Fear of missing out sometimes strikes when we least expect it. Even during summer vacation. If your family is like mine, you live comfortably and can afford one or two modest family vacations per year.
And if your social media feed is anything like mine, you may see constant images of other families taking numerous summer vacations that don’t look modest at all.
Enter FOMO. That sneaky thief that steals your summer joy, leaving you with anxiety and envy because your family can’t afford to do all the things the internet seems to be doing.
Combat the FOMO beast by taking a few steps to recapture the joy in your summer months.
1. Consider what you don’t see.
Social media doesn’t tend to be the place people talk about how long they saved up for their dream vacations or how much debt they may incur to make those idyllic getaways a reality. And sometimes, the beautiful white sand beach in one friend’s cover photo may be a week-long holiday made possible by a grandparent’s family home or timeshare.
2.Get off social media for a time, or at least unfollow the vacation folks in your feed.
Unplugging from social media, even if only for a few days, allows me to focus on my family instead of fixating on other families’ vacation snapshots.
3. Explore your city.
Visit your library to find that hot summer read or check out that movie you missed in theaters last Christmas. Try one of the 1,000 Pinterest recipes you’ve pinned and then forgotten about. Pack a picnic and take it to a park you’ve never visited. Scan your gym’s web page to find a Zumba class for you that will correlate with a hula hoop class for your kids. Bring along your swimsuits and towels and plan to lounge for a while after your classes end.
4. Look for free or cheap camps offered by your city’s Parks and Rec department.
Your local school district’s web page may list summer activities, too. Take a look-see.
5. Consider a babysitting swap.
These long summer days can yield whiny kids and short tempers. Instead of daydreaming about a beach vacation with a nanny, try calling up a friend or two and offering to swap babysitting services for a few hours a week. Then use your alone time to refresh your soul. Meet your spouse or bestie for lunch, grocery shop in peace, or take a long bath and paint your toenails a new color.
6. Find places where kids eat free.
This will get you out of the house and possibly allow you to try a new restaurant or two while keeping your budget in tact.
7. Get creative with Pinterest.
Try a new pin a day – recipes, books, art, workouts. You may discover you have an undiscovered talent.
8. Write a journal with or for your kids.
An online search will quickly yield numerous templates for journals: 3 things a day that you’re grateful for, a one line a day journal that documents moments your kids made your heart smile, etc. Choose a template – or choose a few, so you don’t get bored – and cultivate gratitude as a discipline. If your kids are old enough, they can journal right alongside you.
9. Make a list of things you want to do, and encourage your kids to do the same.
Last summer, I got my kids to write down what they wanted to do, and I did the same myself. It turned out, my kids were mostly interested in amusement parks, play dates, and video games. And I was mostly interested in napping, reading, and catching up with extended family members.
10. Sneak a peek at your kids while they sleep.
Nothing dispels my anxiety quite like the sight of my children quietly sleeping. They look so peaceful, even in their sometimes awkward sleeping poses, and occasionally when I kiss their heads and whisper my love, they’ll sleepily whisper their love to me.