Fighting Zoom fatigue this virtual Fall Quarter

Fighting Zoom fatigue this virtual Fall Quarter

Photo Credits: AGGIE FILE

The Editorial Board shares the little moments and activities keeping us upbeat while at home all day

As week two comes to a close, with midterms around the corner and asynchronous lectures piling up, many of us are trying to find a routine amid constant Zoom meetings and the technological challenges of a virtual quarter. Though contracting coronavirus is our first worry, catching a case of Zoom fatigue is not far behind, with symptoms including screen-induced exhaustion and endless unproductive days in front of a computer.

Due to uncontrollable factors, uncertainty and anxiety permeate our daily life, in addition to the constant glow of our computer screens. Three weeks away from a presidential election and seven months into an indefinite quarantine, it can be hard to keep anxious thoughts at bay during this time of unprecedented stress, particularly while self-diagnosing your headache as coronavirus.  

We, The Editorial Board, know first-hand that being a student in 2020 is anything but easy. Since we feel your pain, we wanted to share with you some activities we’ve been doing to stay positive amid the craziness of this quarter. Here are some of our small moments that make Zoom classes a little more bearable and our days at home a little brighter. Hopefully in writing this, we can add a bit more joy to your day as well, even if it’s only through a computer screen. 

Anjini Venugopal, Editor-in-Chief

About a month ago, I rediscovered the absolute joy of playlists when I reconnected with a friend I hadn’t talked to since high school. Hours into our conversation, we somehow decided that all One Direction songs fit into one (or more) of three very specific categories and made collaborative Spotify playlists to define them. Since then, I have created more than 15 playlists for very specific moods. As an incredibly indecisive Gemini, it is now challenging to pick which playlist to listen to, but I feel an almost vicious sense of glee in listening to a playlist curated specifically for standing in the kitchen microwaving my leftovers. After a particularly stressful day last week, I asked my friends for songs that sparked joy for them and created a playlist with the responses. They covered a huge range of music—from Michael Bublé’s “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas” to “Sk8er Boi” by Avril Lavigne and from Lorde’s “Green Light” to “Always” by Andy Grammer. Even though it has been a while since I’ve seen these friends in person, knowing these songs make them happy forces me to smile in the face of a pandemic and an overwhelming amount of uncertainty. 

Margo Rosenbaum, Managing Editor

As someone who already overthinks everything to the point of becoming unnecessarily anxious, it is all too easy right now to feel overwhelmed by the jumbled thoughts in my head. Recognizing little moments that spark joy helps me get through my day. As much as I can, I check in with family, reach out to old friends or see new ones (outside, with masks on and from a safe distance). Laughing—whether it is about weird reality shows with my housemate, videos of dogs playing musical instruments, satirical memes sent in group chats and disfiguring Snapchat face filters—is also always a perfect distraction. Focusing on my own mental sanity helps to ground me. While studying, I light incense and play soothing instrumental music on my record player. On days where I find myself spending too much time on my laptop, I escape to the outdoors. Hiking in nature, petting my horse and caring for my plants are enjoyable, calming activities. It is okay to recognize that none of us are living normal lives right now; try to find little moments to help you stay healthy and happy.

Sabrina Habchi, Campus News Editor

I cannot stress enough that endorphins are a real thing. I started doing a mile run each day to at least get some activity during quarantine, and if the quarantine blues hit and all I want to do is watch New Girl in bed all day, it makes me feel as though I at least accomplished one thing that day. As someone who used to exclusively study at coffee shops, this pandemic has been a real adjustment, but my new thing is parks: I’ll take my work that I can do offline with me or use my personal hotspot if I need to get online. It’s a great way to people-watch in a very scenic atmosphere while still getting work done. For my fellow extreme extroverts reading this: Figure out a way to see your friends safely, outside and with masks on.

