As someone who deeply values video in voice in creating and sustaining connections in a digital world, I am beyond tired. Last week, we pulled some data on our campus Zoom use and apparently I am not only in the top 10 campus Zoom users, I am #2. I love Zoom, and believe it is an amazing technology, but eeek, the # 2 user on my campus is not something I would brag about. Like many people working remotely, the past six weeks have brought high levels of exhaustion and this pervasive feeling of being tired all the time. I speak for myself, of course, but we’ve seen articles on the topic of Zoom Exhaustion –or I would even re-frame as “video exhaustion”- such as the recent article from the BBC on Why Zoom Video Chats are So Exhausting, and yet we keep doing it. Some, like myself use it all day long for work followed by using video technology to connect to family and friends. It’s taking a huge toll. I am finding myself mixing my words, saying something that has absolutely nothing to do with a conversation that I am engaged in, and not to mention completely blanking (a lot).
So, I thought, maybe I should write more. I love to write and am one of those people who thought that this would be a great time to engage in more writing. Writing has been even more challenging and this article from the Chronicle of Higher Ed speaks to this: A Side-Effect of the COVID-19.
I will say, I have been listening to Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us Podcast with a passion. She speaks to this level of exhaustion we are experiencing during this time of great uncertainty and how essential empathy and vulnerability are. This begins with self. And as we normalize our own discomfort in this time of uncertainty, we must stand in the center of it and be uncomfortable, vulnerable in ways that will help us grow. I am finding that now more than ever, I need to pause and know that if I step out to take care of me, my job won’t suffer, my family won’t suffer, I will bring back new focus and new ways of thinking.