Zoomed Out? Avoiding Virtual Fatigue

A sudden switch to the virtual world where meetings, socialization and exercises are all online can leave you, and the participants you’re interacting with, feeling the effects of virtual fatigue.

It is important for each of us to find some time throughout our day to get outside, get away from the screen and feel a bit of normalcy. It may be difficult to detach from technology. By scheduling in times for yourself that do not involve technology, however, you can help control your time on, and therefore tolerance of, virtual platforms. One way to accomplish this is to set daily time limits either through specific apps on your phone or tablet or through a daily alarm on your watch. The prompt will remind you to get off your phone during the timeframe you’ve set. It is likewise advisable to avoid screentime before bed. Equally, do not check your e-mail as soon as you wake up (I’m guilty here). Work your daily hours, then log off!

Another great way to avoid technology fatigue? Get outside at LEAST once per day! Go for a walk, or do your normal indoor workout outside. It might feel silly at first to be jazzercising or practicing yoga outside, but, ultimately, it can be extremely empowering and fulfilling.

In the wake of our “new normal,” ODU seeks to help Monarchs stay active. ODU has created the ODU Recreation and Wellness Strava Club to connect Monarchs who are continuing to work on their fitness goals. ODU affiliates, including alumni, can use the Strava app to keep track of runs, walks, bike rides and other outdoor activities, all while staying connected and supporting each other. For those who do not want to participate in a live Zoom class or look at a screen while they workout, ODU offers daily fitness and wellness tips on their Instagram page.

If you are not into athletic pursuits, enjoying non-technology based hobbies, such as reading, crafting, and cooking, can give your mind a break from the constant screentime. Dust off that stack of books you have been collecting or join a book club – perhaps the ODU Alumni Big Blue Book Club – to enjoy new reads. Now is the time to let your creativity shine by drawing, painting, cutting and pasting, knitting, redecorating, even tie-dying. You may have seen that ODU has been sharing healthy recipes almost weekly. Try one of our recipes or just bake that banana bread already!

Mary Healey, assistant director of Fitness and Wellness at ODU, said she, her team and students are all facing virtual fatigue, but have incorporated a few programs to combat it. Adapted from an article published in CampusRec magazine at https://campusrecmag.com/avoiding-virtual-fatigue/.

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