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8 Ways To Be Prepared In The Battle Against Zoom Fatigue

MANY OF US CONTINUE TO FIND OURSELVES STUCK IN FRONT OF THE COMPUTER FOR THE MAJORITY OF OUR DAY

As the world comes to terms with an extended lockdown, we must find more ways to fight the good fight in the battle against Zoom Fatigue. While working from home can have its benefits, it certainly comes with its downfalls as well. Perhaps the most challenging adjustment we have had to make is getting used to meeting our colleagues in a virtual setting.

When we meet online, we can easily spend the whole day in one spot, without a natural transition between our own work sessions, and potentially sitting through one telecall after the next. All of this screen time has resulted in what has commonly become known as “Zoom Fatigue”, and it is a very real problem.

While it is still possible to PLAN AHEAD and RUN EFFECTIVE MEETINGS ONLINE, there are a few simple things that we can do for ourselves before a virtual meeting starts to combat Zoom Fatigue. We’ll go through 8 of them in this post, so that you can prepare yourself to be effective, productive, and engaged online.

“ZOOM FATIGUE” IS VERY REAL

AND IT’S A SERIOUS PROBLEM

“Zoom Fatigue” has become popular shorthand for the negative physiological effects we feel when sitting through virtual meetings on Web Conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Skype, and Teams.

As THE PSYCHIATRIC TIMES reports: 

“‘Zoom fatigue’ describes the tiredness, worry, or burnout associated with overusing virtual platforms of communication… Zoom fatigue is widely prevalent, intense, and completely new.”

And the problems with virtual meetings are bigger than just eye strain from staring at the screen. According to THE ECONOMIST, many people report an increase in anxiety and self-consciousness based on their personal appearance, their physical surroundings, and letting people into their private spaces.

Sitting in front of our computers with headphones on, we lose out on the opportunity to make personal connections with our colleagues. And without physical interaction with our managers, many of the affirmations that we receive throughout the day go missing.

In fact, PSYCHOLOGY TODAY reported recently that online communications actually have a negative effect on our psychological safety, and encourage implementing self-care routines to help combat Zoom Fatigue.

IT ISN’T JUST THE PLATFORMS THAT ARE CAUSING ISSUES.

It isn’t just the platforms that are causing issues. VIRTUAL MEETINGS fall short when compared to the real thing in many ways, perhaps most notably in the way we assess our own psychological safety at work. 

Luckily, there are lots of simple things we can do to prepare ourselves in the 5 minutes before a virtual meeting that can help us battle Zoom Fatigue.

1 | Minimize Screen Time

Quit Doomscrolling. Ignore the News. Turn off the TV.

Since we already spend so much of our day on screens, give your eyes a rest before your meeting. Not only will your retinas thank you, but you can clear your head from the constant barrage of flashing images and stress-inducing content.

2 | Fresh Air

Go for a walk. Open a window. Take a Balcony Break. 

Sitting indoors means we get stuck breathing the same recycled air, even if we have proper ventilation. Open a window or step outside and take a few long, deep breaths of fresh air, and breathe new life into your lungs and your brain.

3 | Move

Deskercise. Strike a Power Pose. Some Quick Jumping Jacks. 

It’s no fun being stuck at your desk all day, whether you’re in the office or at work. Physical activity not only has the power to release tension, but it can also send endorphins through your system, and wake your brain up. 

Here is an easy 5-minute workout you can do from your desk to energize your body and keep you on your toes!

4 | Music

Press Play. Sing Along. Dance Like Nobody’s Watching.

Music is a powerful way to change our mindset and invigorate our bodies. Another benefit of working from home is that we can jump, jive, and wail without bothering anybody else in the office. So open up Spotify, search for your favorite 90’s power ballad or death metal jam, and rock out.

5 | Turn Off Notifications

Close Your Inbox. Log out of Everything. Turn on Airplane Mode. 

We often think that staying busy makes us productive. But constantly sorting our Email, checking in on Slack, and scrolling through Instagram can take our focus away from the present moment, and send our brain down a path of distraction. By going off grid a few minutes before a meeting, we get the transition moment we need to become fully present during our call.

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6 | Snacks

Grab Some Sustenance. Something Sweet. Something Savory.

Take a quick moment to check in with your body before beginning an online meeting. Are you thirsty? Need a pick-me-up? Then grab a handful of walnuts or a sweet treat to give yourself the fuel you need to stay focused in your virtual meeting.

7 | Meditate

Close Your Eyes. Breathe In. Breathe Out. 

Across the globe, people have discovered the value of mindfulness and meditation during the pandemic. Even a simple 5-minute meditation session can reduce stress, release tension, and give positive energy. Give it a try before your next online meetup.

8 | Change Locations

Hang a Hammock. Move to the Couch. Build a Standing Work Station.

When we meet in a virtual space, we lose the visual stimulus we get when meeting in person. And many of us hop on a call at the same place we do our work. But by changing settings for our online meetings, we give ourselves an invigorating new surrounding to stimulate our senses. This also helps create a natural separation of our workday, distinguishing between online calls and our daily work.

It’s easy to forget to take care of ourselves. Especially when the whole world feels frightening or overwhelming.

But it’s OK to take the time you need to be your best.

Your employer wants you to be physically safe and psychologically healthy. Especially when you’re working from home. So take a few minutes before you hop on a call to be physically awake and mentally prepared. It makes a world of difference in the battle against Zoom Fatigue.

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