With almost half a semester of remote learning under our belts, while sometimes it feels like we have the hang of it, there are times where it might feel like we are still in the first week. Many of us have so many unknowns in our lives. We may be experiencing uncertainty about our future jobs, academic plans or roommates. We may be feeling the weight of the expectations we put on ourselves or from others. Social media and the news can be some of the distractions we might run to.

Due to all of these challenges we may be experiencing in this season, staring at our laptops to do schoolwork is all the more unappealing. You may feel like you are just trying to survive on Zoom rather than thrive. To help combat Zoom fatigue and to help you thrive under the current circumstances, here are some helpful tips to stay engaged and enjoy this remote learning experience.

Find Your Spot

If you are scrambling to find a quiet spot before getting on Zoom, this can increase stress as you begin your class. Try to stick with the same spot all week. Doing so will help you begin to associate the same spot with focusing and working. Rather than going on Zoom in your bed, try sitting at a table. It can be tempting to zone out while on Zoom when you are too comfortable! Get your setup ready the night before to ensure a smooth entry into classes! Check out this post for more tips on setting up your Zoom workspace.

Fight the Fatigue

According to research, people tend to spend time staring at their own face when they’re on a videoconference, which can contribute to fatigue. During this pandemic, the term “Zoom fatigue” has become a reality for many of us. In order to fight the fatigue, one strategy that might help you is hiding your own face during a Zoom call. Just click the three little dots on your picture, then click “Hide Self View.” Hiding your own face on a Zoom call helps reduce anxiety and distraction about what you look like.

Stay Hydrated

Have water near you! Keep a full water bottle (and coffee or tea, too!) to keep you hydrated.

Limit Your Distractions

It can be really easy to just turn off your laptop camera and scroll on your phone during class. If you’re easily distracted on Zoom, try putting your phone in another room or turn on the “Do Not Disturb” setting while you are in class. You will be surprised how much easier it is to pay attention and actually retain the information from the lecture.

Stay on Schedule

Link your class times to your phone’s calendar and get a reminder ten minutes before class begins. This will help alleviate rushing to login and give you time to get your water and find your spot without any added anxiety.

Take Screen Breaks

Eye-strain is real when staring at a screen all day. Pause for screen breaks wherever and whenever possible - check out these well-being screen break ideas for inspiration!

Be Encouraged: Remember these Truths

While some of these practical tips may be helpful, you might be struggling with motivation and endurance to keep going. It may feel like no matter how structured or responsible you are, it feels like you are still behind. Here are some tips to help you reframe your mindset and rebuke that inner critic.

  • Find your “Why.” What is the reason for this assignment? Just to check it off the list or to grow your knowledge? Some assignments are the former, some the latter.
  • Remember you are loved. There is nothing you can do to earn the love of God, and you also can’t do anything to lose it. You are secured a seat at the Lord’s table, no grade, accomplishment or status symbol can change that.
  • Have grace with yourself! Nobody is as critical of you as you are. Sometimes the narrative we tell ourselves is very discouraging and we may not even realize it, which can lead to low self-esteem and feeling sluggish. Create a new narrative and replace your inner critic with the gracious and loving voice of our Father.

Kate Marie Fitzpatrick and Kate Faulkner are Student Peer Wellness Ambassadors in the Office of Student Wellness.