By now I’m sure everyone has their PhD from Zoom University, because for the most people working from home, the Zoom platform has been the primary mode of communication. I can’t even count how many Zoom meetings, classes, family gatherings, and parties that I’ve gone to over the course of a few months. It’s even gotten so bad that I’ve been invited to exercise via Zoom – which is just taking it a bit too far.
It’s safe to say, zoom has consumed many of our lives and if you’re anything like me, it’s worn me out more than in-person gatherings. I’m all zoomed out, however, I’ve come up with a few suggestions to help people like me beat zoom fatigue and make things more manageable. But first, what exactly is zoom fatigue?
What is zoom fatigue?
Zoom fatigue is defined as the physical and mental exhaustion that occurs when people participate in video calls for an extended period of time. Symptoms can include headache, fatigue, eye strain and disinterest in logging on to zoom.
How can zoom fatigue be managed?
- Take scheduled breaks.
- Make meetings shorter.
- Turn your camera off.
- Avoid multitasking.
- Say no to meetings.
1. Take scheduled breaks.
With meetings that may be scheduled all day, you want to make sure that you are taking adequate breaks. Having back-to-back meetings can be counterproductive if you end up zoning out after a few of them. Instead, after each meeting take a 10-15 minute break and allow yourself to step away from the computer, drink some water, or get some snacks. In addition to this, schedule a day off from all zoom meetings if you are able to. Not only is it healthy for you to take scheduled breaks, but it will help to keep you engaged the meetings that you have .
2. Make meetings shorter.
Since meetings have been on zoom, people are under the impression that it’s okay to increase the duration because everyone is “stuck at home”. However, the long and drawn out meetings are what’s causing the increase in zoom fatigue. It’s no longer fun to be on zoom, it’s a chore! So whether it is a work meeting or a personal gathering, I encourage you to set a time limit for each meeting. Create healthy boundaries so that you can manage the amount of time spent in front of a computer screen. Not only will it eliminate fatigue, but decreasing the amount of blue light from the computer screen will reduce eye strain and headaches. If you have trouble with scheduling, read this in depth post.
3. Turn your camera off.
Having your camera on while on zoom can increase your self-awareness of your appearance and demeanor, which can in turn increase stress. If you are not required to have your camera on during your zoom call, opt keep it off as much as possible. It will take the pressure off of you to look camera ready all of the time and reduce the exhaustion of being on zoom.
4. Avoid multitasking.
As much as you can, try to be focused on completing your zoom meeting instead of diverting your attention elsewhere. It may be tempting if your meetings are extremely boring and you need a distraction, but multitasking will make matters worse. Being on zoom requires us to work much harder because not only do we have to focus on what multiple people are saying, but we have to try to decipher body language and tone through a computer screen.
5. Say no to Zoom.
I am by no means telling you to cancel all of your work meetings. However, meetings and correspondence via phone and email can be just as effective. So the next time a non-essential zoom meeting comes up, suggest that it be done over the telephone. More often than not, the other person will be relieved, too.
The more difficult option is to decline to zoom meetings altogether. If you are completely exhausted and a 15 minute break won’t suffice, don’t be afraid to say no to that virtual hangout with your friends or reschedule a meeting. In all things, take care of yourself first.
Some of these tips may be easier said than done, but remember that prioritizing your well-being is essential, especially in this pandemic. Creating healthy boundaries and implementing these tips will make zoom meetings more manageable and reduce the dreaded zoom fatigue.
Let me know in the comments which strategies have helped you combat zoom fatigue!