Zoom Fatigue is Real

Tips for Managing Zoom

Let’s be present to absence, without becoming absent to presence.

This newsletter can be used on its own or as an accompaniment to the professional learning - "Zoom Fatigue is Real." We hope that it offers you some ideas to emotional manage zoom and your use of it! Below are thoughts to consider and some suggested strategies to make the most of zoom without overwhelming yourself and others.
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Virtual Interactions (like Zoom) Can Be Hard On the Brain

As human beings:

  • The brain derives a lot of meaning from non-verbal cues

    • Facial expressions

    • Hand gestures

  • Prolonged eye contact, which is now the strongest facial cue, if held too long

    • Can feel threatening

    • Or overly intimate

    • We are also not used to seeing ourselves talking onscreen!

  • Multi-person screens can challenge the brains central vision so that no one comes through meaningfully elevating a sense of:

    • Continuous partial attention

    • Becoming less collaborative

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Tips for Managing Zoom as a Department, Campus, or Team

Create Agreements for Clear Expectations and to Build Trust

  • Offer turning on the camera as optional

  • Choose an avatar that feels good to you if you turn off your camera

  • Choose a background that is school appropriate

  • Pick a place in your house you feel comfortable others seeing (and your family does too)

  • Use the chat feature thoughtfully

  • Always give a heads up if you are recording the zoom or downloading chat notes

  • Add in your preferred pronouns to your name

  • Mute yourself when you are not speaking so others can hear well

  • If possible consider ways to provide turn-taking for people to share

  • Consider practices for checking into people’s well being

  • Encourage note-taking to increase focus & retention

Remember to Always Use the Zoom Educator Safety Protocols

There have been instances locally and nationally of "zoom-bombing". Please make sure that you enable the educator security measures when hosting a Zoom gathering. These include:


1) Utilize the waiting room

2) Set a password for your meeting

3) Know your participant controls in case you need to remove a participant quickly

Recognize Not Every Call Needs to Be a Video Call

  • Embrace phone calls (for movement, enjoy a “walk & talk”)

  • Consider other forms of communication: text, email, group chat

  • What could be an email?

  • What could be an infographic?

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Ways to Manage Zoom to Find Balance and Connection

Establish Protocols for Multi-person Meetings

  • Leverage the chat for sharing less-pressing thoughts or relevant links (like agendas)

  • Consider the “thumbs up” reaction to signal agreement with the conversation

  • Create new customs like a metaphorical talking stick

  • Use the “breakout room” to create smaller work/chat groups

  • Use "share screen" when you feel like a visual is important in a meeting

Take a few moments before stepping into a meeting to settle and ground your attention

A few deep breaths, making yourself comfortable, and feeling your feet on the floor can go along way. If you are open to mindfulness, check out Stop, Breath, and Think which is a app free for educators. https://www.stopbreathethink.com/educators/


You can also check out the Mindful Minutes by our AISD SEL Mindfulness Specialist, James Butler and some other special AISD rock stars - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLk8vStkqPsIPKQv5a7w_dkyy86e4PfF7K

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Take time to truly greet whomever is in the room with your full attention (if the group is not too big)

  • Offer your attention to each face that appears

  • Give yourself an opportunity to feel what it feels like to be in the presence of another in this moment

Choose “Speaker View.”

  • One person speaking has more of your attention

  • Mimics the natural focus of attention in a meeting at a conference table.

  • Tracking a gallery array of people can be challenging & exhausting.

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Resist the Urge to Multi-task

  • Avoid putting additional effort into attending to anything else

  • Allow your attention to rest lightly and supportively to what or who is in front of you

  • Periodically ease up your focus to gaze out your window, sip water, stretch

  • Take paper-pen notes to help you attend to what’s being shared

  • Remember that all chat notes (even if they are to individuals and say private) can be downloaded and saved by the Zoom host

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Try to take measured breaks between sessions.

  • Avoid scheduling meetings back to back. Give your brain a chance to switch gears.

  • Take a break away from a screen between meetings

  • Get fresh air, a glass of water, use the restroom, do jumping jacks or take a 10-min brisk walk

  • Create a list of activities that might restore and refresh you before, during and after meetings.

  • Have a bottle of water nearby to help with my focus and hydration.

  • Have a snack to get some glucose to your brain!

Remind yourself periodically this is a new place

These are unprecedented times. Be mindful of holding on to that part of your awareness that helps you notice the positives or benefits. Imagine life in a pandemic without Facetime, Zoom, Skype, etc. Video-call interfacing allows us to:

  • Maintain long-distance relationships

  • Connect workrooms remotely

  • Foster some sense of togetherness

AISD SEL Department

This resource was crafted by Theresa Garcia of the SEL Department. For more resources, please check out our SEL at Home resource page located at: https://sites.google.com/austinisd.org/sel-at-home/

Thank you for all you do for your students, each other, and our community. Please reach out to your SEL Specialist if you have an idea/suggestion/question we can help with.