Zoom Barabar Zoom

By Rahul Subramanium 2020-05-31

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There’s nothing worse than becoming one with the pixels on your screen during a lengthy video call. Zoom fatigue is a real thing; and all the noticeable non-verbal cues – body language, facial tics and expressions – of pre-lockdown physical interaction, now require additional cognitive energy to detect during a virtual lesson.     

Here’s what you do so you don’t conk out while your teacher’s on a close reading of Sonnet 18.

Pick a chair. Make sure it’s well-cushioned and comfortable. A toadstool will simply not do. Any orthopedist worth her weight in bones will tell you that good posture, or neutral spine, reduces tension in your shoulders and neck. That along with an ergonomic chair will see you through prolonged video lessons.     

Stay away from the recliner and your bed. Teachers, the world over, do not take kindly to students snoring and/or drooling during Zoom lessons.

Stay well drenched. Keep your mug of coffee, glass of water, or whatever liquid delight you prefer, close at hand. Hydration is key to staying alert through a day of hectic video lessons. A biscuit or three, a bowl of fruit is permissible. Just don’t work through a seven-course meal while your teacher is explaining the sandwich theorem.

Mute (Alt+A, ⇧+⌘+A) your microphone; no one wants to hear you slurp, snarf, gobble, or chew. However...cameras on, Comrades! Human interaction under lockdown is already pitiful; let’s not exacerbate the situation by staring into a sea of black squares.

Find your corner. You’re not Banksy giving an interview, so make sure your room is well-lit. Personalize your workspace by turning it into your very own, distraction-free, private classroom. It’ll help put you in the right headspace for daily virtual lessons.   

If your background isn’t right for a video call, there are a number of virtual backgrounds on Zoom (Settings>Virtual Background).

Jumping jacks and cartwheels. You don’t want to end up a living statue of Whistler’s Mother after a long day of virtual lessons. Stand up and stretch those limbs at least once every hour. Yoga works, but even simple exercises like squats or pushups will do the trick. Aerobic activity will boost energy levels and attentiveness.

In one fell swoop, this pandemic has us wondering if the walls of our rooms would make good friends. Virtual lessons seem undemanding, but they require more than just your online presence. Give it your all, and after a day of toil, you can always vent to family and friends, or simply snuggle into bed, enjoying a well-deserved respite before another day of battle. 

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