While our Instagram feeds are flooded with a myriad of things from different challenges to screenshots of Zoom parties, not everyone is getting tagged or invited to these virtual hangouts. For those left out, the self-isolation coupled with a lack of online interaction can exacerbate feelings of loneliness. These can also cause feelings of depression and anxiety and nobody wants to feel like that.
We spoke to Sanya Bedi, a Delhi-based counseling psychologist, and curated a list of things you can do and feelings you can feel to help you experience less FOMO and more joy.
Make new friends
We live in the 21st century, making friends online is progressively less creepy and more normal. Find a group on Facebook, a community on Instagram, or a fandom on Twitter. There is a group for everything these days from those who specifically only enjoy skipping as a workout to calligraphers for whom putting pen to paper is a form of self-care. There are always apps like Friendmatch and Bumble if all else fails. Remember to be safe online though.
Connect with old friends
“It’s a great idea to be in touch with your loved ones, a couple of friends and family on a regular basis,” Bedi told Re:Set. “Even if you can’t meet them physically, you can meet them digitally. One close friend with whom you can share your feelings will go a long way. Pro-tip: remember quality is always above quantity.”
Try your hand at some games
Lots of online games such as Monopoly and Ludo have options to play with people across the world. So, if you’ve already conquered all your friends, or they’re busy or you just want to brush up your trading skills, start rolling, on the screen of course.
Do away with the guilt
It’s OK to binge-watch a season or two of your favourite shows. Start a Netflix viewing party, have a live chat about the episode and talk about what you’re watching. “You may feel overwhelmed to see people around you being super productive. It is absolutely OK for you to not be as productive as others are,” the psychologist added. “Try to set small goals for yourself and reward yourself for them. No achievement is small,” Bedi added.
“When staying or feeling alone, self-care may slip your mind. Try and schedule your self-care through reminders on your phone,” Bedi told Re:Set.
Stick to a routine
“This can help you feel more organized and structured. It can also help in easing negative feelings. This is because you would be so involved in your routine that negative thoughts may just take a back seat,” Bedi explained.
“While social media can make you feel sad and insecure about people posting stories and posts with their loved ones, you must remember that Instagram is not reality. If following some people is reinforcing the feelings of loneliness and creating toxic feelings, unfollow them. Self-care is not selfish,” Bedi told Re:Set.