How to Combat Zoom Fatigue 101

School’s back! Except it’s not exactly in the way we expected. Whether you have live lectures or not, I think it’s safe to say that a lot of us are getting tired of online learning. I’d honestly rather stand in our Starbucks line when it extends throughout the concourse than attend another zoom call (this might be combined with me missing being on campus). 

Since I’m just starting to feel zoom fatigue, I figured that now is the best time to start experimenting with different ways to combat this. 

1. Don’t watch or attend lectures on your bed!

It’s a trap! Once you get into the habit of working on your bed, your brain starts thinking that it’s time to relax. This, as a result, can start making you feel more tired even when you aren’t. I’ve noticed that times when I’m listening to a lecture on my bed also includes a lot of zoning out. I don’t want to say make yourself uncomfortable in order to focus because I don’t see that helping at all. However, I feel that trying to imitate the way that you would be in class if you are on campus really helps. Most of us would be in a lecture hall or classroom, which means that sitting at a desk or at least in a chair is a better idea than lying down in bed. Switch it up by working at your desk or another sitting area to prevent yourself from falling asleep! 

2. Take a digital detox.

Since our learning has become online, we are typically staring at our computer screens for longer periods of time than we normally would. Even if you typed your notes in lectures, you would give your eyes a break by looking at your professor talking. Since we can’t necessarily control the amount of time we have to be in class or limit the amount of time it takes to write notes or study, start by consciously controlling the amount of time you spend on your phone. Instead of taking a social media break, get up and jump around, grab a glass of water, bother your sibling or roommate (if you live with one), call a friend on the phone (NOT Facetime if the goal is to give your eyes a break) or just take a few minutes to sit and listen to music. One thing that I’ve started to appreciate so much more lately is my time alone away from technology. Most importantly, I feel that being on my phone less helps me focus more in class.

3. Get up! 

Go for a walk or just step outside as much as you can between your class times. Fresh air can really help calm your nerves. Not too long ago, I took a walk in my neighbourhood with the intention of it being 20 minutes, and instead, I was outside for almost an hour! I didn’t realize how stressed out I was and how much I needed to just get away from my room and work environment.

4. Hide your self-view if your camera needs to be on.

My professors haven’t made turning your video on mandatory. However, if I do have my video on, I’ve noticed that I tend to look at myself in the camera. This in itself can be very distracting when you’re trying to learn because naturally, our eyes are drawn to ourselves when we are on camera. If you pin your professor to your screen, or keep your gallery view on and slide to a screen where you can’t see your own face, this can make you feel more focused on the material rather than on the way you look in the camera view.

5. Stop working. 

If you constantly stress and overwork yourself, this one sounds the scariest of them all. But seriously, at some point, you need to stop working! Being at home and doing classes can often make the divide between our schoolwork and the rest of our life merge into one. Setting clear time blocks for when you are going to take time for yourself really helps you feel more focused when you need to hop on calls or watch lectures. Sometimes when we take breaks we don’t realize that we are still actively thinking about all of the work we need to do, and this can result in feeling more stressed. It can also make us feel like we “wasted our break” and have to rush to get back to work. Make sure you allocate a few hours a day for yourself, and that in itself will allow you to start feeling more refreshed and ready to learn.

Overall, if there’s one thing I want you to take away from these tips is to take time for yourself. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, professors or TAs when you need help. My transition into online learning has definitely been very interesting and at times stressful, but one thing that makes me feel at ease is that all of us are going through it together! Good luck golden hawks; you’ve got this!