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Zoom Fatigue

Posted on November 13, 2020

A year ago, we may have had an occasional video conference but the bulk of our interactions with our friends and family were in-person. These days most of our interactions are virtual on Zoom or some other video conferencing software; in addition to attending virtual classrooms and working from home, we are trying to stay connected with our loved ones by having virtual happy hours and birthday parties.

Video meetings have made it possible for us to connect with family and friends, work, and attend classes without leaving home. But video meetings aren’t the same as in-person meetings and they often leave us feeling exhausted. Video conferences increase our stress levels and leave us exhausted for a few reasons:

  • eye strain and headaches;
  • it’s distracting and awkward to see yourself speaking;
  • it’s hard to read other peoples’ non-verbal cues;
  • technology problems; and
  • on top of it all, we are going through a pandemic!

The exhaustion we feel after back to back Zoom meetings is called Zoom fatigue. But how do we fight it?

  1. Put your computer a little to the side and take notes on paper instead of staring at your screen and typing notes.
  2. If you can, turn off your camera or call in using your phone. If you can’t turn your camera off, change the layout of the meeting or put a post-it over your square so you can’t see yourself.
  3. Don’t multitask. During a meeting, try not to check your email or text on another screen.
  4. Maintain a daily routine: set an alarm, get dressed, and eat well. If you have a long day of meetings, schedule breaks and take a walk or stretch.
  5. Create buffers between school, home, and work. These barriers can be physical or temporal. For example, set up a desk where you only do classes or give yourself a short “commute” to get your mind ready for what is coming up next.
    COVID-19 is going to restrict our movements and prevent us from being face-to-face for classes, work, and fun for the foreseeable future. Take a break and take care of yourself!

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