Zoom fatigue is alive on MU’s campus

Zoom fatigue, the exhaustion we feel after communicating with people virtually for hours, is a beatable, common side effect of online school.

MU freshman Shiloh Ehlert was not one to miss assignments — until she began taking her classes primarily on Zoom. “When I’m in-[person], I feel more accountability to get my work done,” Ehlert said. “But on Zoom I can easily slide it off my plate.” COVID-19 has drastically changed education, with Zoom classes being a symbol of the pandemic. According to The Harvard Business Review, people have found themselves more exhausted at the end of a workday, and Google searches for the term “Zoom fatigue” have increased since the lockdowns in March. Zoom fatigue, while a fairly new term, is quite explainable and can be combatable. MU freshman Katie Gray has tried to maintain in-person interactions despite the majority of her classes being online.
“I’ve been trying to actually meet the people in my classes and make study groups so we can meet in person,” Gray said. “I make sure to go outside a few times a day and I go running with friends, which helps.” According to TED, Zoom fatigue happens for a few reasons, one being that when communicating digitally, we miss non-verbal cues we would automatically process in-person. Over Zoom, our brains have to work harder to pick up on those signals, which makes us exhausted faster. “I’ll get headaches from staring at [my] computer screen for a long time,” Ehlert said. “[I’ll] have my [Zoom] class for two or three hours and then [I] have a couple more hours of staring at [my] screen trying to do homework.” Despite Zoom creating more mental exhaustion, there are several ways to combat Zoom fatigue. One way to avoid Zoom burnout is to avoid multitasking while on a call. According to a Stanford News article, heavy multitaskers don’t remember things as well, so it’s probably for the best if you set aside Twitter while on your calculus call. Another helpful tip from Harvard Business Review is to build breaks into your schedule. Leaving 25 to 50 minutes between calls allows for there to be a designated spot in the day to get up and move around, much like what Gray does to refresh her brain. “Something that’s getting me through is the hope that it’ll be different next semester,” Gray said. “[Hopefully] we can actually be in class [then]. That’s what getting me through [this].”

Edited by Lucy Caile|lcaile@themaneater.com

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