Information Technology Services (ITS)

How to combat online fatigue

Published on: December 2, 2020

Fatigued person in front of computerUse the following steps in this COVID-19 resilience toolbox to help you combat online fatigue. (Download the entire tip sheet here).

    • Recognize and identify how you feel: Recognizing online fatigue/pandemic stress and labeling it is a way to regain control and begin taking the necessary precautions. Allow yourself to recognize these feelings without beating yourself up for your response. It’s ok to feel what you’re feeling. Common signs of online fatigue include exhaustion, joylessness, feelings of frustration or resentment, feelings of being overwhelmed.
    • Separate work and home life: Make a schedule. Designated work time and relaxing time can help create boundaries between work and home life. Moreover, it can help work time feel more productive and home time feel more relaxing. Have at least two days a week where you don’t do any work. We all deserve a weekend to recharge.
    • Self-compassion and positive self-talk: Be gentle with yourself. It’s ok that you’re not a crazy productive robot. Be realistic with your expectations of what you can accomplish in a day. Especially when there are multiple online meetings. Monitor your self-talk. When you hear your inner critic, talk back to it with kindness. Use phrases like: “It’s ok to be angry about the situation” and “I don’t need to be perfect.” And when things don’t go as you wanted, remember failing is part of being human.
    • Take time to recharge: Schedule screen-free time, your eyes will thank you. Replace scrolling on social media with self-care. Enjoy the little things in life, such as taking a walk or reading a book. Take 15 minutes in the morning to enjoy your coffee/tea.
    • Mindfulness: Carving out time to be present and relax is crucial to recharging after a day of being “ON” screen. Try:
    • Minimize the drain: Turn off your camera for a quick recharge. It is exhausting being ON all the time. Hide the self-view. Research shows that we spend most of the time on video calls staring at our self and this can add to stress over social appearances. Try to replace video calls with phone calls or emails if you can.

    • Take Breaks. Try:

    • Reach out, connect: Connect with people. For example, call a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while. As part of U of T’s commitment to well-being while working remotely, People Strategy, Equity & Culture have curated a number of resources and strategies to support individuals, managers and teams. Access it here: Wellness and Work From Home Toolkit.