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How to Combat "Zoom" Fatigue

 As we continue to adjust to a new world of online learning, disconnected social lives, increased work hours, financial stress, and family obligations you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, or having difficulty concentrating.

You could experience:

  • Emotional Exhaustion such as increased anxiety, stress, nervousness, depression, increased negative thinking, apathy, increased anger, and feeling on edge.
  • Social Exhaustion -  such as an overwhelming feeling to attend events or gatherings online, strategizing how to see friends or family safely, or spending too much time on social media draining your eyes and emotional energy. 
  • Physical Exhaustion - sitting at your computer all day can lead to aching backs, drowsiness during the day, eye strain, and headaches. 

Guess what? You aren't alone - and there's a name for those feelings which is known as "zoom fatigue." The intense pressure to feel virtually connected to our academics, friends, and families can take a toll on us internally and externally.

What to do? We have compiled some best practices to help you adjust to learning online via zoom or other platforms you may be using. 

  • Reduce onscreen stimuli.
    • During LIVE classes try switching to speaker view only to give your brain a break from visual stimuli.
    • Have windows on your computer open only on the subject you are focusing on. This means no social media, email, phone for texting, chat (e.g. slack, twitch, teams) should be open while studying or attending live classes. 
  • Avoid multitasking - it doesn't work!
    • Did you know multitasking doesn't work?! According to the Harvard Business Review   and Stanford University, when your brain switches between multiple tasks turning  your brain on and off  for different types of work , you could actually be losing up to 40%  of your productive time and impacts your memory. 
    • Try scheduling shorter amounts of time for each subject or activity, take a break, or switch to a new activity or subject. 
  • Build in Breaks.
    • A 5-minute break away from technology can help combat fatigue.
    • When possible, turn off your phone and computer at least 30 minutes to an hour before bed to ensure a better night sleep.
  • Try taking notes paper-and-pen style.
    • If you are struggling with taking notes on the computer off a lecture or powerpoint - try actually writing them down "the old-fashioned way". It's possible this could help with knowledge retention and engage you more in the content. 
  • If possible, have your “home office” feel different than your “living area.”
    • It can be tricky to do this depending on your home/school environment. If possible, try and set up a small space where you can let your brain do to the work (maybe look into noise canceling headphones).
    • It may be helpful to change up the lighting if you can, try to sit at somewhere that is not your bed (if possible), and listen to music that allows you to focus or feel calm. 
  • Establish a routine that includes "no online" time.
    • Self-care is essential. Ensure to schedule disconnection time from the computer, gaming systems, and your phone to be mindful and reconnect with the present DAILY. 
    • Prioritize time alone to connect with yourself but also engage face-to-face with those you are living with.



If you are feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to turn next check out the Student Resources & Support page  or connect with the Cougar Care Network for additional support and resources. It's completely normal to feel stretched and stressed during this time - we all are!