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  • Writer's pictureKarima Hastings

Zoom Burn Out.

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

How Trauma Informed Yoga Helped

With the Corona Virus swiftly approaching like an unseen tornado, the school where I taught for the past 19 years closed suddenly and with little warning. On Friday, March 15, I sent home an email to parents stating that there was the possibility that we would be closed on Monday and because of that, we were sending home all students' textbooks, workbooks, and folders as a preventative. I couldn't imagine it would be the last time I would see my students in person for the next 3 months.

As the weeks passed, I learned about Zoom as a teaching platform, and had some training sessions with a kind parent in my class. At first, I found it a ridiculous idea to teach second graders through Zoom calls. For heaven's sake, historically we discouraged young students from using technology at our school. I talked to a parent in my class who was also a teacher at a nearby private school, and had already had a couple more weeks of lock-down under his belt. He kindly brainstormed ideas with me about the benefits of making teaching videos and whether or not I should also include Zoom classes for second graders. I was finally convinced that I would need to teach through Zoom moving forward in order to preserve our classroom community. He drove home the point when he said, "Let's keep in touch and keep collaborating because we're going to be in this for a while." I let that sink in.

A while was much longer than I had anticipated.

I started using Zoom to teach small reading groups which was both lovely and awkward. I was getting used to seeing my students in small rectangular boxes and getting comfortable with the fact that some of the parents were listening to my every word. This was a new experience that I actually grew fond of. I found the parents extremely supportive and on-board and truly one of the biggest reasons that I made it through this period.

As my Zoom sessions increased daily with 2 sessions of second grade in the morning and 2-3 individual tutoring sessions per/day in the afternoon, plus a weekly staff meeting, I began to notice the extreme feeling of what I could only identify as, "Zoom Burnout". I had headaches. I felt dizzy and nauseous each day. I couldn't eat, or, would eat very little. I was losing weight, (which I didn't mind so much). This coupled with the pangs of missing my physical classroom and students. The relative ease it provided for completing simple tasks. For example, collecting an assignment from a classroom of 15 students online, turned me into a detective, tracking down evidence from Google Classroom, to lost emails, to text messages. Finished projects were everywhere and nowhere, depending on the student and their family. This added to my unsettled and frazzled nervous system.

I began realizing that I needed something to help regulate my own anxiety. So I turned to a trauma informed yoga class online through Yoga ed. I started gathering tools to use in my own life but also to pass on to my students. I learned to breathe, to move, and to think in ways that brought balance and calm in the midst of uncertainty.

While trauma informed yoga wasn't the end-all-be-all fix to my Zoom exhaustion, it's been a tremendous coping tool in helping me move forward into the unknown. I'm excited to share what I learned with others.




Here are some exercises designed for distance learners. Most of the techniques are demonstrated on a stool since we can use them while at the computer. Mountain Pose can be done before or after a Zoom session.

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