Every four years, an extra 24-hour period is added to our personal calendars in an attempt to keep the world’s calendar on track with Earth’s rotation around the sun.
Truthfully, this method isn’t perfect. Since being introduced during the rule of the Roman Empire, the world has used this extra day to stay in sync with the lunar cycle, thereby getting back up to speed with the universe.
With the purpose of Leap Day rooted in catching up, it’s tempting to bring that same approach to our individual plans for the day. But, what if we didn’t? What if rather than using an extra day to tackle to-do list items, getting ahead at work, or furthering our personal brands on social media, we used it to pause? Rather than giving in to ever-present FOMO, repurpose February 29th as a day for JOMO — the joy of missing out.
Why JOMO Matters
The joy of missing out is, as Psychology Today describes it, “the emotionally intelligent antidote to FOMO.” JOMO asks us to pause and be present; to put down our phones and laptops and turn off the television or latest podcast episode. If we look at February 29th as a day to experience the joy of missing out, we might just get the most out of having an extra day.
Interested in taking this concept for a spin? Here are a few ways to foster JOMO on February 29th:
Appreciate the Arts
Leisurely strolling through a gallery with the sole purpose of appreciating artistry is a practice both in gratitude and stillness — an ideal activity for JOMO day. Visit a new gallery, a museum that you haven’t gotten around to revisiting, or branch out by touring one that varies from your usual interests.
Attending a concert — be it classical, cultural or country — is another avenue for embracing JOMO day. Music is a near-constant part of daily life as it is readily available via countless streaming platforms and pouring through speakers in homes, shopping malls and even gas pumps. But that constant exposure can water down our sense of appreciation. On JOMO day, consider steeping yourself in music that moves you by experiencing it live.
Break Out from Routine
Leave the to-do list at home and take the road less traveled. JOMO day is the perfect excuse to leave the predictability of routine behind in favor of trying something new. This can be as simple as trying a new (or new-to-you) coffee shop or brunch spot; or even leaving chores undone in favor of a day spent playing games and building forts with the kids.
Feeling more adventurous? Since JOMO day falls on a Saturday this year, it lends itself perfectly to a mini-getaway or day trip. Take a scenic drive, visit a nearby town you’ve not explored, or book a night at your favorite local getaway. Miss out on the banal of typical weekend activities and experience the joy of taking a real break.
Do a Mini Digital Detox
The constant connectivity of digital life is a double-edged sword. Vacation photos, inspirational landscapes, joyful videos and personal news are readily accessible — inviting both a sense of togetherness and the tinge of FOMO. When given an extra day to savor, it’s tempting to look to social media for immediate inspiration and a sense of productivity. However, as discussed by a Harvard researcher, studies show that the short-lived dopamine hit created when you tap the “like” button creates false connections and puts users at greater risk of anxiety, depression and poor sleep quality.
If you suspect you’re feeling comparison fatigue, try logging out of social media, email and other digital platforms. While one day of digital detox might not change habitual scrolling patterns, this trial period can be inspiration to add more frequent digital breaks into daily life, or even come up with a set of regular digital detox rules and practices.
Consider JOMO day as an opportunity to show in-person appreciation to the people you love most. Trade the allure of scrolling through feeds for the soul-feeding practice of being present with friends and loved ones. Who knows: By not posting yourself, you may help create space for others to avoid FOMO.
So much of the day is spent indoors that it’s easy to forget the joy of spending time soaking up vitamin D. Rather than let yet another day pass in filtered air and artificial light, consider setting aside time spent relaxing in nature.
Spending time outside doesn’t necessarily mean embarking on a novel-worthy excursion. It can be as simple and lighthearted as packing lunch to eat in a park or going on a hike with a friend. If you live near a lake or the ocean, grab a book and read by the water’s edge. Even a backyard pool will suffice so long as you’re intentionally embracing JOMO day (just don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen).