Folks, we’ve been in the pandemic for a year. We’re not just tired, we’re Zoom fatigued. How do we connect with others and get support for our practice when our eyes and our nervous systems are fried from a day filled with Zoom meetings?
A recent Stanford University study elucidates the factors that contribute to Zoom fatigue. I’d like to explore how we can creatively address these factors as we engage in Creative Process. Quotes are from the original article:
1)”Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact is highly intense.“
Play with leaving your Zoom in grid view and creating more distance between you and your screen- there isn’t a lot of need to access the keyboard in this process, especially if you print out the source sheet before the session. You may want to switch back to speaker view for the last step of the process in which some participants show their art pieces, but you’ll then be looking at art rather than holding eye contact through Zoom. Have materials on hand and try doodling throughout the session or close your eyes periodically- this will give your eyes a break from the screen. Also, during the artmaking and reflective writing practices, we naturally have screen breaks while still feeling connected to the group.
2) “Seeing yourself during video chats constantly in real-time is fatiguing.“
Professor Jeremy Bailenson (lead researcher on the Stanford study) suggests utilizing the “hide self view” feature.
3) “Video chats dramatically reduce our usual mobility.“
Get up, stretch, move around, throughout the session. Think about changing positions or standing for art making.
4) “In video chats, we have to work harder to send and receive signals.”
When we communicate, we naturally focus on how others are reacting to what we’ve said. On Zoom, it’s harder to read these reactions. The Jewish Studio Process “no comment” rule encourages us to focus less on the reactions of others and trust that the group is witnessing what we’ve said in a compassionate, non-judgemental way.
I invite you to play with these suggestions for mitigating Zoom fatigues during the Jewish Studio Process, and I’d love to hear what works for you.
There may also be times when one more Zoom activity really is too much, and reading a book or taking a walk is a better choice. Stanford also devised the Zoom exhaustion and fatigue scale, which invites you to reflect on how you feel after the Zoom session- if you tend to be more exhausted, emotionally drained, moody, or irritable, or have eye irritation or blurry vision after the session, it may be time to step back from the group Zoom practice for awhile.