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Tired and Bothered – How to Survive Zoom Fatigue

I was sitting in Psychology class today, learning about the history of early philosophers and their contributions to … *bump*. My head hits my computer and I’m out. I’m sorry, but Zoom classes are NOT it! It is so hard to concentrate, difficult to stay motivated, and I don’t know about you, but has anyone else’s ears been ringing a lot lately? I’m not one to slack off in classes, but I also value my personal health, and if I can’t keep my eyes open wide enough, or my ears are in pain from hours of AirPod use, and my eyes feel wrinkled and dry, well then, Houston … we have a problem!

So, I’ve been sitting here thinking about how I’m going to survive this next semester of 24/7 Zoom calls, and I think I have some ideas for you! Just call me Christina Aguilera because girl, I’m your “genie” (not exactly in a bottle) and I’m about to grant you all the tips you need to survive Zoom fatigue.

Get prepped like you have in-person classes.

I know it’s tempting to get out of bed at 7:58 for your 8 a.m. course, but please do not log onto your Zoom call, video off, microphone muted, sitting in your bed with your granola bite in hand. Oddly specific, but I’ve seen what I’ve seen, and I’ve done what I’ve done. Instead of tainting your bed by making it a place of “study” instead of a place for sleep, get up an hour or two before your morning courses, get dressed in an outfit that’s comfy and cute, maybe get a quick workout in, and get yourself organized a few minutes before the start of your class. Might take some getting used to, but you’ll thank me later!

Try different environments.

Guess what? You don’t have to be stuck in your little dorm room or apartment bedroom anymore! The grass is green, temperatures are starting to cool down (thank goodness), and if you find the right spot, it is so much easier to focus. The Norlin Quad is always quiet and there are plenty of trees to provide some shade. Just grab your outdoor blanket, pack up your backpack, and head out. If tree sap isn’t your thing, you can head over to one of the white tents or find a quiet place inside. If you live in a residence hall, check out some of your available study rooms as well and view the campus study spaces page for other indoor areas. Don’t forget your mask!

Stay focused.

It might be tempting to look at your recent text or scroll through Instagram while you have an online lecture, but try to eliminate and avoid all distractions and don’t multitask! I get it, sometimes you have a late night and need to finish up some homework or brush up on some keywords, but catch up before or after your lectures. As for your phone, put it on silent, do not disturb, airplane mode, turn it off, use whatever method you want! Point is, don’t get caught up in all of those notifications and put your phone out of sight. All of this helps to give your classes more of an in-person feel too!

Create an off-screen/on-screen schedule.

This tip may not be for the average person, but it has helped me greatly! Schedule your day either hour by hour, in a to-do list format, or on your phone’s calendar. Whichever method works best for you, do yourself a favor and start scheduling out your days now. Be sure to include outdoor activities like taking a stroll, going for a bike ride, or even eating lunch with a friend. Whenever possible, leave your phone in your pocket, but keep it silent and avoid reaching for it. These little bits of off-screen time each day can improve mental and physical health while giving you the chance to make some meaningful off-screen connections.

Suggest alternatives.

You may not be able to get your in-person classes this semester, but start a study group and try to get them outside to work together (when that becomes allowed again, of course). If you’re in any clubs, ask if socially-distanced, mask-required gatherings would be possible to avoid adding yet another Zoom meeting to your online day. If done safely, this can work to boost morale in your groups and help develop a more connected community.

This semester may not look like any other we’ve seen before, but that doesn’t mean that “Zoom University” has to suck the fun out of our week! Be sure to attend classes, study, prep for exams, etc., but be kind to yourself and go off-the-grid when you need to, take a nap on your hammock outside, sleep in on the weekends, and be sure to have some safe fun! To use a total cliché, we’re all in this together, so share some of these tips if you found them helpful and post your own solutions to surviving Zoom fatigue (be sure to @ HCCU too).

Renee is a new member of Her Campus CU Boulder. She is a freshman majoring in Integrative Physiology and following the pre-medicine track. When she’s not busy dancing away her problems at her desk, she enjoys snacking on açai bowls, hiking in the mountains, and rewatching The Office.
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