It is Fall 2021 and life has officially become part of a digital experience. It is hard to think of any significant part of our daily existence that has not been in some way transformed into interaction with a screen, whether it is doing your daily check-in to work, having a chai chat with friends around the globe, or grabbing a meeting over your tablet with your financial advisor. The novelty of having the world at your fingertips is still magical in a sense but also wearing us down. As human creatures, we need real, social interaction with human beings, nature and the world around. The other day I realized within the first twelve hours of my day, I had gravitated from my laptop, to my tablet, to my iPhone. The bright spot of my day was looking out the car window at the verdant coconut trees and rubber plantations on my drive to run an errand. The serenity, quiet and sheer beauty was a much-needed jolt of reality. Being in front of a screen, all the time, is not natural.
Being captive in front of a screen is not natural to our eyes and according to the Harvard Business Review, we blink 66% less when staring in front of computer. Late night comedians have all cracked the Zoom fatigue joke, but I found it interesting as a woman that an article by CBS News cited a study of 10,000 Zoom users where fatigue was reported disproportionately for women. Whereas 5.5% of men reported fatigue, women represented 14% who felt “extremely fatigued”. Mirror anxiety and the feeling of being more stared at during meetings were reasons noted in this study and echo the feelings many of my female friends and colleagues have expressed. There are good reasons why Zoom has added a feature where it appears that you have make up, a result of the stark reality of looking at yourself an entire Zoom meeting!
So what is the solution, I think it is evident. Let’s renew our commitment to appreciate beautiful Mother Nature around us…without a screen. The 20-20-20 rule could also be modified to spend at least 20 minutes every day out in nature, on a walk, on a drive, something that immerses our souls and renews them. Let’s go back to nature, even in a digital world.