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Tips for Tackling Zoom Fatigue

Tips for Tackling Zoom Fatigue

Apr 21, 2020

Tips for Tackling Zoom Fatigue

by: Dianne Dickerson

I love Zoom. I’ve had an account since 2015 and love being able to see people when I’m talking with them. Pre-COVID, I especially loved not having to navigate Seattle traffic for a one- or two-hour meeting. Zoom has saved me many hours in the car and on planes, I’m happy for the time and the carbon savings.

And yet… recently, I’ve had five and six-hour Zoom days and it’s starting to mess with my Zoom love. So, I’ve started employing a few strategies to keep myself fresh and happy to be Zooming.  Here are some tips I can share:

  • Move frequently throughout your day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. I keep things I need across the room to cause myself to get up to get tea, water, and snacks and I take a stretch break while my tea water is boiling.
  • Do what you can to feel more present. Breathe, shift your position, feel your feet on the floor, and sit tall in your chair. Being present in your body can reduce your stress response. Simply noticing your body will help you be more present to it.
  • Remember that the others on the screen are not just talking heads either. Be brave and encourage a stretch break.  Others will likely follow suit, after all, they want to feel good too!
  • Be human first! Connect with the folks on the other side of the Zoom window with a personal check in. Acknowledge where they are in the moment and remember, a little humor can make almost anything better.
  • Consider alternatives. Do you really need a Zoom meeting?  Perhaps there is some work that can be done asynchronously and maybe even using another platform, like MURAL.  If you do have to meet in real time, and video isn’t needed, consider going old school and making a phone call.
  • You might even use the call as an opportunity to move around and walk outside while you talk.
  • If the weather is good, perhaps you can get a fresh air break and change up your scenery.
  • Schedule meetings to end 10 to 15 minutes before the hour to create breathing room between meetings.
  • Turn off self-view of monitor on Zoom, Daniel Stillman shared this idea and I find it freeing.
  • Touch the natural world by keeping a stone, a leaf or a wonderful piece of wood on your desk to hold.
  • Adjust your position by alternating between standing and sitting for meetings. You can use a standing desk or pile of books for your laptop to change positions. Remember to notice your posture and stretch and move your spine to keep yourself healthy.
  • Use a different color of pen for each meeting to change things up and give your brain some novelty. It may help you remember the contents of the meeting, so they don’t all run together at the end of the day.
  • Create a sense of completion when going from one meeting to the next. Either do a summary after your meeting, or a check-in before the next one to help let go of where you’ve been and to get ready for where you are going.
  • Take care of your eyes with rest, drops or eye wash. Your eyes may be working harder than usual with so much screen time. If you wear glasses, your eye doctor may be able to write you a new prescription for computer-friendly glasses even if their office is closed.
  • Avoid multi-tasking. Sometimes, you can’t help it, but stay conscious enough not to do it out of habit. Multi-tasking adds a level of stress that is subtle but adds up.
  • Schedule time off Zoom. Every now and then, schedule a Zoom-free day.

Most importantly, be kind to yourself.  Our nervous systems are learning to cope with our strange, new world.  In a physical meeting, we pick up so much information without even knowing it.  In this new setting, there is a lot for our minds and bodies to adapt to, so take time to consider how you feel and what you need.  You will be better able to show up fully when you take the time to care for yourself.