The herd is back in a zoom-semester: another class, another meeting, another session on any video conferencing platform and this new class mode leads to exhaustion. This type of exhaustion has a name, "zoom-fatigue". This new phenomenon has affected teachers and students alike during the pandemic crisis. If you've felt it too, you're not alone (a). According to numerous articles from various sources, zoom-fatigue is real.
Since there are already so many articles detailing the many reasons why we experience this type of fatigue, we won't duplicate that content here. We will reiterate though that everyone is over-stimulated, overwhelmed, unequipped for physical relationships, and precariously placed in a pandemic that evokes a lot of stress.
One of the most common tips on how to combat this fatigue is to take breaks and walk away. We also need free time during sessions.
The following 5 tips are specifically helpful during a video call to combat zoom- fatigue:
1.- Recognize it
Fatigue is real. Acknowledge it and inform your professor that you are not focused. Send him/her a private message and take a short break. We even recommend you turn off your camera for moments, but remember to always notify your professor. You can still pay attention even with the camera turned off. A lot of this is up to you. For longer sessions, we recommend that the professor incorporate breaks to stretch or do an activity that involves movement. This also makes the classes more dynamic and relaxed.
2.- Hide or cover your image
As we mentioned above, turning off your camera can help you relax. Seeing yourself on screen can be exhausting on its own, as it can seem like an entire panel of people is looking at you and that's disconcerting. Covering or hiding your own image can help relieve the stress of seeing yourself acting on screen throughout the session and remove the pair of eyes that are likely to be watching you more closely.
3.- Keep your living space
Try to have some distance between you and your camera/screen. We all have a subconscious of proximity limits around us that define our comfort with different people. While our proximity isn't physical, we may still feel some anxiety about the proximity of so many faces. Putting a little distance can help relax. So, push that screen a little further away from you and you'll be able to start feeling some relief.
4.- Turn off all distractors
Close your social networks, mute your phone, close the project windows you're working on. Breathe, concentrate, and stay in the moment. You'll see that if you do, your performance will improve.
5.- Plan to finish early
This may be the hardest advice to take. There's so much to say and do! Try this, it might combat zoom-fatigue. Try to give yourself time between sessions and to plan to finish your work before your next scheduled session. Even 10 minutes can make a big difference. Just think about how we would all be reducing collective fatigue if we had some space planned in an orderly manner.
Hopefully, these 5 tips can help you and your class overcome zoom-fatigue. Share these tips with your classmates so you can make this zoom-semester a more positive and equally profitable one.