Dr. Annemarie Lombard, the Founder, CEO and Thought Leader of Sensory Intelligence Consulting discusses how to prevent Zoom fatigue caused by the many Zoom meetings we’ve all had to endure while remote working during the lockdown period of COVID19 and beyond, as this has now become, and will increasingly become the new normal for many individuals. She shares some helpful self-care tips that may help you from becoming a Zoombie (Zoom zombie).
Touch is our primary social sense and we rely a lot on that connection with others, it’s the way that we socialise, and it makes us feel nurtured, safe and secure. We’ve all had to develop effective virtual communication skills in the current online space of Zoom meetings because we’ve become sensory-deprived, particularly from a “touch” perspective, so.
However, there are other senses that need a little help too, so how can you give your senses a break during times where you’re in and out of virtual meetings? Here are a few tips for online meetings that’ll help prevent Zoom fatigue:
Take movement breaks
Sitting is the new smoking, we need to take movement breaks as much as you possibly can. Taking regular movement breaks from your virtual meetings helps you to reset, recharge and regulate your brain so you can bring your attention back to base.
Your water bottle is your best friend, so remember to fill it up and put it right next to your desk. Drinking water keeps your brain hydrated, not only that but your bladder becomes full so you’re forced to take more frequent bathroom breaks and move around.
Schedule breaks in between online meetings
Have a break between meetings and keep them as short as possible. Zoom is great, but try and change things up if you can, pick up the phone and make a call instead, or switch off your camera so you have the opportunity to look away from your computer screen or shift your gaze.
Take a good hard look at your visual and auditory tools
Try to order your space so that your visual and auditory input isn’t overloaded. Choose the right pair of earphones or headset for you, some people like to have earbuds that fit right in the ear, others prefer to have headsets that fit outside the ear, then there are those that prefer no headset at all. Choose what works for you.
Bluetooth headsets are yet another great idea as they allow you to move around freely during online meetings, allowing for effective virtual communication skills to be expressed more easily. Moving while talking helps you to actually reactivate your brain’s energy and stimulate your alertness so you sound engaging.
Make sure your space is distraction-free. The brain has to give attention to everything that you see and hear around you, so by creating less distractions, you remove the background noise. Declutter your desktop so it doesn’t constantly have to navigate through all the clutter as it puts more strain on your visual pathways.
Choose a darker background or dim your screen later in the evening to calm the brain, whereas light backgrounds alert the brain. Blue-block glasses may also be something to consider to alleviate eye-strain.
Take care of yourself
Don’t work 12 hours a day in front of your computer and use intermittent postures when working at your desk. Standing desks are helpful in that way as they allow you to switch things up. As for the visual side of things, natural light is very important, if natural light is limited, use correct lighting because it’s going to be easier on your eyes.
Having a variety of working areas can also be great because it shifts your gaze, giving you a change in scenery. Move away from your screen and desk and do the things you like doing. When you’re cooped up behind a computer screen all day, your mental health is seriously at risk, so good and proper sleep becomes vital to preventing the dreaded Zoom fatigue.
Now this may not seem like an obvious tip for effective online meetings, and we’ve all heard it before, but try not to be on your phone or laptop an hour before you go to bed as the blue light from the screen increases the neuron activity in the brain which isn’t conducive of good sleep. When you’re winding down and getting ready for bed, choose to read a book instead.
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