Happy Labor Day.

Happy Labor Day.

Labor Day sign

Happy Labor Day.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Today here in the United States it is Labor Day.

Can any of you history buffs tell me why?

Common Challenges Remote Workers Face

Remote Worker
Source: Unsplash.com | By: Yasmina H. | Rights: Free to use under the Unsplash License

Over 4.3 million people in the U.S. work remotely. While many thrive in the new work-from-home space, some still struggle with the various psychological challenges that present themselves in remote work. These challenges not only inhibit the productivity of workers but also play a key role in the mental and physical well-being of employees. 

Below are some of the most common challenges remote workers face and strategies to help overcome them. 

Overworking Yourself

In 2021, unplugging was the most common challenge faced by remote workers and continues to be the number one challenge in 2022 as well. It can be easy to forget to take a break or overwork yourself when working from home. However, not taking breaks or forgetting to unplug when the work day is over can lead to feelings of fatigue, stress, and burnout. 

Remember, it’s okay to take breaks and allow yourself to reset once in a while. Productive breaks are important during the work day both at home and in the office. It allows you to concentrate better, maintain your energy, stay motivated, and keep you mentally refreshed.

If you struggle with taking breaks, try out the Pomodoro Technique. The method advocates working in chunks and taking often, but brief, breaks throughout the day. This time management strategy can be a great way to encourage breaks, increase focus, and allow you to optimize your productivity without feeling overwhelmed

Along with breaks, it’s important to set a hard start and end time or goal each day; so you know when to stop working. When working remotely, it can be easy to stay on the clock even throughout the night. When your work day is over, shut down your computer and silence your work notifications. This will allow you to truly unplug and enjoy your personal time. 

Separating Personal and Professional Life

When you work where you live, it can be hard to separate your personal and professional life. This can increase feelings of anxiety, stress, and frustration. As a remote worker, it’s important to maintain a barrier between work and personal life. 

A great way to separate the two is by having your own dedicated workspace. Create an office separate from where you sleep. It’s important to avoid doing work in your bedroom to help practice sleep therapy, maintain your room’s relaxing nature, and have a physical barrier between your personal and professional life.

To maintain that division, try renting a coworking space or working in a coffee shop. However, if you want to avoid paying fees or having to purchase coffee daily, create your own office space right at home. If you own a home, consider using a home equity loan to construct an optimal covid safe office. This will give you the divide you need while also increasing the value of your home. Constructing an office space is especially advantageous if you have others in your household who work from home, you have kids that need parental supervision, or if you have conditions that don’t allow you to leave your home. Having this space will allow you to create that needed divide, while still being able to enjoy the advantages of working at home. Regardless of what you chose, having a physical separation will clearly define your work and personal life, allowing both to coexist without interfering with each other.

Feeling Isolated

Another major psychological challenge remote workers face is feelings of isolation. It can be easy to forget to leave your house when working remotely. Additionally, not having the typical social interactions from a traditional workplace can make working from home a lonely experience.

To help avoid feelings of loneliness, make an effort to leave your house. Take the time to go for a walk or do an activity outside of your workspace to get your daily dose of sunlight. If possible, take one day a week to work outside your home. This could be as easy as working from your porch or backyard. If you have friends or coworkers in your city, consider meeting up at a coffee shop, public university, or library to do work together. Leaving your home office will help you to feel less isolated, and working with others will help mitigate feelings of loneliness. 

Making Meaningful Connections

Making friends is tough when you enter the workplace, especially when you never got the chance to meet with your coworkers in person. Because of this, it can be difficult for remote workers to feel like they belong and are connected to the company.

In a traditional workspace, conversation happens naturally, but with remote work, it takes a little more effort. Take the extra step to meet your fellow remote workers in a virtual one-on-one to get to know them better and help foster that meaningful connection. Whether it be a casual hello, a shoutout for good work, or starting a conversation, don’t be afraid to speak up in the communication channels you have set up. If allowed, start same-interest group chats, like a music group chat or a movies chat. This will connect you with like-minded people and stimulate fun and more personal conversations.

