What!! Another two weeks of working from home?! No, the Governor has not lost his mind…but working from home might make you wonder if you are losing yours!
Certainly we have all learned new ways of doing things, not the least of which is video conferencing. I spent last week on a 2 ½-day video conference, which got to be tiring, even with breaks! My eyes were tired, my brain was tired, my whole body was tired from sitting and looking at a screen for hours on end...even though I have a good office chair.
An article published on Axios.com, called “Another Pandemic Woe: Zoom Fatigue,” explains why this is happening. Videoconferencing is being used for everything now, and not just for business. It is also being used for school, for gatherings of family and friends, for religious services…yes, for every aspect of our lives, when we would normally be together. Our normal has changed dramatically, and it is wearing. The settings where you Zoom from may be the same; there’s no changing of location that can be refreshing. And yes, sitting, sitting, sitting. Maybe you’re having to use your dining room as your office now..those chairs weren’t made for long-term comfort and support!
Then there are other factors, which can put pressure on us: how do I look without having had a haircut in weeks? What will people think about my house? I feel like I’m constantly staring at people, which I was brought up to believe is impolite.
Finally, it’s exhausting…and everything is exhausting right now. There are so many uncertainties still. Each conference can be a reminder that life has changed so much, and it is so unknown what life will be like in the next few weeks, months, years.
So how to care for myself through this time? The article “Zoom fatigue: Don’t let Video Meetings Zap your energy” from psychologytoday.com offers these hints:
Use your phone, not your computer, to call into some of your meetings. It can be less stressful when you “show up” in voice only. When we’re not chained into posing as a “living headshot,” we can move around and step onto our porch or sit outside in the sunshine. How many of us tend to doodle at meetings? Stare out the window? Make mental to-do lists or grocery lists? When we’re a face on a screen, it’s hard to get away with a little inattention. Cut yourself some slack and “phone it in” next time. Your overstrained eyes and the muscles you use for that “attentive meeting participant face” will thank you.
Don’t schedule back-to-back meetings. Give your brain a chance to switch gears between meetings.
Take a break away from the screen between meetings and get fresh air, a glass of water, or do some jumping jacks or a quick 10-minute brisk walk—inside or marching in place.
When you’re tuning in to a business meeting, use your phone and focus on listening and taking paper-and-pen notes rather than doing “double screen duty,” when you can. Taking notes by hand has been shown to increase retention in the classroom, so take a lesson from this and focus on what is being said. Multiple video conferences in one day tend to blur into one another, just as the days do. By focusing on what is happening and writing legible notes as you go, you’ll be able to stay focused and retain what is being shared.
Make sure that your “home office” feels different from your “living area,” even if it’s the same space. Change the lighting when you go “off-the-clock” and change the playlist and ditch the coffee mug from your desk. When you feel you’re working 24/7 and are unable to leave the office to see friends, having tricks to help you feel that there’s a boundary between work and play can be important.”
I hope this information has helped. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
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