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“Zoom Fatigue”: 5 Tips to Help

By: Emily Morris

What is “Zoom Fatigue?”

Over the past few months, if you have been finding yourself more tired than unusual after a long day of video calls, perhaps you are experiencing “Zoom Fatigue.” While it is named after the online platform Zoom, the term “Zoom Fatigue” is relevant to all video conferencing services (i.e. Skype, Google Hangouts, Doxy, FaceTime, etc).

Zoom Fatigue refers to the exhaustion and overall burnout from constant exposure to video calls and screens throughout the day. It’s normal to feel fatigued after sitting in front of a camera all day long. When we are staring at a video of ourselves constantly throughout the day, we may become self-conscious or hyperaware of our appearance and feel like we always need to be “on” and responsive.

Why is it especially relevant now?

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems like almost everything these days has moved online. Whether it’s a business meeting, online class, family or social gathering, and everything in between, we are interacting across various remote platforms all day long, which is physically and mentally draining. As we continue to adapt to this new “normal,” it is essential to make time for self-care and reduce the possibility of burnout.

5 tips to help with Zoom Fatigue:

Take breaks. Sitting at the computer all day is tiring, especially when the camera is turned on. Try to schedule some downtime in between video calls so that you don’t have calls back to back. During longer video calls, suggest to the host that they schedule in a 5 minute break halfway through the meeting where participants can turn off their cameras, rest their eyes, grab something to drink or eat to refuel, and take a few minutes for themselves.

Avoid multitasking. It’s easy to become distracted by the various stimuli on your computer, in addition to the things going on around you. Engaging in different activities during video calls can contribute to the feelings associated with Zoom Fatigue. Multitasking can also reduce your productivity, which, in turn, could increase your stress.

Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness can benefit us in a multitude of ways, including reducing anxiety and stress, improving sleep, and regulating and coping with emotions. Mindfulness can look very different for everyone. For some, mindfulness might mean meditating for 30 minutes, while for others, it may look like a 10 minute deep breathing exercise. If you are new to mindfulness, check out some of the apps, like Headspace and Calm. You can explore different options to find out what feels right for you and helps you best detox from your screens.

Exercise. When we are sitting in front of our screens all day, we are not allowing our bodies enough opportunities to be active. Scheduling time throughout the day to move your body – even if it is just 5-10 minutes every few hours – can help you regulate and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Outdoor exercise is especially beneficial if you are feeling cooped up inside all day. Try taking a 20 minute power walk to give your mind and body a break from screens.

Phone calls. Scheduling a video call or FaceTime with a friend or colleague? Is video really necessary? Perhaps you would consider giving each other’s eyes a break from screens for the duration of your meeting and having a phone call instead, allowing you both a bit of time to recharge before your next scheduled video calls that day.

Share these tips with friends, family, and colleagues who might also be experiencing Zoom Fatigue! You are not alone in these feelings!