Mental Health Minute

May 15, 2020

From Kids to Adults... Why is Remote Learning and Working so Exhausting?

How to Deal With Video Calls, Zoom Fatigue and Remote Relationships

Read the full article from GOOP HERE

You may have noticed: There is a special kind of tiredness that comes from a day of Zoom calls, despite the fact that they can take place without you ever leaving your couch (or your sweats). More strangely, this fatigue can hit even after meetings with coworkers you love and friends you miss very much.

Part of that feeling is explained by factors we can easily identify: Research tells us that videoconferencing invites cognitive overload from the strain of trying to read people through a flat grid of their faces. We allow colleagues to schedule too many of them too close together. And it’s freaking weird—and deeply absorbing and distracting—to be presented with the reality of your own face while you’re talking to other people.

But other parts are more diffuse; they are reasons that stem from the requirements of our present reality. Pretending to be energized by a conversation you had hunched over your laptop that you might normally have had on a laughter-fueled walk to get coffee is exhausting. Knowing that a screen is the closest you’ll get to someone you care about for a while is exhausting. Engaging in the denial of those cumulative losses—which can be easy to do, when the presence of someone is so closely simulated—is exhausting.

“We are exhausted by video calls being the only outlet for intimacy that we have in most of our relationships,” says psychiatrist and INSEAD professor Gianpiero Petriglieri. We asked Petriglieri (over the phone, don’t worry) to help us understand what we’re feeling and to highlight some solutions. More critically, he helps us identify some of our more complex emotions about the specific challenges of current at-home work.

Moving Forward While Staying Put

“Mister, how do I get motivated?” As a school counselor I’ve been asked this question more times than I can count but especially over the past few weeks as Covid-19 has forced us into remote learning. This question, “How do I motivate myself?” is one we have all asked ourselves because it is a natural human instinct. If I can just find the trailhead marked Motivation, the path to the top of the mountain will unfold in front of me. However, time and time again we find this is a misguided starting point. Rather than focus on motivation as a place to begin, we realize instead that motivation comes as a product of the journey.

In his well-known 2014 commencement address at the University of Texas, Navy Seal William McRaven’s thesis was, “If you want to change the world, start by making your bed.” As the speech progresses, McRaven makes the point that by starting the day with this one small, familiar task one then will decide to do the next thing, and then the next thing until their progress snowballs into monumental accomplishments with great impact – a changed world. McRaven does not say read a book of quotes until you find the perfect one to motivate you, then make your bed. No. Simply, make your bed.

What McRaven is speaking to is the power not of motivation but of something much more powerful: momentum. While motivation may ebb and flow with our emotions, momentum is a physical law of our universe. As Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion reminds us, an object in motion tends to stay in motion. Flustered by physics? Take, instead, the phrase, “Keep the ball rolling.” This phrase, dating back William Henry Harrison’s 1840 presidential campaign practice of pushing a 10-foot-wide ball filled with campaign slogans through small towns is easy to understand. Once you get this massive thing rolling, it will be impossible to stop.

Psychologists like Stanford University’s BJ Fogg point to the importance of creating huge change from small beginnings. Fogg implores us to begin with tiny habits, baby steps, that eventually lead to huge results. Want to get stronger? Start with two push-ups every time you use the bathroom. You’d like to read more? Read a page after every snack or meal. Contrast that with the January resolutions we make to go to the gym for two hours a day or read a book a week. Rather than feeling defeated and frustrated as your motivation wanes, tiny habits start momentum; quick wins build the feeling of success and self-efficacy and before you know it you’re doing more and more.

With my students, I talk often of the J -Curve our emotions follow on the path to success. When we first take on big changes, start studying, or working on a big project, our emotions drop as we begin and realize the enormity of a task ahead of us. If we persist, our emotions even out and quickly rise on the far side of the J as our sense of mastery kicks in. Too often, though, we feel defeated and bail. Quick wins, tiny habits, routine, and accountability partners shorten the front end of our J and quickly get us through the bottom and on to the rapid rise.

So, back to the question – Mister, how do I find motivation? Don’t look for it! Look, instead, for momentum. Start with quick wins. Make your bed. Take a shower. Read one page. Walk two minutes. Take three deep breaths. Whether you are trying to recover from a devastating loss, struggling with your wellbeing or mental health, or simply want to get back engaged in your classes, start with that one thing you’ll do every day. As your momentum builds, you won’t even be thinking about motivation … but you will have found it.

Matthew Miltenberg is a professional school counselor at Poudre High School in Fort Collins, Colorado. In addition to working with students and families in Colorado, Matt has worked with remote learning students in Brazil, Honduras, China and other countries throughout the world.

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Boys and Girls Club - Estes Park

Summer Programming: June 1, 2020 – July 31, 2020, 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM

This summer’s program will be action-packed, filled with outdoor excursion opportunities, water days, a new fun academic enrichment program series, team sports, STEM challenges, and much more! As always, we are committed to providing the safest and highest quality program possible. Here a few important dates related to summer:

Registration Dates:

  • Wednesday, March 11: 7:30 AM – 9:00 AM
  • Thursday, March 12: 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Important Club Dates:

  • June 1: First day of Summer Program, 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM
  • June 15: Clubs are closed for staff training and development
  • July 3: Clubs are closed for 4th of July holiday
  • July 13: Clubs are closed for staff training and development
  • July 31: Last day of Summer Program


Please follow this link for information:

Please note: Estes Park is a summer only Club location. Spots are limited and given a first come, first serve basis. Current Club membership does not guarantee a spot in the summer program.


Estes Park Elementary School

1505 Brodie Avenue
Estes Park, CO 80517

Phone: (970) 817-4943

Hannah Knox, M.Ed, LPC, NCC

I am a professional that believes in the empowerment of youth to create meaningful change in this world. The majority of my time is serving Estes students (and families) through direct service, case collaboration, and case management. I support staff through education, consultation, and resource referrals. I also work with community providers for wrap-around support for individual cases, community events, group offerings, and mental health crisis preparation.