Along with reaching out to fellow employees, there are also little things that you can do to help create a deeper connection. When possible, have your camera turned on. Seeing a face rather than a still image will create a more personal connection with your teammates. Likewise, participate in video and chat discussions to establish your presence. This will make people more comfortable reaching out to you and allow you to open up to others more. 

Staying Motivated

There are many distractions at home that can make you lose focus and motivation. When working from home, regardless of your position, you become more of your own manager. Since there isn’t anyone watching over your shoulder or coworkers present to keep you motivated, you have to find ways to self-motivate. For some, this may be easy, but for others finding motivation is a difficult task. 

Having a dedicated workspace away from the noise is always a great start. But what’s perhaps more important is having a morning routine. Just like how a nighttime routine gets you ready for bed, a morning routine can give you an energized start to the day and allow you to stay motivated to accomplish your goals. Start your day with food and an energizing beverage. Create daily goals and a schedule to keep you guided while working from home. Rather than working in silence, play music, or, if it’s not too distracting, a podcast. If allowed, put away your phone or have it on do not disturb during the work day. All of this will mitigate common work from home distractions and keep you focused on the task at hand. 

Another way to help you stay motivated is by having virtual study halls with teammates. If you’re the type of person to be motivated by others, hosting virtual study halls is a great way to work alongside your coworkers remotely. As mentioned earlier, remember to take breaks when needed. Try going on a walk to get some fresh air and a clear mind. Energizing breaks like these can be the perfect reset and give you more balance during your work day. 

Memorial Day.

Post by David Joel Miller.

Veterans.

Memorial Day.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Memorial Day.

“As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

― Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Letters

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

― Abraham Lincoln

“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves”

― Abraham Lincoln, Complete Works – Volume XII

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Economy.

Economy.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com.

Economy.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

― Warren Buffett

“If you owe your bank a hundred pounds, you have a problem. But if you owe a million, it has.”

― John Maynard Keynes

“The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.”

― John Kenneth Galbraith

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Daylight Savings.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Daylight Savings.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

My calendar tells me today is the day we enter daylight savings time. Hopefully, you’ve already changed your clocks. With all the years of my life, that I’ve saved this time; I wonder what happened all those extra hours. Here are some thoughts about daylight savings time. While this is not exactly a feeling, the change is sure to create feelings in most of us.

“Out of the effort to cut back on civilian use of fuel, it was the Federal Fuel Administration that first introduced daylight saving time a year later, in 1918.”

― Arthur Herman, 1917: Vladimir Lenin, Woodrow Wilson, and the Year That Created the Modern Age

“There are very few things in the world I hate more than Daylight Savings Time. It is the grand lie of time, the scourge of science, the blight on biological understanding.”

― Michelle Franklin

“I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind… At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme, I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy, and wise in spite of themselves.”

― Robertson Davies, The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks

I wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

What would George Washington think?

What would George Washington think?

George Washington.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

What would George say about that?

My calendar tells me that today is George Washington’s birthday. The world has certainly changed since George Washington was president. Today seemed like a good time to share some quotes from 1 of the founding fathers.

“Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.”

FIRST ANNUAL ADDRESS | FRIDAY, JANUARY 08, 1790

“Still I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain (what I consider the most enviable of all titles) the character of an honest man.”

GEORGE WASHINGTON TO ALEXANDER HAMILTON | THURSDAY, AUGUST 28, 1788

“a good moral character is the first essential in a man? It is therefore highly important that you should endeavor not only to be learned but virtuous.”

TO GEORGE STEPTOE WASHINGTON | SUNDAY, DECEMBER 05, 1790

“Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.” “CIRCULAR TO THE STATES” | SUNDAY, JUNE 08, 1783

“For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good…

FROM GEORGE WASHINGTON TO THE HEBREW CONGREGATION IN NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND | WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 18, 1790

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

A New Year is Dawning.

