Human beings crave to be with other human beings. It is part of our nature and basic needs as people. As we have all experienced over the past year, COVID prevented us from being surrounded physically by other people. Because of this forced seclusion, many people have found themselves feeling lonely, bored, and sad.
The idea of hopping on a Zoom with familiar faces should help to combat these negative emotions and allow for a glimmer of relief, right? Not quite.
Emotions are contagious and spread from person to person. If you live with a depressed spouse or roommate, you are more likely to find yourself becoming depressed as well. The same idea works through the screen. Staring at other bored, sad, and tired individuals through a zoom call spreads those emotions, leading to the well-named “Zoom fatigue.”
Socialization is critical both to individuals and to the societies in which we work and live. Collective activity sparks happiness. That indescribable unity found when you are joined with a group of people all working together- whether it’s belting a song at a concert or cheering on your team as they score the winning goal- is known as Collective Effervescence.
Émile Durkheim founded this idea in 1912, just after World War I and prior to the Spanish flu. A simple definition of collective effervescence is the moment when a group of people share the same mindset and simultaneously share the same thoughts or participate in the same actions.
One New York Times article states that before Covid, more than three-quarters of people found Collective Effervescence at least once a week, and almost a third experienced it at least once a day.
They mention that pursuing happiness at an individual level may actually lead to more loneliness. However, in cultures that seek happiness socially through connection and contribution, people find increased happiness.
The pandemic inhibited the ability of people to find Collective Effervescence at all. As we move forward, people are finally getting the chance to be out and about again in busy grocery stores and crowded stadiums. The ability to find collective unity and thoughts with people is returning.
People are made to be together.
But things are still not the same as they used to be. Hybrid work has taken hold- and it is most likely here to stay. So, how do you combat the fatigue when you still find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the hours of back-to-back Zoom calls and isolation in your own home?
Thrive Global explains consecutive virtual meetings weaken focus and engagement, and our stress levels increase. But sometimes, limiting those meetings is not possible. However, we have seen that when you take a break between sessions and allow yourself to “reset,” it dampens that sense of growing stress or loss of engagement. So a simple cure for the overwhelming, disengaging feelings is to give yourself a break.
At Meaningful Alignment, we use a loving-kindness meditation that helps you fortify your capacity to release judgment and support your ability to empathize – to reset. We also have a 5-minute calming meditation you can do to calm anxiety and build self-awareness. These are qualities of a good employee, heart-centered leader, and emotionally intelligent person that you can practice while waiting to join your next virtual meeting.
Giving yourself breaks to pause and breathe is one of the most beneficial habits you can implement into your daily routine. Allow yourself to step away from the screen frequently and take a walk, or practice breathing exercises. Equally as important is your need to socialize and make time for others.
Be with people whenever you can because they need it just as much as you do. Go places where you feel safe and begin to get a taste of what Collective Effervescence does for your wellbeing.
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