Recently, I had the privilege of sharing wellness and mindfulness tips with a local women’s networking group on how to counter virtual fatigue. Over the last nine months or so, the majority of us have transitioned to a life that is almost entirely built around virtual spaces. We are relying on virtual communication for work as well as for our personal relationships. This change can take a toll on our bodies and spirit, which is why I wanted to share some of the mindfulness tips that were discussed with that group. We all need a little extra support these days and mindfulness makes it easier to support ourselves.
What Is Virtual Fatigue?
Virtual fatigue is a type of fatigue that comes with existing largely in virtual spaces. Though our minds and spirits can carry us into other spaces, our bodies keep us grounded in the physical world. The transition to a lifestyle where there is less in person interaction can be challenging on the mind, body, and spirit. It is hard not to be able to look someone in the eyes during meetings, or not be able to hug those that we love. Over time, virtual fatigue settles in and can leave us feeling drained and uninspired.
Get Centered and Ground Yourself
To successfully recover from virtual fatigue and ward off future instances, we must focus on centering ourselves. What is it that relaxes you, and how can you use this to feel better about your day? When you are spending most of your day at an office or in transit, it can be harder to make time for what truly relaxes you. Whether you are teleworking or not though, there are real dividends to focusing on embracing and building in some calming rituals. Add them to your routine where you can, whether it is starting your morning with a cup of tea, doing breathing exercises between meetings, or even slipping in a quick meditative break when you are feeling overwhelmed.
Give Your Eyes A Warm Bath
Staring at a screen all day can be physically taxing, leading our eyes to develop a subtle ache from within. A popular Qigong practice focuses on warming up your eyes to help the muscles to relax. To try this, simply rub your hands together to generate warmth and cover your closed eyes with them for a minute or so. Breathe, give your eyes a break, and let them rest in the dark warmth of your hands. Doing this is just one of the self-care practices you can add to your day to help keep your eyes comfortable when you spend your day on the computer.
When we are fatigued, it can be more challenging to do things that would generally come more easily to us. To move past fatigue or stop it from occurring, we must learn to say no when we need to. Listen to your mind, body, and spirit. If you feel resistant to comply with a request, there is a reason for it. Allow yourself the opportunity to choose what works for you, even if it means turning a Skype meeting into a phone call or simply sending an email instead.
Discern What You Are Really Hungry For
Fatigue can be particularly tricky when it comes to dietary needs. A lot of us misconstrue fatigue for feelings of hunger, which can lead to problematic overeating. If you feel fatigued or emotionally out of sorts, there is a good chance that you might also think you are hungry. But, eating might not solve your problem. Eating frequently when you are not hungry certainly won’t help in the long-run, and can actually lead you to feel more fatigued or upset because of overeating. If you have already eaten and aren’t being more active than usual, you might just need some water or a nap. Ask yourself if the sensations you’re feeling are signs of physical hunger. If not, you may be hungry, but for something other than food.
Take Mindful Breaks
In the same way that you need a drink of water after a sprint, your mind needs some peace after it has worked hard. Adding regular mindful breaks into your day can help you to keep your mind relaxed and clear, even on your busiest days. Focus on choosing quick meditative practices or even taking a few deep breaths throughout the day to keep your mind sharp and focused.
And speaking of virtual, I invite you to join me for my ongoing 2021 courses to help you live a more mindful and vibrant life.