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Amid a pandemic that has kept us separated from loved ones for months on end, Zoom has become our main mode of communication – and for many our main avenue for employment. But what happens when your class schedule is fully booked, but you’re totally “Zoomed out”? In today’s post we are tackling how to avoid Zoom fatigue with some simple tips to keep your body and mind healthy.
Thank goodness we have Zoom and other tools like it to connect us during these crazy days of the pandemic. How did we ever communicate without them? TEFL lessons, work meetings, happy hours and birthday parties, all take place via video chat. You can even attend a wedding on Zoom! With so much Zooming going on, we’re bound to get Zoomed Out. Let’s face it. Nothing beats a real, in person, face-to-face chat with your family, friend or colleague.
So, how to avoid “Zoom fatigue” – that head fog, dry eyed, “numb bum” feeling of too many Zoom meetings? Read on to learn some useful tips!
Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond our control, we’re in back-to-back Zoom meetings most of the day. If you’re teaching online, this might be a very real part of your current daily schedule. According to IHASCO, an online health and safety compliance organization out of the UK, it’s best to take a break from the computer every hour or so, for about 5 to 15 minutes. Also, it doesn’t hurt to take a longer break – at least 30 minutes – every 2 to 4 hours.
Taking regular screen breaks has a whole host of benefits, according to online entrepreneur Derek Halpern. For example, you make better decisions because you’re thinking more clearly. Also, you are more creative and your memory is sharper. So if possible, try scheduling your lessons in batches so that you can give yourself adequate time each hour to attend to your own needs. Use your breaks to stay hydrated, use the restroom, walk around and grab a snack from the fridge.
If you’re like us, your peepers have been feeling the effects of constant screen time. Dry eyes, headaches and increase stress levels can all be linked to too much time spent in front of a screen. IHASCO recommends practicing the “20-20-20” rule to reduce eye strain. In other words, every 20 minutes you take 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away. This gives the muscles in your eyes time to relax. Blue light glasses are also something we’ve been experimenting with. These glasses have lenses that are made to filter out the damaging blue light given off from digital screens. Try some clear ones like these and you’re students won’t even realize you’re wearing blue light blockers!
According to the Southern California Orthopedic Institute, sitting and standing with the proper postural alignment allows you to work more efficiently with less fatigue and strain on your body’s ligaments and muscles. The first step to improving your posture is to be aware of it! Check in with yourself. Are you constantly leaning forward? Slumping your shoulders? Awkwardly shifted to one side because you like crossing your legs? (Guilty!) Some folks find it helpful to use a posture corrector to help them make the change to maintaining a healthy position during the workday. Switching between sitting and standing can be helpful too as it keeps you more aware of your body.
If you only have a few minutes between meetings, you can do some stretches at your desk. Stretches reduce the aches and pains from too much desk sitting, according to Lucie O’Shaughnessy, a physiotherapist at Bupa, an international health insurance and healthcare company out of the UK. She offers safe, step-by-step guidance on how to get the most out of stretches like the spine twist, shoulder shrug, and back extension.
While your online teaching schedule may be set in stone, there’s no law that says every other Zoom meeting in your life has to be done with video. Especially if you’re meeting with someone you don’t know, the Harvard Business Review recommends switching to a phone call, email or even Slack. Chances are, the person on the other end, is all Zoomed out too!
Steven Hickman, Psy.D. and executive director of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, offered these great tips in Mindful.org on how to avoid Zoom fatigue. He suggests taking a few minutes before your meeting to settle and ground yourself. Also, take a second to greet each person in the room with your full attention. If you opt for “speaker view,” you can give your undivided attention to the one person speaking. Finally, and this is a biggy, he says resist the urge to multi-task!
When you’re really feeling like you’re ready to throw your laptop or phone out the window, a sure bet to destress is to get outside. Even if you just walk a few laps around the house, or take the dog for a stroll, your body and mind will thank you. According to Healthline.com, getting 10-30 minutes of mid-day sunlight a few times a week can keep your level of Vitamin D on track.
Also, research compiled by ScienceDaily.com, showed that spending time outside has significant and wide-ranging health benefits. Those benefits are even greater if you can get into nature. Research found that people who spend just 17 minutes in nature a day are significantly more likely to report good health and higher psychological well being than those who don’t visit nature at all during an average week. Apparently, exposure to green space reduces your risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stress, and even high blood pressure!
Whether you’re teaching online or find yourself in meetings all day, we hope these tips on how to avoid Zoom fatigue were helpful! Why not choose a few and give them a try today?
Until things get back to normal, and we can have real face-to-face time, cheers to happier and healthier Zooming!
P.S. If you’re looking to teach online and need a reputable TEFL certification, why not take our 2-day TEFL taster? It’s one full module of our course that you can work through to get a feel for who we are and how our course operates. Click below to access it today for free 🙂