I have it, and you have it — and no, it’s not COVID-19 — it’s our new friend, Zoom fatigue. We’re only two weeks into the semester, and one thing has become clear as day: Zoom fatigue is brutal. With nearly all aspects of our college lives taking place via Zoom, our schedules are packed with hours of video calls. If you feel absolutely destroyed and mentally drained by the end of the day, know that it’s OK and you’re not alone. While it’s important to stay on top of all your virtual meetings, recharging your internal Zoom battery is just as critical. With that, here are some unconventional ways you can combat Zoom fatigue.
Lie on the floor
After hours of Zoom meetings, there’s only one thing I want to do: nothing. Spending the entire day parked in front of Zoom can leave your body feeling all sorts of achy — especially your back. So let gravity do its thing and become one with the floor. Find a nice spot of hardwood (or carpet) and lie flat on your back. Let your mind go blank for a few minutes and give your spine and neck a well-deserved break from keeping you upright all day.
Wash the dishes
I know what you’re thinking: How could doing the dishes possibly make me feel better? Just hear me out — because most of us are home all day anyway, awkward gaps of time between Zoom calls are perfect for getting miscellaneous chores done. Washing the dishes both serves as a break from all the screen time and minimizes the amount of housework you have to do later. It’s a win-win situation. If you’re feeling particularly anxious to move around, tidy up your workspace or vacuum the floors. Maintaining a clean work environment can do wonders for our productivity and stress levels.
Wear a face mask during lecture
Hours of screen time can leave our faces feeling tight and tired. So if you need an instant refresher during a long Zoom session, put on a face mask. No, not the kind we’ve become so familiar with over the past few months, but a hydrating sheet mask for skin care. The moisturizing nature of sheet masks will leave your face feeling soft, hydrated and much more alert. Just be sure to turn your camera off for this one — you don’t want to accidentally scare anyone.
Give your pet a bath
I don’t know about you, but I’m all smiles whenever I give my dog a bath. Even with bubbles and water everywhere, we always have a fun time. After so much screen time, spending some quality time splashing around with your furry friend could be just the remedy you need.
Listen to the sound of rain
The sound of rainfall, similar to the sound of waves lapping on a beach, is a type of pink noise. Pink noise tends to have a calming effect on the body, which is perfect for de-stressing. Instead of playing your favorite playlist, find a playlist of rain sounds and give it a listen.
Scream into your pillow
If all else fails, this is a quick and easy remedy. Just grab the nearest pillow, bury your face in it and let out all the rage and exhaustion in one big scream. Simple and surprisingly cathartic, this method will definitely make you feel better. Plus, with a pillow muffling the sounds of your distress, you won’t have to worry (too much) about startling others. The key here is to just let it all out — it’s been a long day, and you deserve it.
In the absence of body language, nonverbal cues of communication and the comforting sense of togetherness that comes with in-person classes, our brains have been working overtime to compensate during Zoom calls. So forgive yourself if a full day of school this semester is more tiring than before. Whether you do chores or do nothing, relax to the sound of rain or scream into the abyss, there are numerous ways to give yourself a Zoom-free break. Regardless of which you choose, just remember to breathe, take time away from your devices and know that everything will be OK.