Inspiration for a new year     Post By David Joel Miller.

The New Year

New Year Dawning.

Happy New Year
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

― Oprah Winfrey

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

― Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you please share them.

It’s been a challenging couple of years

Challenging.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

It’s been a challenging couple of years

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

The last two years have been a time of overwhelming change.

As the end of 2021 rapidly approaches, I think it’s a good time to look back at all the things we’ve been through. I’m not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions, but I do think the holiday season is a good time to reflect on what’s happened over the last year and what direction I want to take for the year to come.

I lump the last two years together because 2020 and 2021 have been a blur in my head. I suspect these two years will blend together as we move forward. A lot of the things I think of as the sixties actually happened in the early nineteen seventies.

The pandemic certainly has affected everyone regardless of their feelings about Covid or the vaccine. What we have been through has changed a lot of people and changed the way we do things.

I’ve become convinced that some of those changes are likely to be permanent. I’ve made many changes in my life over the last two years. Some were because of Covid, and some for other reasons. Many of these changes were already in the works even before the pandemic. I want to summarize those events briefly here. Some of these I’ll write about in more detail in future blog posts.

Online education has become a viable option.

Over the years, I have taught five separate classes at two different colleges. Over the last two years, I have taught online classes for both colleges. Moving in-class material into an online format turned out to be quite a bit of work. Some students struggled with the online instruction. But a great many of them reported that it was preferable to the way we used to do it. I taught all but one of my online classes as an asynchronous class. Many said that they benefited from being able to do the work on their own schedule.

The feedback I’ve gotten from teachers who are working at the lower grade levels has been more mixed than my experience at the college level. Some students worked enthusiastically on their own and completed more assignments in less time than they would have in class. Other students struggled with discipline and fell behind. I’ve also heard multiple reports that students with anxiety disorders frequently turn off their cameras or refuse to attend online classes if they must be on camera. It will be interesting to see how the shift to distance education plays out.

I am now certified as an online teacher.

The early shift to online education was a rapid movement out of necessity. Then, as it continued over a longer time, the colleges began to emphasize distance education. Over the last two years, I have taken a series of classes and become fully certified to teach online courses. Personally, I prefer teaching online classes. It takes me a lot more work to create the materials. Still, it allows both the students and myself to go online and work on things whenever we have the time available rather than all of us having to make the long commute and fight for parking spots in order to be in a small classroom for the same three hours each week.

Both faculty and administration seem to be divided over whether we should continue to offer classes in the online distance education format. While some students will continue to benefit from the discipline of studying while a teacher stands over them, I think most college students would greatly benefit from the online format.

Counselorssoapbox is now a YouTube channel.

Part of the shift to teaching an online class was converting my PowerPoints and lecture material into a series of videos. I’ve learned a lot, and the quality of my videos continues to improve. One of the things I want to do in the coming year is become even more proficient at creating videos for the counselorssoapbox YouTube channel.

Some of my in-person trainings may become online classes.

In addition to academic classes of the last few years, I’ve done several in-person trainings for various groups. Putting on a training involves a lot of travel and leaves me tired for a week after. I have become increasingly aware of the number of online trainings or classes people are taking, many of which are taken for the knowledge rather than for college units or CE’s.

Over the last two years, readership on my blog has declined, while viewership on my YouTube videos has continued to increase. While I’ve been a lifelong reader, I find myself watching more and more videos. If there’s a topic you think I should cover in a video, please leave a comment.

The way we do therapy is changing.

When I first became a counselor, there was one predominant paradigm. Therapy should be done with one therapist and one client in their room behind a closed door. Many people avoided therapy believing that it was only for the seriously mentally ill. Today more and more people are going to see therapists for help with solving life’s problems.

Those who read my blog in the past are probably aware that I am engaged in a great many activities. For example, I do group supervision for a local nonprofit. Because of Covid, group supervision was moved to an online format. Although a few of the trainees reported missing the human interaction we had when we met in person, most report they prefer the online format for supervision. While a few long for a return to the days when we met in person, most enthusiastically want to continue meeting remotely.