Eden Winniford, City News Editor

I’ve reached a point where I don’t even want to play video games or watch TV anymore to destress, since anything on a screen is exhausting. I built a picnic table over quarantine, and I like to sit outside and read a book or eat lunch. Calling my parents and grandparents is also a highlight of my week—I try to make them laugh with stories about Zoom awkwardness, the giant cockroaches that prowl the Davis streets at night and our neighbors who scream and howl until 2 a.m. on Tuesdays. Even though I’m awful, I’ve started playing tennis with friends because it’s an easy way to get some socially-distanced exercise. And when I get home, I bake peanut butter cookies with my housemates and eat way too many while playing board games. It can be hard to stay positive during midterms and a pandemic, but I’ve found that stealing little moments to feel the sun or connect with the people I love goes a long way. 

Calvin Coffee, Opinion Editor

At this point in the pandemic, walks around my neighborhood have become a reliable way to ease my often-anxious mind. Barring smoke or falling ash, walking around my corner of Davis is an easy way to clear my head and connect with the world beyond my screens. Other than outdoor strolls, “Fortnite” is my main escape from the monotony of UC Zoom. Yes, I still play “Fortnite.” With an endless supply of updates and game modes to play, “Fortnite” maintains its relevance by continuously evolving, more than three years since its launch. On top of that, it’s still free. Add in some spooky skins and a Halloween-themed map and “Fortnite” is doing everything it can to prove it’s the only game I ever need to play. 

Sophie Dewees, Features Editor

At the end of a day filled with recorded lectures, Zoom meetings and online quizzes, one activity that always makes me feel a little bit better about the world is making dinner with my roommates. Whether we’re cooking spicy noodles or tofu for the fifth time that week, this simple, routine activity never fails to put a smile on my face. Chatting together (as we put too many red pepper flakes on our food) about our hectic days that were simultaneously uneventful and stress-inducing helps me decompress and evaluate what’s important. Because, in the end, this situation is temporary, and having good people in your life to get you through it is what really counts.

Allie Bailey, Arts & Culture Editor

The uncertainty of a pandemic, an impossibly deteriorating news feed and now the hours of online lectures and assignments have all been making life feel absurdly hectic. I know there are plenty of productive, or at least active, ways to destress, but my preferred way to chill-out is to do just that: chill. Stop working, stop reading, stop thinking. I am lucky to have a house full of incredible roommates—there are seven of us—and going downstairs to see them is my favorite way to unwind. They all offer me so much: an ab workout of a laugh, a thoughtful conversation, a comforting hug or simply a buddy to sit on the couch and watch TikToks or TV with. It’s easy to take for granted the random time you spend with someone, whether it be an in-person interaction or a FaceTime call with someone far away. But during my days that seem to all blend into one long, mundane Zoom call, the little moments that let me forget about the state of the world are the respite I rely on to maintain well-being in 2020. 

Omar Navarro, Sports Editor

If this topic was asked a couple of weeks ago, my only answer would’ve been watching the NBA. Being a huge fan of the game and of LeBron James, that was the one thing I would look forward to and it would be the highlight of every afternoon. But alas, the season has ended, so I must look deeper than that. Something that I’ve found myself doing now is trying new things to cook. I don’t consider myself a good cook at all, but trying new things or something challenging is something that has kept me afloat during these times. Another thing that has helped during this online Zoom era is listening to new music. Having stuck with a genre for years, I have finally begun to listen to new artists and have found myself liking some that I never expected. Finally, I found that the best thing I could do during this time is stay active. Whether it’s working out or going on a run, setting a goal and trying to achieve it has served me as a great way to remain engaged while helping me remain somewhat physically healthy. 

Maddie Payne, Science Editor

As this quarter has been getting busier and more stressful, I’ve been trying to spend a few minutes in the morning off any screens before Zooming away to class and studying for midterms. While my Major Dickason’s is brewing in the kitchen (can’t start my day without caffeine), I open up all the blinds in the house, position my succulents on the window sill for optimal sunlight, and throw my bed back together so it looks a bit more presentable in Zoom calls later. If I have enough time, I’ll make a TikTok-inspired bowl of oatmeal with coconut flakes and agave (otherwise, just your average bowl of Cheerios), and sit on the porch for a couple of minutes before my first class. Though these feel like simple things to do, I find that having a morning routine where I can get a bit of fresh air and connect with life outside my apartment, even if it’s just appreciating that the fall leaves are changing colors, makes me more motivated during the inevitable Zoom classes and constant screen time that takes up the rest of my day.

Written by: The Editorial Board