The Empath + Introvert Guide to Covid-19 Video/Talk Fatigue

Introvert/HSP/Empath: Save your energy during talks & video.

A lot of us, especially empaths/introverts/HSPs, are feeling inundated during Covid-19 by the new primary ways to interact being video, Zoom, FaceTime, and the like. Generally empaths love an in-person, good talk with a close friend, but Covid-19 has taken that away, causing increased loneliness while ironically often a simultaneous desire to run away from screens and phones!

I have heard from many clients about the influx of amount of calls and video starting to break down their sociable energies. Toss into the mix that beloved in-person chats are now unfortunately virtual screens of blue light and exhaustion. You might appreciate the extra reach outs of friends trying to support each other during this wild Covid time…and you might feel frustrated by the energy drain of it ALL.

Here’s what we’ll talk about to try:
1 – Video fatigue tips
2 – Assessing your energy for conversations

COVID-19 VIDEO + PHONE TIPS

  • Turn your phone on Do Not Disturb or Silent, etc, for a bit when you’re starting to feel depleted from increased calls or text notifications.
  • On FaceTime or Zoom video, move the laptop or phone farther from you so peripherally you can take in more of a window or other pleasant surroundings. Avoid sitting so that your vision feels engulfed by the screen face(s) in front of you.
  • Consider dimming the screen or lessening the volume if you’re feeling somatically overwhelmed or energetically inundated, where it’s difficult to be present also with yourself.
  • Make the window smaller: in a corner of the video window, click and pull in to make the window (and hence the face[s]) smaller and thereby less engulfing.
  • You can look elsewhere during video. You don’t have to stare with 100% focus at the person/screen. Let your eyes wander around your nearby space while you stay attuned partially to the person AND partially to yourself: can you feel your seat and your feet and your breathing while listening or talking?

ASSESSING YOUR ENERGY

Whether an empath/HSP/introvert or not, ask yourself these questions during the week, especially if you’re starting to feel drained or annoyed from too much video stimulation:

  • How many chats do you truly feel are enjoyable most days lately? Not the number you can force yourself to have, but the number per day or week that’s enjoyable, super manageable, and pleasant? Let that be the max number of chats for your next couple days; consider scheduling even fewer in case an impromptu invite.
  • Based on your energy and internal feelings (covid-19 emotions can change by the day or hour!), do you feel up to the 5pm chat that’s scheduled tonight? Do you want to make it a phone call instead of video if you’re sick of screens? Or so that you can take a walk while you chat? Will this person add to your vibrancy and energy or deplete it likely?
  • You do not have to keep scheduled video/call plans. You can note your energy level is low or emotions are high, whatever the case, and ask to reschedule the talk. Alternatively you can get on the call and share that it’s been a long day and you have maybe 20 minutes in you to chat (not two hours!) and would be up for a “part two” talk later.
  • You do not have to pick up a random phone or video call. Make boundaries; do not automatically go with what someone else wants in that moment since it might not be exactly what you want or need. And that’s ok. If you prefer scheduling a chat, suggest that to people so they know. If you’re totally over [text/video/phone], suggest another option.
  • Is a friend’s upset about Covid-19 your crisis? It might not be a crisis for them, remember! You are an amazing friend but tend to overly caretake. You don’t have to be the perfectly available, one who listens with 110% attention, for two hours, every talk. Loosen up a little. You’re still an awesome friend if walking and talking or you’re only interested/available/have energy to chat for 10 minutes. Let yourself off the hook. You have emotions and difficulties too — or would just rather watch TV right now (I know! Hard to say, but it’d really be ok šŸ™‚ ). And it’s ok if you don’t want your joyful mood to be brought down some by a friend you know is struggling, or to try to hold their struggle while you also struggle. Maybe not chatting this afternoon or this hour will be ok with both of you. Protecting your energy also means protecting your emotions.
  • This person who reached out whom you haven’t talked to in months or years, do you need to make time for them this week? Or even next week? Would catching up with them up about seemingly everything over the last months wear you out, or feel connecting?

Connectedness is critical right now.
Boundaries are also important right now.

Ask yourself what you really want rather than letting guilt or duty drive you into feeling wrecked by talk-overwhelm or supporting-overwhelm.

If you’re feeling barraged or confused in any ways, reaching out to professional support is also a (extra!) wonderful idea during this time of Covid-19. Especially if you’re supporting everybody else. Find a therapist in your area. In Colorado and want to talk? Email me or call below to set up an initial chat to see about our fit!

Brittany Bouffard, LCSW, Denver, CO:
720-432-4474
BouffardPsychotherapy@gmail.com