Six mindful ways to help combat ‘zoom fatigue’
Mindfulness is a technique you can learn which involves making a special effort to notice what’s happening in the present moment (in your mind, body and surroundings) – without judging anything. It has roots in Buddhism and meditation, but you don’t have to be spiritual, or have any particular beliefs, to try it.
It aims to help you:
- become more self-aware
- feel calmer and less stressed
- feel more able to choose how to respond to your thoughts and feelings
- cope with difficult or unhelpful thoughts
- be kinder towards yourself.
As we continue working and communicating with our new virtual communities, Steven Hickman from the Centre for Mindful self compassion recommends six ways to be more mindful when video conferencing to help reduce tiredness.
1. Take a few moments before clicking ‘Start’ to settle and ground your attention.
Take a few breaths, feel your body on the chair, notice whatever is present in your mind and allow yourself to arrive fully to the moment at hand. If you’re feeling unsettled or preoccupied, you might place your hand on your heart in a supportive and comforting way as if to say ‘I’m here for you. It’s ok to feel how you feel at this moment’.
2. Take the time to truly greet whoever is on the conference call with your full attention.
Offer your attention to each face that appears (if the group is not too big). Give yourself an opportunity to feel what it feels like to be in the presence of another person.
3. Choose ‘speaker view’.
In Zoom, one can choose Speaker View or Gallery View, Speaker View is perhaps more preferable as the person who is speaking has more attention and the others are more peripheral. This seems to be more like sitting around a conference table where we are aware of everyone there but we direct our attention primarily to whoever is speaking. Tracking an array of 24 (or more) faces on the screen can be a challenge!
This is obviously down to personal preference but it is something that may add a sense of professionalism to work calls.
4. Resist the urge to multitask.
There are a number of advantages to video conferencing, from having a great excuse if you are late (connection was bad) to being in a meeting with your cat on your lap. However, don’t be tempted to multi-task because it can be tiring and distracting, putting additional effort into other activities as well as the meeting you are attending.
5. Try to take measured breaks between sessions.
Don’t schedule back-to-back meetings. Give your brain a chance to switch gears between meetings. Take a refreshing pause. Move from your chair, do some gentle stretching or open a window and get some fresh air. Make sure you take a refreshing pause.
6. And finally, remind yourself periodically that this is a new place
Many of us are new to video conferencing technology. There are clear benefits to online communication and learning how we can assimilate it into a full spectrum of interpersonal experiences is a useful skill in the long-term. It is a new way of communication that will probably stay with us.