Written by Emily Fox
This new age of everlasting video calls means we’re in front of our devices more than ever before. Our Deputy Editor, Emily Fox, discusses how we can learn to cope in this new normal.
“Zoom fatigue,” a relatively new phenomenon that has brought a transition of education and workplaces to an online environment, has hit many university students hard. As a result, most parts of our lives have had to adapt to the virtual world from the comfort of our own home. A large majority of us are now staring at a screen for hours on end each day; a phenomenon we never thought would happen. More than six months into the pandemic, Zoom calls have become our preferred alternative of interacting face-to-face with others. Let’s be honest, it’s very easy to become tired and feel a little bit unmotivated. Luckily, there are ways to tackle the dreaded zoom fatigue.
1. Keep your workspace organised and well lit
As your desk is being used regularly when working from home, make sure it’s tidy and organised. A cluttered space can also mean a cluttered mind and it can make you feel even more stressed. Ensure you make the space your own, so you feel happy working there multiple hours a day, multiple days a week.
2. Move, walk or take a break
Physical and mental health are connected, so ensure you build some form of exercise into your routine. A great way to be active during the day is to go for a walk or run outside because this will release endorphins. It helps you to stay energised, unwind and be aware of your surroundings. If you’ve only got 10 minutes, have a dance to your favourite song in your flat, or take a walk down your road. Remember breaks are a good way to prevent overworking – we all need time to switch off and unwind. Avoid spending too much time in front of a screen if you can – phone included. You don’t always need to be doing something.
- Get dressed like it’s a normal pre-pandemic day
It may seem tempting to take classes from the comfort of your bed, but it is one of the most common ways to feel fatigued and unproductive. Putting on an actual outfit other than your pajamas can help you move from lounge mode to work mode and helps you to get into a regular routine. Getting dressed each day makes you look like you are taking the class seriously. Waking up earlier before class to take a shower can also help start yourself off on the right foot.
4. Find things to look forward to
Make time in your day or week for you to look forward to. This doesn’t have to be huge, in fact they can be small, exciting things, such as reading a book, or watching a YouTube video. Giving yourself time for self-care during the week is important because it will limit the feeling of exhaustion and prevent you from burning out after a long week. Other examples of self-care include playing relaxing music or applying a face mask. Switch off from the distractions and schedule a reminder if you need to. Remember what makes you happy!
- Talk to others
We’re all going through similar things and using your laptop every day can easily become overwhelming. According to Mind, more than half of adults and over two thirds of young people said that their mental health had declined during the first lockdown. While everyone manages stress and their emotions differently, one of the best methods is to simply reach out and have open discussions with friends and family about your feelings.
- Time to sleep
Regularly getting a good night’s sleep is important to ensure we have good mental health. Sleep affects our ability to speak coherently, sustain attention, understand what we are reading and listen intently. Compromising on our sleep means we are compromising our mood and relationships. Be mindful of using gadgets before bedtime – the ‘blue light’ can interfere with melatonin production, which is why scientists are suggesting we stop using our devices two hours before sleep to reduce their impact.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself
Try to keep things into perspective and remember that it is normal to have a bad day. It is something we all experience and if you feel you have failed, don’t beat yourself up. Tomorrow is another opportunity to try again and have a good day. Act as if you would if it was your best friend: be kind and supportive. You can also take a few minutes each day to appreciate yourself.
With this new lifestyle change here to stay, what tips would you add to our list? Let us know and tag us on Twitter @thedemondmu!