Morgan Fisher, M.S.
In the wake of the coronavirus, we have become more reliant on technology than ever before. We rely on technology, videoconferencing, and telehealth to stay virtually connected to our careers, businesses, health, education, and loved ones. While our ability to stay virtually connected is helpful, all of this screen time can have adverse effects on our mental and physical health. Below is a list of strategies that clinicians and other healthcare workers can implement to combat the adverse effects of virtual connection overload.
1. Turn the camera off when possible. Videoconferencing throughout the day can be mentally and physically draining. For teletherapy appointments, phone calls may be a better alternative to video conferencing. Phone calls minimize the mental strain of staring at a screen for long periods of time. While there are advantages to having the camera on, considerations should be given to clinicians and clients when sessions need to be audio only.
2. Look at your schedule as a whole to decide when to accept or decline activities. Tailor your schedule to your body’s needs. If your work schedule is assigned or out of your control, you can mindfully schedule enjoyable or pleasurable activities around work, in between sessions, during lunch break, and so forth. For example, give yourself breaks between teletherapy appointments or schedule a pleasurable activity after work that you can look forward to. Make sure you have the time in your day to step away from the screen and go outside for fresh air.
3. Self-care: Build in a daily restorative practice to your routine. In the backdrop of these unprecedented times, our minds are constantly stimulated. As we strive to achieve work-life balance, it is essential to build simple and pleasurable activities in our routines to help us rejuvenate and recharge. Some activity examples include meditation, reading, journaling, cooking, calling a friend or loved one, hiking, walking and running outside, fitness youtube videos, or starting a new TV show. Any activity that sustains your physical and mental wellbeing is key.
Reference: Brawner, B. M. (2020). #SendHelpNow: Mental wellness and virtual connection in the age of the coronavirus. Wiley. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/jpm.12651