Zoom meetings got you down? Try these three tips. Disco Therapy

3 Remedies for Zoom Fatigue & Burnout

You know that foggy lethargic feeling you get after a week, a day, or even an hour of Zoom meetings? It’s a real thing and there’s a name for it: Zoom fatigue.

{Insert paragraph full of whining about how much living life through Zoom suckity suck suck sucks here.}

After a day of staring at a screen, you’d think I’d say “thank you & goodnight” and crawl into my bed to hibernate. And you’d be correct. But I bring the screen with me for hours of Netflix!! What kind of self-care is that, Helen? That’s the world we live in, though; everything is virtual, both work and play. And it gets exhausting.

Here’s my theory about Zoom fatigue:

Staring at screens constantly is already bad enough, so when you pair it with being our main source of human connection, it is doubly draining. As an *artiste* I could go on a 20 min+ tangent about why live performances are superior to those through a screen, but it allllll comes down to the vibes. Even the most perceptive of people are going to be hard pressed to determine the vibe of the “room.”

You don’t get to feel the energy of a new classmate or co-worker in the same way you would meeting in person, so that means less of a gut feeling and more judging based on looks or their virtual persona. Don’t even get me started on being in a marketing class of 100 students with FOUR cameras on. A new friend? Don’t count your chickens, my dude.  

These are a few ways I’ve dealt with the exhaustion from virtual life:

20-20-20 Rule

Everyone is staring at screens all damn day now, and “three back to back Zoom meetings” has been added to the laundry list of answers to the question “why do I have a headache?”  This practice is a physical way to deal with the Zoom fatigue.

The 20-20-20 Rule is simply looking at something 20 feet away, for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes. Preferably I would take a 20 minute nap every 20 minutes, but we have to work with what we’ve got, ya know? 

If you have a window to look out, this is pretty simple: find something on the horizon and let your eyes relax. If you don’t, it’s not quite as easy, but still works. Depending on how much you’re expected to have your camera on, looking directly at the screen, choose a focal point on the other side of the room every so often. It’s sort of like intentional zoning out.

Social media wearing you out too? Check out these tips!

Go Analog

Mindfulness books to read to avoid zoom fatigue

Take notes in a real notebook

There’s plenty of scientific research to prove that taking hand-written notes helps you process and retain new information better than had you typed them out. I get easily distracted to begin with, so having a pencil or pen to play with while I listen to a lecture helps me focus (and cut down on how much I’m staring at the screen.)

Plan chunks of time for non-digital activities

Now that everything work and school related has a camera and a screen attached, it’s important to signal to your brain that you’re out of “work mode” when it’s time to rest.  I’ve been trying to leave my computer and/or phone in another room during breaks between classes so that I have to give myself a break. At the end of my school day, I (almost always) do the same for about 20 minutes at minimum. And seriously, your eyes will rejoice if you just read a frickin paper book.

Check out these stay-at-home activities

Neck and back self-release techniques

         **As a reminder, I am not a doctor and nothing on this blog should be taken as medical advice or done without checking with a medical professional first.**

Name someone who hasn’t experienced neck and back aches from looking at a computer….I’ll wait. (And lmk what meds they’re on). One of my favorite things in the world is getting a deep tissue massage, but sometimes you’ve got to make do with what you have at home. With constant aches and pains from dance comes a wealth of self-release technique knowledge.

Let me share with you the magic of the peanut roller

The official name for this tool is a peanut roller and can be found for anywhere between $15-$80. As of right now though, my DIY peanut has served me well. This is how I did it: put two tennis balls in a sock (any sock that’s long enough to fit them) and then tie a knot to secure it. If you are blessed with the presence of a lax bro in your life, steal a lacrosse ball of theirs while they’re busy filming their Hype House audition tape.

Check out this round up of the best models from a more reputable source than me

How to use a Peanut Roller

The important thing to remember is that you should not be rolling out directly over your spine. The shape of the peanut makes it pretty easy to roll out your neck safely. For this, simply lay on your back with the peanut behind your neck and gently tilt your head forward and back and turn slightly side to side.

For your upper back and shoulders, you can still lay on the floor, or use a wall for support. Place the peanut with one ball on either side of your spine and shift your weight around to massage any knots (again, make sure to avoid your bones.)

As a dance student, I’m lucky to not be sitting all day. But trust me, craning your neck to see the teacher on screen while rolling around the floor is definitely on par with hunching over your accounting case study.

I hope these simple tips help you combat the Zoom fatigue as we finish this wacko year. If you have tips, please share them in the comments!

Life won’t be like this forever; we can do hard things!!

xo, Helen

Similar Posts

One Comment

  1. I like your ending quote!!! It’s a good one and not just applicable to COVID but whatever hardship is your present.

Leave a Reply