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Fighting Zoom Fatigue

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

By Business Development Assistant Jacqueline Mumford

How have you been adjusting to the virtual world?

It’s been months, and we’re still not entirely used to it. Something I didn’t expect, out of all of the stressful, scary and uncertain situations, was what some people call “Zoom fatigue.” Until March of this year, I’d never heard of the video-conferencing platform. Now, I use it all day, every day, for work, church, school, birthday parties, book clubs, weddings, family reunions, and everything in between.

Along the way, I’ve found that while I’m more “connected” than ever before, I’m also much more tired. Back in January and February, I’d sit through a long tax class, struggling to pay attention, or barely make it through a tough day at work, but I’d be able to come home, relax and recharge, and feel better soon enough.

Now, I attend one or two meetings via Zoom, and I’m exhausted. Did my attention span rapidly decrease? Am I suddenly worse at processing information, or missing out on some Zzzs? Turns out, while I may be sleeping a little more and eating a bit worse during quarantine, it’s not our fault for our feeling more drained than usual. It’s a side-effect of the age of social distancing.

So, how can we stay in tune with all of our to-do’s, without falling dead asleep after every work day?

Mix Up How You Communicate

Video chatting and calls take up more energy than you’d think: you’re looking directly at yourself, at your friends or coworkers faces (all at once), their moving backgrounds, AND trying to listen all at once. Take all of these distractions and things demanding your attention, add the strain that naturally comes with staring at a screen, and you’ve got a pretty bad mix.

There are many ways to connect -- if you’re on Zoom and Teams all day for work, try calling your friend on the phone instead, sending an email or a text. Give your eyes a break!

Do One Thing at a Time

It’s hard not to multitask, especially when we’re all on our computers at home. This might work fine when we’re all in person, and able to lean over to our coworker and catch something we missed in a presentation, or review as we walk out of the office. But now that we’re physically distant, it’s harder to quickly talk to one another.

Past falling behind or being unable to quickly ask for clarification or participate fully, multitasking just adds more screens to look at! If sitting at a computer for a full work day in meetings and video calls wasn’t enough to tire out your eyes, running other programs, work and social networking sites in the background will exhaust your brain, too.

Seek Out Other Forms of Entertainment

I think very used to checking my phone when I need a little break, searching for a YouTube video or playing Candy Crush. After a long day, I love to queue up something on Netflix or maybe even a video game. These forms of media, while still fun, can add to your exhaustion.

If you’ve spent the last 8+ hours staring at a screen, it’s a good idea to take a break. If you’re looking for something to do, try to switch up the medium: take a walk, read a book, or listen to a podcast!

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