Students this semester have found themselves listening to their lectures and attending meetings through Zoom. Hours spent in front of a screen are hard enough, but why does it feel so draining?
It is no wonder we keep hearing the term “Zoom fatigue” thrown around to describe a lethargic feeling that comes from being engaged in so many video calls and meetings each day. But what exactly is the cause, and why are so many of us experiencing it?
Firstly, on a video call such as Zoom, we are missing out on many non-verbal cues of communication. These expressions that convey each person’s emotions, gestures and attitude are that much harder to identify on a call, where numerous people are crammed into one screen. The effort it takes to grasp this information from a small box on a screen, a chat box and faceless voices is so much more than the effort it would take in person. In addition, these cues keep interactions entertaining and easy to follow. Now, relying on the tools of a video call in place of this takes a toll on our energy levels and our attention spans. To combat this, put your camera on if you have trouble paying attention, as it will enable you to feel more “present.”
Secondly, there is a major issue in feeling that you are truly “done” with classes at the end of the day or during breaks. When attending in person, it is much easier to relax between classes, but many now feel like they have round-the-clock schoolwork.
To combat this, try and do your work at one place in your house, such as a dining table. This allows you to be able to leave that headspace when you leave that room.
Additionally, the lack of side conversations, “water cooler” moments and casual conversation with one's classmates is contributing heavily to the feelings of fatigue with online courses and lectures. The small acts of grabbing a coffee with a classmate before class, meeting new friends in the lecture hall and even speaking with classmates during breaks allows one to feel connected to the community of the class, refresh one's mind and thus be much more engaged and ready to take in information.
To aid in this matter, if you already know someone who is in the class, try to virtually study with them for exams, catch up with them over phone calls and be open to even connecting with new people you may meet through group projects.
Another factor is the lack of walking around and getting fresh air between classes. This allows for a clearing of the mind and the opportunity to get some physical movement into one's day. Without this, one finds themselves feeling lethargic and unable to fully concentrate, contributing to the “zoom fatigue.” In order to supplement the act of walking to different classes on campus, try to take a few walks throughout the day. The act of changing your surroundings for a few minutes, as well as being outside, may help you feel fresh and ready for your next zoom lecture.
Yes, Zoom fatigue can be real and very taxing on one's abilities to concentrate and complete all that needs to be done. Overall, having a loose schedule around your day may help you feel more alert and can aid you in time management as well. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone in your struggles, and that while you may be experiencing Zoom fatigue for much of the day, it is an accomplishment to be working so hard and putting in the efforts of classes.
Good job for making the most of this semester, TXADPR! Do you have any suggestions for combating Zoom fatigue? Let us know!