If you would’ve asked me what Zoom is a year ago today, I would’ve guessed it may have something to do with cars? Maybe a scooter for kids? Well, safe to say I’m a Zoom ~pro~ by now. As Covid-19 took over the world, Zoom quickly became a common word in households everywhere. While of course, I am so thankful we have this technology to make things seem a little more normal, being stuck at a laptop all day can be really difficult- not to mention both mentally and physically exhausting. Psychologists have even coined a term for this newfound difficulty- Zoom fatigue. According to The Psychiatric Times, Zoom fatigue describes the “tiredness, worry, or burnout associated with overusing virtual platforms of communication.”
Although I am no expert, here are some tips and tricks that helped me cope with sitting at my desk all day completing internship work, school work, and extracurricular work.
- Take breaks: I know this may sound obvious, but it is so easy to forget to take brain breaks during the day! One of my biggest issues is that once a class is over, I tend to check my email, get caught up in other assignments, and before I know it it’s time to get on Zoom for class again! I encourage you to make a point of setting times throughout the day where you can close your technological devices and do something for yourself! Whether this is going for a walk, grabbing coffee with a friend, or even taking a nap– honestly, anything where your brain can take a break from staring at the screen works!
- Normalize speaking up: Although I am extremely extraverted and can make conversation with a brick wall, I feel like Zoom meetings can be SO awkward as people are joining/leaving the call. I personally feel pretty stressed out when everyone is just staring blankly at their screens, waiting for the professor/group leader to join. By speaking up, you are sparking a connection between your classmates that would naturally come up if you were in person. Think about it, in most of your classes in person people are chatting and catching up before the professor walks in, right? And of COURSE, when the professor asks how everyone is, people give a verbal response. So why is it that when we are on Zoom we turn off our cameras before the class begins and when we are asked how we are we all kind of just nod and give a thumbs up? This semester, I challenge you to be the student that takes yourself off of mute and speaks up! I promise, your professors will be eternally grateful.
- Get out of bed: Although one perk of an online class is that you don’t have to leave your dorm or apartment to go to class in the cold, one game-changer for me was getting out of bed and doing class from my desk, the common area, or anywhere else on campus! This gave me some structure to my days, while simultaneously resembling the most “normal” class experience possible. Don’t get me wrong, in the past sometimes my 8:00 am classes were taken from the comfort of my bed, but I noticed myself lacking motivation and feeling extra sleepy when I chose to do this! If you ever need fun recommendations for where to take a class on campus, you know where to find me!
- Order blue light glasses: I noticed SUCH a difference when I started wearing my blue light glasses when looking at my laptop all day. You can get them on Amazon, or find them in stores like Target and Walmart! Another life hack is that if you have an Apple brand laptop, you can turn night shift mode on! Now, you might be wondering what exactly this means- basically, the night shift setting “shifts” the colors of your display to the warmer end of the color spectrum after dark, minimizing the blue light your screen emits.
Trust me y’all, I know just how taxing sitting on Zoom all day can be. It can be disheartening sometimes to jump from one meeting to another, not sure when you’ll be able to leave your apartment, office, or dorm room. However, I really believe in these tips and have noticed a huge difference in my academic performance once I adopted them!
If you have any questions or concerns about Furman please reach out to me! My insta is @alexandra_rick ! And as always, Roll Dins!
Have a happy week!