In navigating this pandemic season, all of us are spending many hours online, looking at screens.
Between small group gatherings, leader huddles, virtual home-schooling (for those with young kids), family times, even church services are all happening through video-conferencing, it is only natural that we are becoming screen fatigued.
How do we prevent overload so that we can be fully preset and effective in a video meeting? Here are SEVEN tips to overcome Zoom fatigue by adding in variety to help both leaders and group members.
1. ADD IN FUN
Breaking up the rhythm of your small group meetings can go a long way in the drain a group leader or group member can feel from virtual meetings. Instead of draining a fun game-night can add welcomed variety and fun to your meeting cadence. The simple practice of having fun can revitalize yourself and your group. A game night also allows more relaxation than having discussion or meeting in a way that requires greater concentration. Think of it this way, having fun with your group is the online version of having a group social with food. Learn more on ways you can do this and advantages to a Group Game Night in this article.
2. LEVERAGE BREAK OUT ROOMS
When structure and dynamics in online meetings change often, it is easier to engage. Your group can start with some music, social time using chat and some fun ice breakers, then transition to catching up from the week, checking in, extending care for group members, and all of this can be done in smaller breakout discussion rooms. By allowing yourself and group members to engage in different online environments during the meeting it breaks up screen fatigue by giving less faces to focus on, more relaxed conversation and greater care.
If your group is doing a study, especially if it has any type of video content, keep the video vary short. Consider breaking it into 5 minute sections and discussing each section.
3. BREAK UP STUDY CONTENT
If your group is doing a study, during your virtual group meeting, especially if it has any type of video content, keep the video portion shorter. Having mixed media like a video can help in adding structure and variety to the meeting but be sure to keep it short otherwise it will work against your group rather than for them in overcoming “zoom fatigue.” Consider breaking a 15-30 minute video into 5-10 minute sections and discussing each section. Summarize things when possible. You can even integrate in the tip above about using breakout rooms to add more variety to your small group meeting.
Adding structure and variety to study content also allows the group to not get bored as easily with one topic over several meetings. Even if your group is doing a longer study, add in a week to focus in on something different but maybe related.
4. USE OTHER COMMUNICATION METHODS WHEN YOU CAN.
Between Facebook groups, messenger, text messaging and simply picking up the phone to call someone, you can add variety to your group communication methods. Video gatherings are a great option to have to see the faces of all your group members but it can be helpful to use this method once a week and interact with group members through other methods when possible.
You can also occasionally call in to that virtual meeting instead of videoing in. That gives you the opportunity to walk around and even step outside. Which leads to the next tip…
5. GO OUTDOORS
As weather permits of course, you can join zoom over the phone and call into the meeting taking it from outdoors. Or you can take your laptop/tablet outdoors and sit outside while being on your zoom meeting. Mix it up, sit in the front yard or backyard or walking.
Another option that can include your whole group is to do a virtual coordinated prayer walk. Have everyone coordinate a prayer walk at the same time and walk around their neighborhoods. The group can message each other during this time to share prayer requests or join in zoom over the phone while walking. Or just simply kick off the meeting together over video, everyone logs off while focusing their prayer walk on Scripture, prayer requests of the group, praying for neighbors and community and then the group can debrief at the end of the coordinated prayer walk. A 60-minute group meeting would look like this:
- 20 minutes, check in over zoom, catch up a bit and share prayer requests.
- 25 minute prayer walk around the neighborhood.
- 15 minute debrief over zoom about the experience.
Not only does this allow you to enjoy the outdoors it also integrates in a shared spiritual practice, allowing greater connection with God and one another.
6. SCHEDULE SHORTER MEETINGS.
Plan your meetings shorter than usual. If your group was used to meeting 90 minutes weekly, schedule the meeting for 60 minutes and either meet again that week or keep the conversation going in Facebook or check in on another day using other communication tools.
This same principle can apply to online church services as well. Even reducing the screen time by 10-15 minutes for a church service can be refreshing and reduce the overall screen time for every one involved. But don’t let the conversation end there…use helpful resources related to the service to enhance everyone’s experience offline.
7. TAKE DIGITAL BREAKS.
This is not necessarily a tip that you can apply in the middle of a digital meeting or gathering but in between your virtual meetings, schedule breaks often, even 15 minutes in between meetings can help.
Along with scheduling breaks, reserve a day where you can take a break from zoom or digital meetings altogether. With a little savvy and finesse this is possible to do while still maintaining all the connections and relationships that are important to you. This will also allow time to go for a walk, start up a conversation with a neighbor or Your ONE, text or call some friends to check in on how they are, or spend extended time connecting with God! Sort of like the idea of a Sabbath…