I don't know about you, but lately, I've been feeling drained from so much time on zoom.
These days, it feels like many of us are living our whole lives over zoom or other video conferencing apps. While we are stuck at home, waiting out the coronavirus epidemic, both our work and play has moved onto screens. We spend our weekdays using zoom for work meetings, often in between other types of work on our computers. Then we continue to live on our screens on nights and weekends. The unwind time once reserved for in-person dinners, get-togethers, and events are now being spent connecting with loved ones, and the broader world through screens.
While there is something incredible about this technology and the ability to stay connected throughout this challenging period of isolation, we shouldn't ignore the effects of this drastic change on us.
Zoom exhaustion is real. The condition, also called zoom fatigue, takes place after too much time video conferencing. It can make a significant impact on your overall health, witheffects such as eye strain, fatigue, focus discomfort, sedentary behavior, body pains, headaches, difficulty sleeping, and a feeling of being emotionally detached from whatever is happening on the screen.
I know I've been experiencing this frequently. I'm used to doing my writing work from home. Suddenly I'm shifting my social life and my mindfulness and compassion teaching to zoom as well. It takes a big toll on my ability to stay focused and present in the moment.
But there are also ways to help combat zoom fatigue - and cannabis and mindfulness are two powerful tools we can use for this purpose. I know they’ve been helping me tremendously.
Read on for tips on how to mindfully work with your own zoom fatigue - and find healing and grounding between your trips to the screen.
5 Tips for Easing Zoom Fatigue with Mindfulness and Cannabis
1. Ease Anxiety and Pain with CBD and Terpenes
Zoom fatigue can lead to a lot of stress - as well as pain throughout the body. When we spend all day on screens, our bodies start to feel the strain on our eyes and the impact of sitting in one position on our bodies. Headaches, eye tension, and body aches start to emerge. This sense of pain and irritation is only compounded by the unique social stress of being on zoom. After all, we are used to reading and reacting to social cues from a wide range of in-person body movements and expressions. On zoom, we just have a small video of someone's face - and we also have the weird experience of seeing ourselves talking on video - which can create a lot of self-consciousness. The combined stress can get to anyone.
One easy way I offset this stress and pain myself is to use CBD and terpenes throughout my day.
CBD, a cannabinoid in cannabis, can make a big difference when it comes to relieving bothstress andpain. It can boost serotonin levels, much like an antidepressant would- which can alleviate both symptoms. One study has shown that CBD helps withsocial anxiety- something we might experience as we try to navigate the new social experience of zoom.
Many terpenes (the chemicals responsible for flavor and aroma in cannabis) can also help with stress and pain. For example, terpenes likelinalool andmyrcene are known for their calming effects.Beta-caryophyllene, another relaxing terpene, can also relieve pain. Andlimonene andalpha-pinene are uplifting and focusing terpenes, which can boost mood and help you feel down or lack focus.
If you need a little help maintaining your calm and feeling good throughout your zoom-packed day, a cannabis product high in CBD and these calming terpenes could be the perfect supplement.
2. Settle and Ground Before You Zoom
How you go into a zoom session can also make a big difference in how the session goes. I like to start by setting up my space early so that I feel at ease, both physically and socially, with my space and how I feel in it. Is your body comfortable sitting for a long time? Are you worried about something you don't want people to see in your background? Take a little time to arrange yourself.
Then, when you have a comfortable seat, check-in with yourself before you start your call. Take a few deep breaths and tune into your internal space. How does your body feel right now? How are you feeling emotionally? Notice what's happening for you and offer yourself a little loving attention. You might give yourself a little hug or place your hand on your heart. Remind yourself that it's OK to feel, however, you are feeling right now.
3. Practice Full Attention on Zoom
Once you get onto zoom, practice being there fully. Those are other humans on the other side of the screen, so spend time at the beginning of the meeting taking in each person and intentionally feeling into their presence. Then, leave your video on, so you aren't tempted to space out and do other things. It can help to make sure zoom is on full screen, so you don't see anything else on your computer. Resist the temptation to multi-task and do other things while you zoom. It can really add to the sense of detachment around zoom sessions.
I like to think of this as a practice to hone my ability to stay focused and present with people through virtual means. You can also help sharpen your focus when you're not on zoom through practices like meditation.
4. Take Mindful Breaks Between Zoom Sessions
Making sure to take breaks between your zoom sessions is extremely important to maintaining robust mental health throughout your day. There is nothing more likely to produce zoom fatigue than spending 8 hours on zoom every day without interruptions. Make sure to schedule at least 10 minutes between zoom sessions, and make use of those breaks by getting away from screens and grounded in your body.
Here are a few mindful activities I do on my short breaks:
- Take a short walk
- Have a cannabis break
- Stretch and shake out tightness in the body
- Make some tea
- Take a five-minute meditation break
- Do a body scan (move attention slowly through the body, from toes to up to head, noticing how you feel)
- Go outside and notice the sounds and sights
5. Ground After Zoom with Meditation and Movement
Finally, it's essential to prioritize screen-free time to ground and rejuvenate when you are done with your day of zooming. The two main ways I've been doing this is meditation and movement. Both of these options help to give us time away from the screen and can aid with relaxation and grounding. Studies on meditation have found meditation canreduce anxiety and help build resilience to it, even helping to lower stressafter only one session.
Start a regular meditation practice either before or after your day of zooming, and notice how it impacts your day. Body oriented forms of meditation like body scans, yoga, or walking meditations may be especially helpful since we are doing so much sitting on zoom already. And the movement is another great way to ground when we aren't on zoom.
As it turns out, movement and exercise can also help withstress and the pain from being otherwise sedentary. So whether you are doing movement-oriented meditations or just moving - find a physical activity you can do regularly and feel good about. Reconnecting to your own physical body is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself in these challenging times.