16 minute read

How We’re Coping with Online Fatigue at Kara Connect

How We’re Coping with Online Fatigue at Kara Connect

For when you’re starting to feel like an extension of your computer, here are our tips for safe ways to rebalance your online presence as we cope with continuing restrictions.

In a matter of a few months, we’ve seen almost every single social event in our life moved online. Work, school, university, parents evenings, drinks with friends, bingo night at the local county hall, study groups, therapy, shopping, interviews, doctor’s appointments, vet visits… if it involves contact with a living system, it’s highly likely to be happening right now on an online platform somewhere.

At a time where limiting face-to-face interaction is saving lives, switching on online is helping us stay involved and connected with society, and in many ways maintaining our mental health. But have you ever found yourself at 10pm on a weeknight realising you’ve effectively been to the gym, work, a class, meeting, met a friend, done the weekly grocery shop and checked in on your family without so much as leaving your chair (and the desk is slightly cluttered, your eyes feel dry and you have a mysterious, pounding headache?).

It’s online fatigue. You might feel slightly guilty that you resent the virtual world for being able to “meet” all your needs. You might curse technology just a little for being competent enough to run your entire life on it. Because we miss seeing our family’s faces, cuddling up on the sofa with our friends and going to the shops without mentally measuring out a two meter radius, and not having an essential excuse to see people in person is tough.

Kara Connect is an online therapy solution, and we at Kara very much believe in the ability of online solutions to bridge gaps in vital services to make our lives easier. But we get it- none of us were built to live our lives sitting and staring at a screen. Studies have shown that when we communicate with each other in-person, we reflect each others’ social cues. This is harder to do in person, meaning we’re not as socially fulfilled by online events. Currently, when we’re recommended to stay home as much as possible, we’re also less active, less likely to get fresh air and unstimulated by our surroundings.

So how do we combat the fatigue? It’s good to keep in mind that some commitments could be essential to keep online- such as your work, therapy and essential life admin. But making minor changes in the way you engage online could make the world of difference. We’ve compiled some of our personal tips on how to maintain an online-offline balance, even when you feel like offline is a distant memory.

Set aside an offline hour every day

Ideally more than an hour, but if you’re tight on time, make sure your day includes at least one hour where you’re completely offline. Whether this is to read a book, go for a walk, or just have a quiet moment to yourself, it’s a great way to reset and take a step back from the buzz of the virtual world. This is especially important before and after therapy sessions or difficult meetings- giving yourself some time to breathe and process before jumping into the next thing can be vital.

Reflect on your non-essential online activity

Could now be a great time to take a break from Twitter? Are there friends or family that live close enough for a socially distanced walk rather than a Facetime? If you’re doing things online that would be feasible and safe to do offline, consider doing so. Prioritising in this way means you’ll get everything necessary done without overloading on your screen time.

Keep to a routine

This is key when staying at home. Set a regular time to get up, put together a morning and evening routine to get started and wind down, and schedule in blocks of time for each area of your life that needs attending to. Compartmentalising helps you to create boundaries and balance between the various areas of your life.

Take up an offline hobby

Ever been tempted to whittle? Learn an instrument? Try your hand at embroidery? Perhaps now is a great time to look into those offline hobbies that can be done from home. Plus, it takes away the stress of finding Christmas presents- slightly wonky socks and abstract watercolours for all the family this year!

Take regular breaks and change your scenery where possible

Set yourself a timer so you’re standing up or moving around for 5 minutes every hour. Try working at a coffeehouse if it’s safe to do so- or if the weather’s nice, the local park could be a nice place to attend an online meeting or catch up with a friend on the phone. Get creative with where you are when you can- even rotating your desk to another wall at home could be a refreshing change.

The most important thing is to remember that it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed and to struggle with the changes of the past few months. Make sure to communicate, reach out to friends and family, and prioritise your health and wellbeing wherever possible.

Florence Mazy
Shane Cusack

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Florence Mazy
Shane Cusack