Hoping you enjoyed that face-to-face mug of Butterbeer with a fellow muggle friend outside your screen reality this past week, it’s now time for me to introduce you to some magic defenses against the dark forces of Zoom Fatigue.
This time we will keep it simple, without a lot of theory!
Do you feel worried, or exhausted and do you think it has to do with the overuse of virtual communication platforms? Then there are some coping mechanisms you might want to practice:
- Is the amount of close-up eye contact highly intense for you?
Until the platforms change their interface, taking Zoom out of the full-screen option and reducing the size of the Zoom window relative to the monitor to minimize face size might be a wise choice. Additionally, maybe using an external keyboard to allow an increase in the personal space bubble between oneself and the grid can be very helpful
- Is seeing yourself during video chats constantly in real-time distracting?
Try using the “hide self-view” button, which you can access by right-clicking your photo, once you see your face is framed properly in the video. It’s going to be a challenge not seeing yourself at the beginning but try to keep on it!
- Do you feel stuck on your chair?
Yes, this is true your mobility has been dramatically reduced but there are ways. You could think more about the room you’re videoconferencing in, where the camera is positioned, and whether things like an external keyboard can help create distance or flexibility. For example, an external camera farther away from the screen will allow you to pace and doodle in virtual meetings just like we do in real ones.
Also divide your workplace from your eating, sleeping, and chilling space if possible. You don’t want to end up doing it all in the same room cause this will eventually not help you dividing work and life outside work.
- Do you feel overloaded?
During long stretches of meetings, give yourself a break. This is not simply you turning off your camera to take a break from having to be nonverbally active, but also turning your body away from the screen so that for a few minutes you are not smothered with gestures that are perceptually realistic but socially meaningless. Turning your video off periodically when overloaded or stuck during meetings is a good ground rule to set for groups, just to give oneself a brief nonverbal rest or just some time for stretching.
Additionally, don’t underestimate your basic needs for sleep, food, and water. Being absorbed in a screen can sometimes be tricky. And last but not least regarding this problem. We all like multitasking and it’s fine, but bear in mind that this can be associated with you feeling overloaded, distracted, and tired.
- Do you feel like you “lose real your connection” with people?
My favorite part of this blog. I know online interactions are not the same as face to face and I have to admit to you that during covid I had a lot of struggle keeping up with my social circle and finding the motivation to do so. I spent one semester refusing to adjust and sticking to my way of reduced online social interaction. Eventually, I realized I started losing people and that was heartbreaking. This is when something hit me and this is when I did my first baby steps in all of the following apps and ideas. They are not perfect, but they can help.
Feel free to try them out for any social meeting or group work to make it more interactive 🙂
- Poll everywhere
- Breakout Rooms
- Metaphox Cards
- Fun Backgrounds
- Online energizers
- Discord and Slack
- Annotations and Polls
- Collaborative Spotify Lists
- Virtual Reactions on Zoom
- Games with the camera on/off
That’s all from me for this week, and now that you all got a bit of this magic⭐️, please spread the word and…
“Don’t let the Muggles get you down.”— Ron Weasley, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 1
Read Part 1 here.
If you would like to speak to a professional about this issue, book an appointment here.
Alexandra Symeonidou is an Intern at Willingness with a BSc in Psychology, who will start her MSc in Clinical Psychology this following September.
Ramachandran, V. (2021). Stanford researchers identify four causes for ‘Zoom fatigue’ and their simple fixes. Retrieved from https://news.stanford.edu/2021/02/23/four-causes-zoom-fatigue-solutions/
Fosslien, L. & Duffy, M.W. (2020). How to Combat Zoom Fatigue. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2020/04/how-to-combat-zoom-fatigue
CGP Grey (2021). Lockdown Productivity: Spaceship You. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snAhsXyO3Ck