It has been interesting to see the various reactions that beginning counselors and therapists have had to see clients online. While I think we were all initially skeptical most of us have developed the skills to work effectively using distance methods. For some clients, talking to their therapist over the Internet or by phone has made therapy more effective and more readily available.

More people are interested in mental health than in mental illness.

During the pandemic, I’ve done some work for several online counseling and therapy companies. This online practice of counseling seems to be moving in two separate directions. First, therapy that is paid for by an insurance company is becoming more medicalized. There’s an increasing emphasis on making sure the client meets the full criteria for a mental disease. I’m seeing more of an emphasis on having the therapist talks the client into taking medication. Insurance companies are also trying to reduce the number of therapy sessions the client may have unless they have been diagnosed by a psychiatrist or medical doctor and are on medications.

People who self-pay are more interested in reaching their goals.

To get treatment by a counselor or therapist paid for by an insurance company, you pretty much need to have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Most of the people who voluntarily seek counseling are looking at solving the problems of everyday living.

Several counselors have asked me whether it is okay to continue seeing the client who no longer meets the criteria for a particular mental illness but just really needs someone to talk to. My answer is that it’s not okay to bill medical insurance if the client no longer has a mental illness. However, I believe it is okay for a counselor to talk to a client each week if the client is paying and finding the sessions helpful. Sometimes this gets close to being coaching rather than counseling.

There’s a difference between being discouraged and being depressed.

They are having a problem finding a job; they would like to be more productive or better at reaching their goals. Medical insurance pays to treat someone who is depressed until they’re not depressed. Unfortunately, there’s a whole lot of distance between being not depressed and having a fulfilling, happy or contented life. As a result of working with clients who are not mentally ill but do want to have a more fulfilling life, I’ve shifted away from taking on more insurance clients and seeing more clients who are willing to pay for private counseling. If you live in California and think that talking with me might be helpful, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. Besides being licensed in California as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT.) I recently took a class to get certified as a life coach. In future posts, I want to talk more about the differences in what those three professions do.

I’ve concluded there’s too much focus on illness and not enough on happiness.

Over the last ten years, I’ve written over 1900 blog posts. Many, but not all, of those posts, have focused on specific diagnosable mental illnesses and their treatment. I’ve also written a lot about substance use disorders and how those interact with mental illnesses, a condition known as co-occurring disorders or dual diagnoses. In future posts, I want to focus more on how to have a better, more productive life. If there’s a topic that you would like to see covered, please email me using the contact me form.

Were you wondering what happened to my fiction books?

Getting through the pandemic and making this career pivot derailed my plans for writing more novels. I have one nonfiction book and six fiction books, which continue to be available from Amazon. I’ve taken a couple of classes in fiction writing over the last two years and hope to get back to a series of novels I had planned to write, which got crowded out by learning to be an online teacher, learning to make videos, and all the other skills I’ve been developing over the last two years.

Increasing my emphasis on personal relationships.

Over the last two years, I have spent less time in the classroom, office, and consulting room. Instead, I have found it important to put more time and effort into maintaining my friendships and close relationships. As I have gotten older, a handful of close personal relationships have become increasingly important to me. I hope that all of you are putting effort into maintaining your relationships with those who are the most important in your life.

Sorry for the long post. Stay tuned for more to come.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now! And more are on the way.

For these and my upcoming books, please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Starting Over in a New City: Practical Tips for Rising From Your Low Point

Starting over in a new city. Photo courtesy of pexels

Starting Over in a New City: Practical Tips for Rising From Your Low Point

Guest post by Jennifer Scott.

Are you ready for a fresh start? Have you been struggling with substance abuse, mental illness, emotional challenges, or any combination of these issues?

