Need some advice? Ask Daniela!
In this new UJA Teens Newsletter feature social worker, Daniela Aptowitzer will tackle your questions about friends, family, school, and more! To have your question answered in an upcoming newsletter, submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org. All questions will be kept completely anonymous.
I used to be a really social person and enjoyed spending time with my friends, going to parties and just being out of my house. These days, I find myself not wanting to chill with my friends and spend a lot of time on my phone checking out social media so I don’t feel like I am missing out.
What happened? How can I get back to wanting to spend time with others so I don’t miss out?
I’m glad you wrote in about this because you are NOT alone! After being home for such a long time, a lot of people, not just teens, are experiencing similar feelings since going back to our “regular” activities. They say it takes three weeks (21 days) to create a new habit - think of how many weeks you had to create new habits of being home on your own and living your life through your phone! You are already doing a great job because you have identified this challenge – self-awareness is not always easy!
Let’s consider some things you mentioned in your question:
- Do you want to work on spending more time with others or do you want to look at the feelings of FOMO? These are two different things. Whenever you tackle a problem it is good to break it into manageable chunks.
- Self-care is a really important part of our lives, and often a part that we aren’t always so great about prioritizing. Maybe staying home and relaxing is what you need at the moment! Take some time to plan for activities that you are looking forward to and try to make some plans with friends in a way that feels manageable AND fun.
To deal with the fear of missing out (FOMO)consider the following:
- Think about your own happiness and try to do things that make YOU happy, rather than trying to get your sense of satisfaction and contentment from others
- How good is social media for you? I know it’s hard to stay off the ‘gram, but maybe it’s time to evaluate if your feed is helping or hurting you. Check out this link on doing a digital detox
The final piece of your question is really important too. How can you get back to wanting to spend time with friends? The real answer here is that it takes time. It is ok to go slow, take time to check in with yourself and assess how each interaction makes you feel (pros and cons lists are great here), identify some strategies that help (start off with a time limited plan, with one or two people you feel comfortable with and have a pre-planned exit strategy). Don’t forget to be kind to yourself - when you are ready to fully re-enter the world lots of fun with friends will be waiting for you!
"Ask Daniela" will be back in our December issue - until then, send your questions in to email@example.com
Daniela Aptowitzer is a social worker who works with children, teens, young adults, and parents for the past 19 years. Currently, Daniela is the School Social Worker at Montcrest School, an independent school in Toronto. Daniela previously worked at Jewish Family and Child Services, serving youth, parents and families of the Jewish community for 15 years.
For the past 7 years, Daniela has worked at Camp Northland B’nai Brith as their Director of Wellness, supporting campers, staff and families before camp as well as spending all summer onsite. Daniela has a lot of experience working with youth of all ages, focusing on relationships, self-confidence, anxiety and ADHD.