• Melissa

Fight Zoom Fatigue

I’m finding it hard to believe that we’ve been social distancing and using technology to communicate with colleagues, friends, and family for about two months now. Personally, I’ve tackled the challenges of working from home while helping my children with school work. I mastered the art of creating unnecessary piles of odds and ends around my house and need to start tidying things up again. I’ve grown quite used to wearing yoga pants and work out clothing and have been extra appreciative of my outdoor hikes. And, I’ll be the first to admit that I came down with a serious case of Zoom fatigue.

I wasn’t spending hours and hours online or in video chats, but I found myself more tired than when I was spending all day on my feet in the classroom with 25 ten-year-olds. It turns out that when we spend time online connecting with each other, it can be very exhausting. Behavioral scientists have determined that when we participate in video chats, we miss nonverbal cues that we typically rely upon during in person conversations, and our brains end up working harder to process these cues. We end up consuming a lot of energy.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to fight off Zoom fatigue. A simple thing you can do is schedule time away from your device and gadgets. I don't know about you, but before social distancing I used my phone as a way to have some down time after a full day in the classroom and talking for large parts of the day. Using my phone to read the news or check out social media was something I looked forward to. Now, the opposite is true! I find myself seeking out conversations with people and deliberately putting away my devices. Don’t feel guilty about disconnecting when you need to. Find time to talk to a person. If you’re able, visit with the person from a safe distance.

In this time of social distancing, I’ve been craving connection to people. I was reminded of Brandon Stanton who started a photography project in 2010 that has become known as Humans of New York. He photographed strangers in New York and interviewed them, asking them thought provoking questions. Inspired by Brandon, I’m fighting Zoom fatigue this week by using my phone to actually call people and have conversations with friends and family. When possible, I’m safely visiting them in person and having conversations in the style of Brandon Stanton. Here’s a list of possible questions to get you going:

  1. If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?

  2. What was the happiest moment of your life?

  3. Do you remember the saddest moment of your life?

  4. If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

  5. If you could change one decision you’ve made, what would it be?

  6. What’s your greatest fear about the future?

  7. What’s your greatest struggle right now?

  8. What do you feel most guilty about?

  9. Do you remember the angriest you’ve ever been?

  10. Do you remember the most frightened you’ve ever been?

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