Zoom Zoom … always all the time.
Many of us were relying on it heavily before COVID-19 but now it’s a necessity.
In pre-COVID it used to be that we could take breaks between Zoom meetings at the office, skip on over to the water cooler and get some face-to-face, flesh-and-bones interaction.
Or if we worked from home – take a break to go out and visit the gym, the yoga class, the neighbor, coffee with a friend… whatever it took to ground ourselves back into our 3-dimensional world.
But since COVID struck, we’ve often been living in a 2-dimensional flat-screened world that lacks touch, nuance and the uplifting energetics of looking another person in the eye. Because working with other people in person is second nature for many of us, adjusting to remote environments can be disorienting and unsettling.
“I think I’m suffering from Zoom fatigue,” one of our master course students texted me, saying that she needed some down time for processing and self-care and wouldn’t be joining our online group that day.
Drawing this boundary is a masterful and honorable decision – especially since the thrust of our 8-week Emotional Expansion masterclass course is learning how to optimally process emotions and practice self-care.
Of course, if you’re in a structured work environment with projects and assignments to meet, you likely can’t opt-out of scheduled Zoom meetings. Yet, that doesn’t discount the need to take care of yourself.
As a therapist specializing in emotional recovery, I find that for sensitive individuals, the entire Zoom zeitgeist is just the latest challenge that computer technology presents. I mean you take into account someone who’s sensitive to the electromagnetic frequencies (emf) pulsing off computers and add the pressure of regularly staring into a screen for interaction, it can be very draining. Especially when that’s our only source of “socializing.”
Best Practices for consciously using Zoom
In my Emotional Liberation coursework, confidentiality is highly prized. Being comfortable and at ease is the ultimate intention for all course participants. How do we do this in a ZOOM environment?
We honor a model of anonymity where participants have their video off
This solves a lot of challenges:
- With no video, people who wrestle with social anxiety aren’t pressured into showing themselves – or feeling ashamed if others opt to be seen. No video is no video for everybody.
- It appears that when given the choice, most people naturally default to no video. Being forced to be on screen/video is a strange dynamic that makes many people uncomfortable. Have you ever taken a free Zoom webinar where people get to choose? Notice the vast majority who opt for no video when it’s not a requirement.
- Another benefit of no video is that you don’t have to look at yourself. If you’re in a Zoom meeting and forced to show yourself, you’re also looking yourself in the eye – watching yourself talk and listen. It’s a unique (creepy?) feedback loop where you can see yourself as you communicate! Yes, there is an option to turn off your video on yourself so everybody else sees you. But there can be a compulsion that “OMG, I gotta make sure I look good if other people are seeing me, so I better keep an eye on myself.”
Fun! Here’s what we do in place of video
- A few days prior to the start of our master course, participants create an alias to their real names. They’re invited to choose their favorite mythological or fantasy creature. They add a picture of their creature on their screen in place of showing themselves.
- This way it’s not just an audio/phone call. Everybody is looking at the fascinating images of everybody else.
In fact, at the beginning of a course, we’ll go around and everybody introduces themselves and explains why they chose their alias.
- Everybody has full control over their audio so they can weigh-in, make comments and ask questions, starting with “This is _______ and I ….”
- Participants are encouraged to maintain their anonymity while being able to fully contribute during our 8 weeks together.
Preparing for the “reveal”
Our Summer 8-week Emotional Expansion program is wrapping up this week and participants have voted to “reveal” their visages in our last week. Having gotten to know each other through their voices over this time, there’s a heightened anticipation about getting to meet “face-to-face”. Even then, the option to do this is totally voluntary continuing a safe and secure space for those who want to maintain this ultimate privacy.
Dancing visions of future LIVE retreats
Of course, my preference is to return to the beauty of 3-day and 7-day retreats where we can revel in each other’s company, bond in the kindness, compassion and intentions of like-minded others. Until then, we make the most of an inspirational online environment where we cut through the chaos and confusion in your life to mindfully learn to process our emotions to fully awaken.
My next Emotional Expansion 8-week Masterclass Course will be October and November. More to come but if you’d like to get on the waiting list for details you can go to this page.
P.S. What’s your take on all this Zoom stuff? Do you Love Zoom or do you believe you could use some Zoom management in your life? Drop down to the comments section and weigh-in with your thoughts.