In March of 2020, my husband and and daughter began working from home my first virtual guild presentation was last April; needless to say, our household learned early to call dibs on the bandwidth and schedule our online calls accordingly. At one point, we had two separate internet connections coming into the house.
People working from home understand the importance of an ergonomic desk setup, but what about the individual whose work never revolved around a computer? I think of my late mother during these times. She never needed a computer, tablet or smart phone, but I know that we would have helped her get Zoom ready to participate in these exciting times (whether it’s Zoom, GoToMeeting, etc., Zoom has become like Kleenex, people use it even when referring to other platforms because it is easiest to just say Zoom). But that’s not to say she would have been watching from the best seat in the house, not unlike many individuals who now find themselves spending hours staring at a computer screen, virtually attending their local quilt guild, listening to a quilt teacher from another province or attending a workshop from their sewing room.
HERE ARE 10 TIPS TO HELP PREVENT ZOOM FATIGUE
- Most importantly, raise your screen to eye level to prevent neck strain. A wire shelving unit works well to hold your laptop or monitor; a large plastic tote will raise it even higher for a DIY standing desk.
- Footrests allow shorter people to plant their feet on a firm surface when seated, they also help when standing. If you lean towards placing the majority of your body weight on one leg , a step stool allows you to evenly distribute your weight, shifting your center of gravity from your supporting leg and allowing you to take some weight off the load-bearing hip joint. Works at your ironing board as well.
- Turn your video off when your lecturer is presenting. This allows you to get comfy, put your feet up, and not worry about others seeing you. It will also improve the clarity of the call.
- Have a snack at the ready. Olives are perfect; they fill you up, feed your brain, lubricate the most important machine in your sewing room and they don’t leave crumbs stuck in your teeth.
- Don’t forget your favourite herbal tea or glass of water to stay focused and headache free. H2O is crucial to staying sharp, it affects how well signals are transmitted and received in the brain. (Wittbrodt,2018). It also forces us to get up and walk head to the loo at break time.
- Some people like to knit or hand-stitch while they learn, which is great! However as a teacher, I often see makers with their heads bent forward in the dark. Use a big pillow to raise your work up to you or make a Lap Desk. https://www.healthyquilting.com/post/how-to-make-a-diy-lap-desk
- Give your eyes a break, use the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes look 20 feet away from the screen for 20 seconds. Blue light glasses (the lenses are actually yellow ) may protect your eyes by blocking harsh lighting from digital devices. The light that comes from computer screens also has an effect on the human circadian system, leading to disrupted sleep. Set your device to dim between sundown and sunup.
- Take a proper break from the computer during a class. When you teacher announces a scheduled break – take it. Ideally your instructor will mute and turn off their video. Then attendees can’t ask questions as chatting isn’t really a break. Get up and move, you are able to learn more after physical activity. (John J. Ratey 2013)
- Relax and remember we are all learning; we all make mistakes and virtual learning is here to stay. Instead of cancelling that February meeting due to snow, we will simply pivot and meet online.
- Do this 3-minute stretch for stitchers. If you’ve been sitting, shake out your hands, lift your legs, and roll your shoulder to warm up and get your blood pumping. Next, reach one arm overhead and arch over to the opposite side. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on other side. Try this sitting first, then stand and repeat. Finally, interlace fingers, extend arms with turn palms forward. If able, raise intertwined hands up and reach for the sky. If you have been sitting for a while, roll your shoulders to warm up and get your blood pumping.(L) Blue light glasses (the lenses are actually yellow) may protect your eyes by blocking harsh lighting from digital devices, helping to give your eyes a break.
(R) If you have been sitting for a while, roll your shoulders to warm up and get your blood pumping.See more stretches on my YouTube channel and visit my website for more helpful information about keeping your body at its quilting best. Look for Rose’s new book, Sew Healthy and Happy: Smart Ergonomics, Stretches & More for Makers.