Opinion

Opinion: Creative outlets to cope with Zoom fatigue

Photo by Mackenzie Hudson

Throughout what is continuing to feel like a never-ending pandemic, I have gone through several different phases to try and pass the time. Especially with Zoom classes and discussion board posts, I find myself exhausted day-after-day with a lot of pent-up creative energy, yet nowhere to expel it. 

However, recently I have been searching for new, healthier outlets for this energy I feel the need to release. If you are anything like me, after a long day of classes and work, taking the time to let yourself do something enjoyable away from screens can be a great relief. 

Sadly, that is much easier said than done. Finding something enjoyable to do at the end of the day without using a computer or phone presents another challenge, especially when screens seem to dictate our lives. Here are a few things that have helped me find a healthy, creative outlet to end my days feeling refreshed and reflective. 

Jewelry making

Through a late-night scroll on TikTok, I stumbled upon a video of someone making wire-wrapped rings, similar to one I had bought off Etsy. With a description of all of the tools needed to replicate the rings, I had everything I needed to join in on this new trend. 

After a trip to Michael’s for 20 gauge wire, an assortment of beads and gemstones, a ring mandrel and wire-cutting pliers, I was excited to try my hand at making rings and see if I was any good at it. It took a few tries and a lot of trial and error to find out what type of style I preferred and get better at cleanly wrapping the wire. Only a few weeks after making my initial ring, I have made about 30 more. 

I have also enjoyed making earrings and necklaces along with rings. There is never a limit on what you can make with some charms, beads and wire, and making something unique is surprisingly fun.  

The process of creating something tangible is such an exciting thrill. Making something and being able to hold it in your hands provides a reassuring feeling I had not expected. Of course, not everything you create will come out a masterpiece, but knowing that I can try again prevents me from feeling burnt out. 

Writing

[Photo of a someone writing]
Photo by Mackenzie Hudson | The Arbiter

Since writing is not only my job and involved in a majority of my schoolwork, I often hit block after block and struggle to even formulate new ideas to pursue. It may seem redundant to claim that writing has proven to be the solution, but it has.

Most of my professional or academic writing takes place on my computer, leaving me with sore eyes and tense muscles. But investing the time to write the old-fashioned way has been another outlet I encourage others to try. 

There is something soothing and almost therapeutic about writing in a notebook by hand. When I usually do any creative writing on my laptop, I would still feel the painful effects of staring at a screen for too long. But if you enjoy writing and have faced a similar issue, writing in a notebook can lead to new ideas and sparks of creativity. 

I have never been one for keeping a diary or journaling my thoughts, but even reflecting over a nagging conflict or something upsetting is super relieving. Getting negative feelings out on paper is a great way to sort through your emotions and recognize what you are feeling, even if you do not care to recount your entire day. 

Yoga

In the past, I have gone to a few yoga classes, but I never enjoyed being told what to be thinking about or focusing on. Along with that, creating and sticking with an exercise schedule has never been a strong suit of mine. But recently, in a burst of interest, I took about 30 minutes before bed to spend stretching and mimicking the yoga poses I had seen in past classes. 

Typically, I really struggle to fall asleep and often toss and turn in bed for an hour or two before I finally do sleep. Even then, I usually wake up multiple times throughout the night and once again struggle to fall back asleep. After my brief DIY yoga session, I fell asleep faster than usual and slept through the night.

I decided to continue with these nightly yoga sessions, and I have continued to see large improvements in not only my sleep, but also my overall energy throughout the day. 

Finding new things to do that do not involve staring at a screen for hours on end can be a challenge when we are living in a global pandemic. With school and work often dominating our lives, having a healthy, creative outlet can really make all the difference in your life.

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