Lately, I have been spending most of my days on Zoom. I have been using it for everything from meetings with colleagues, virtual workout classes, and even happy hours with my socially distant friends. These video calls have been filling every corner of my life during this time of social distancing. Needless to say, when I spend that much time on Zoom calls, it starts to take a toll on me. Whether its brain fog, headaches, or dry and irritated eyes, Zoom fatigue is a real thing that I am guessing we are all starting to deal with on a more regular basis. That said, bowing out of meetings or Zoom classes isn’t always an option. Here are just a few ideas to try and head off the Zoom fatigue before it starts.
When classes were running in person, we scheduled in breaks for you. Every hour or two, there was a 10 minute break so that you could stretch, get some water, or even walk from the Learning Studio to the Auditorium. When you are at home and either watching PRLs or taking Zoom meetings all day, it can be easy to forget to give yourself a break. Its easy to schedule those meetings back to back, and that can literally mean back-to-back. There is no travel time needed to get from one zoom call to the next. Its even more important to remember to give yourself a break between calls or classes. Get up, stretch, grab some water, or even just walk around the house for a few minutes.
Avoid Video when You Can
When you are catching up via Zoom for a virtual happy hour, of course you probably want everyone to have their camera on so you can see each other. It might not be as critical for every meeting to include video. Help yourself avoid burnout by joining with only audio whenever possible. While one-on-one meetings with your dean might not be the best time to employ the audio only policy, you may be able to think of times that are not as personal and would be appropriate for audio only. Prioritize your Zoom time according which will require video and which do not is an easy way to cut down on some of the time in front of your laptop’s camera.
Take Notes by Hand
Even if you calling into a meeting with video, that doesn’t mean that you need to be staring into the camera the whole time. While I tend to feel like I need to be looking into the camera the whole time to appear present and active, there are other cues- like asking questions or nodding that can indicate full participation. I recommend taking notes by hand whenever possible. It will give your eyes a break from the screen, and will likely help your mind take a breather from the overstimulation of staring at the screen for hours on end.