to focus on and savor the relationships in front of us. 

Tip 5: Find joy in the daily mundane part of pandemic life.

We usually move so fast through holiday events because of FOMO on parties and celebrations. This year the antidote to this typical holiday frenzied lifestyle can be embracing JOMO. Not only because COVID is making us do it, but also because choosing to see the joy in the ordinary can be an extraordinary experience that brings us back to how lucky we are to be alive and with our kiddos, even when living in the pandemic is making life super hard. 

To learn more about JOMO and how to apply it to other areas of your life visit Experience JOMO.

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