Here’s the good news: Whatever your journey, you can come out of this low point and build a happy life for yourself. One way many people do that is by packing up their lives and moving to a new city. If you’re ready to reinvent yourself and start over in a new place, consider these practical tips from counselorsoapbox.com:

Consider Your Career     

One of the most effective ways of getting a new start is to shift your career path. If you are unfulfilled at your current job, or if your workload is contributing to the detriment of your mental or emotional health, then it might be time for a change.

Think through your options. Factor in your interests and passions, your current skills and expertise, and things that you need to learn and develop. Take time to brainstorm ideas, whether it is looking for jobs in your current industry, finding a job in a completely different field, or starting your own business.

However you choose to change your career, you will need to acquire the education and training necessary to succeed. For some people, this means going back to school. Thankfully, there are accredited online universities that allow you to take courses and earn a degree without setting foot on campus. For instance, you can get a business degree while still working a full-time job, tending to family responsibilities, and having time for any other activities you may have.

Take Time to Choose a City

The first step of moving to a new city is figuring out which one you will move to. There are many factors to consider, but it comes down to finding a location that you believe will allow you to regain your footing and flourish.

For example, do you picture yourself in a small town or big city? Do you prefer moderate weather, or would you rather live in an area that is warmer or cooler year-round?

Next, think about the lifestyle you hope to create for yourself. Would you be working from home, and do you want to be near essential establishments like grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, and medical facilities?

Also, decide whether entertainment and culture are important aspects to be present in your new city. And of course, if you have a family, you will need to choose a place with quality schools nearby.

Research the Housing Market    

Once you have a location nailed down, it’s time to research the housing market to see what options you are working with. Cost of living, as well as home layouts and amenities, should be your priority. Using sites like Redfin and Zillow can prove useful to get a feel for home prices when you are buying. If you plan to move to an apartment, look to sites like Rent.com and ApartmentGuide.

Get Connected in the Community   

Finally, after you find your new home and get settled in, you will need to be intentional about getting to know your new community. The last thing you want is to isolate yourself, which can exacerbate the substance abuse, mental illness, or emotional challenges you may be battling.

Get outside and explore your new area. Try local restaurants, coffee shops, and community events. Become a volunteer at a local organization to socialize and help those in need. And look for hobby groups, book clubs, or any other opportunities to meet people with shared interests.

If you need a fresh start, moving to a new city is a great way to accomplish it. Think about whether it’s time for a career change and take any steps necessary to put it in motion. Carefully consider which city you should move to, and research the housing market to find a suitable home within your budget. And as soon as you arrive in your new area, be intentional about connecting with your community. Along the way, remember that this low point in your life can make you stronger as you build a brighter future for yourself.

If you would like to read more helpful content about counseling, therapy, recovery, and living a happy life, visit counselorsoapbox.com today!

Do you have zoom fatigue?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Zoom fatigue.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

What is zoom fatigue?

If you have been engaged in much of anything during the pandemic, you probably have experienced episodes of zoom fatigue. Ever-increasing amounts of time spent both online and on-camera can be incredibly draining. Like other kinds of work fatigue, there’s a need for finding ways to reduce the impact of too much time on zoom.

My sympathies to Zoom, the company. I suspect that in the future, they’re going to have to do some things to protect their trademark. Just as googling-it has become an expression for using a search engine, zoom is starting to become a synonym for using any interactive online audiovisual program. By way of historical perspective, both Coke and Kleenex have had to fight this same battle. While I will refer to Zoom throughout this article, what I’m saying applies equally to similar online conferencing platforms.

I personally am on Zoom a great deal. I have my own Zoom subscription and a dedicated meeting room that I use for clients in my counseling and coaching practices. But I also see clients using several other online video conferencing platforms. Closely related to zoom sessions is also a massive increase in using videos for the classes I teach. It’s important to ask why students can spend all afternoon watching videos on YouTube but have difficulty sustaining attention when watching videos related to their class.

I have a suspicion that in addition to the people experiencing fatigue from using Zoom or another platform, many people are also experiencing a great deal of boredom and fatigue because of the content of those ever-increasing distance meetings.

