Real Talk

Zoom Fatigue Is Setting In. Now What?

“Let’s Zoom every day this week.”

“Share your favorite recipe and email it to 20 other people.”

“Join us and play online bingo with your fellow coworkers.”

Is anyone else tired of receiving countless bids for connection at all hours of the day?

Please, someone else say, “yes”.

I have begun to feel like I may be the only person who isn’t trying to call up all her ex-boyfriends, reach out to obscure relatives and email every contact I have asking them to mail me a puzzle.

The reality is, everyone handles times of crisis and the fear of the unknown in different ways. Some people go into a state of panic and buy all the toilet paper, while others can’t manage to be alone and turn to social media like its the bible on Easter Sunday. Whether it is the result of being an introvert versus extrovert or the pandemic has affected your life drastically (illness, job loss, financial woes)…it’s going to all look different.

I stand by and respected all of it, because everything has its unique place and benefit. We have our own way of handling things, and that should be supported. And yet, somehow, not wanting to uproot my daily life and routine to “connect” with everyone I know seems to come across insensitive, rude and dare I say, wrong.

I reached a point last week after my 17th Facetime/Zoom/phone call and decided this was enough. The truth is, suddenly “connecting” with everyone was actually detracting from my work, my creativity, my life. I had to ask myself: Is this adding value to my life? And the answer in many cases was no.

Seeing my friend’s and families’ faces, no matter how much I loved them, wasn’t resolving anything, it wasn’t necessarily helping. I can be a widely social creature, I love human connection probably more than most things in life. And yet, this whole chatting via video had started to feel more like how I imagine a guy feels having sex with three condoms on: it’s happening but you can’t actually feel anything. So is it really worth it?

This is yes, a strange time, but, is it a reason to let go of every goal and mission you have to stare at a screen with your friend’s faces on it and talk about the same five things over and over. No.

I think we so often distract ourselves by turning to other people, media, or external sources that we have no idea what is happening inside of us. Data over recent years have confirmed that people are more disconnected than ever, and I stop to wonder if the root of that disconnection is actually in ourselves. When you are disconnected from yourself, how could you ever expect to connect with someone else? That would be like hooking a fish but having no one there to hold the poll and real them in.

Why does this happen? Well, so much of this seems to be rooted in the need for protection, to protect yourself from the true emotion that lies inside of you, whatever that may be. You pull out your phone to distract you from feeling lonely, you turn on Netflix to distract you from feeling scared, you call a friend for the 10th time that day to protect you from facing the reality that you don’t know what the future will bring. You are protecting yourself, and that is a natural thing to do. There are other ways though. Because in all of these efforts to protect yourself, you disconnect from the most valuable thing you can ever hold: yourself.

Use this time to tune into what you want.

Use this time to create something magical within yourself.

Use this time to reconnect with who you are.

You may quickly realize there is an incredible, funny and smart person already at home waiting to spend time with you.

Here is a quick list of things you can do with yourself before you reach for that phone again:

  1. Take yourself on a fitness party. I love to skateboard and find getting out on a desert sidewalk or pathway to cruise around is beyond enjoyable.
  2. Put together a childhood night. Watch your favorite movie as a little kid and eat your favorite kid snacks. I loved Poptarts growing up and treated myself to one while watching The Aristocats.
  3. Journal. I know…everyone says this, but try out Morning Pages from The Artists Way. Write stream fo conscious every morning for three pages. You will be surprised to find what connection you create with yourself after doing this for a week or two.
  4. Wear whatever YOU want. I am sure you remember dressing yourself as a kid, or the moving Big Daddy where Frankenstein wears rain boots in the summer…put on your favorite clothes and reconnect with the silly creative side of yourself.
  5. Write a letter to yourself for once things open up again. What do you want to have done during this time, what do you wish you could do more of. What has this time taught you and what do you appreciate now more than ever?

This time can either be wasted away wishing it would end, or it can become a gift for you to spend time with yourself. The choice is yours.

The next time you panic and feel the need to “connect” with someone, set up a call with yourself. Connect more with you, because chances are, that’s something far more beneficial in the long term.

This article first appeared on Medium.

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