I was a relatively early adopter of both distance education and distance counseling. Both have their advantages, and I expect to do a great deal of both in the future. But like eyestrain from the early computers and carpal tunnel syndrome from too much typing on first typewriters and later computers, each new technology comes with some challenges. For example, prolonged sessions on videoconferencing or video chat programs are not without their problems.

Zoom fatigue does not affect everyone equally.

A new study in the Journal of Applied Psychology discussed how zoom fatigue affects certain groups in the workforce more than others. First, that study, and then I’ll talk a little bit about some similar problems in counseling and education.

More time on zoom increases the risk of zoom fatigue.

This certainly makes sense. More time doing anything is likely to lead to fatigue for that particular activity. I read that some employers are now creating zoom-free Fridays or afternoons on certain days which are without teleconference meetings. Changing activities certainly is one approach to reducing the impact of fatigue and loss of interest. But if cutting back on zoom time is the answer, why aren’t video game manufacturers limiting the minutes their users can play their products so that gamers will avoid developing gamers-fatigue and stop playing?

One solution which online education has moved towards is gamifying their educational content. Make learning fun, and students don’t get bored and lose interest.

Having your camera on can increase the stress.

When having the cameras on or off is optional, meeting participants who had their cameras on are more likely to report feeling zoom fatigue. The on-camera fact was more pronounced for women and people new to an organization or recurring meeting such as a class. Furthermore, people are more likely to share at the beginning or end of the meeting when their cameras are turned off, and they’re not on display.

Not part of this study but worth noting is that the interns I supervised have reported that people who suffer from anxiety disorders or have social phobia are extremely stressed by being on camera. I hear the same thing from faculty who are trying to make students keep the cameras on. Students who in a classroom situation would sit in the back because they are self-conscious when others are looking at them can avoid that feeling of being stared at during zoom classes. The result is that people with low self-esteem or body dysmorphic disorders become especially fatigued during zoom meetings, may leave early, and look for any possible excuse to turn off the camera.

Gender and length of time at work matter.

In general, women report being more fatigued by their time on zoom than men. Also, people who were new to an organization are more likely to experience zoom fatigue. We need to be careful about drawing conclusions here, but in most mental health settings, women are much more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders. Since society so often evaluates women based on their appearance putting female employees on camera front and center adds to their stress level and may make the meeting incredibly fatiguing.

Here is the study on the impact of cameras on zoom fatigue.

I tried doing several literature searches for research studies on zoom fatigue and how to cope with it. Three different search terms yielded minimal results. The term zoom fatigue returned exactly 163 results. I read through the abstracts for these studies and found primarily studies about using video platforms and techniques to study various forms of fatigue rather than studies that were focused on becoming fatigued as a result of using an online video platform. I have saved a number of these studies, which I thought might be informative, and as I have time to read them, I will try to get back to you on them.

Two other elements of remote counseling and education which may be adding to the zoom fatigue syndrome I would describe as:

Connection frustration.

Not all devices connect to all platforms, and often Internet or Wi-Fi connections don’t work well with some video platforms. Personally, I’ve had good results with Zoom, but other platforms don’t always work well. For best results, don’t get too far away from your modem, or better yet, only use devices that are plugged in directly using the ethernet cable. Walking around while teleconferencing is not recommended.

Multiple platform frustration.

I teach adjunct at two different colleges. Parts of their systems are not identical, and they keep changing. While I use Zoom for my private practice counseling and coaching clients, when I see clients for another telehealth provider, I have to switch to their platform. All this platform movement gets frustrating. Frequently when I switch from one platform to another, I get a message that the new platform can’t detect my camera or microphone. I then have to unplug the camera, microphone, or both and then plug them both back into my computer, at which point the new platform can detect them.

In the meantime, my suggestion is to try to cope with zoom fatigue in the same way that you might cope with any other form of educational or work fatigue. If anyone comes across additional information on this topic, please leave the reference in the comments section below or send it to me using the contact me form on the counselorssoapbox.com blog.

Thanks for reading.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

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