Zoom Fatigue & the Effects on your Mental Health

Who knew that this year would bring so many Zoom calls and Facetime calls with coworkers, friends, and family? If you are finding yourself fatigued or worn out after all of these virtual calls, meetings, or conferences know that you are not alone. Many individuals are experiencing something that has now been coined the term “Zoom Fatigue”.

There are numerous reasons we might begin to feel tired after a Zoom call or multiple Zoom calls. One of those reasons is because this type of communication is difficult for our minds to process and understand. During a Zoom call our minds are trying to process multiple individual’s body language and expressions which is just not possible to do online. Psychiatrist Gianpiero Petriglieri explains this by saying: “Our brain has to make an extra effort to compensate for all those aspects of communication we lack, and that’s tiring.”

Along with trying to read body language, we are also met with the fact that we are also looking at ourselves while we are speaking which is also not a normal part of communication. We also begin to feel tired because our minds are not meant to stare at screens 24/7. It is exhausting when our socialization is even done online. This can affect us both physically and mentally. You might be thinking, I’ve done Zoom calls in the past though and never felt this type of exhaustion. Petriglieri explains that the main reason we are feeling this type of fatigue now and not in the past is because we are dealing with so much loss this year. We are using online platforms to communicate with people who we normally can see in-person or we have switched in-person conferences to virtual platforms and there is a loss that comes with that. We can’t help but think of what could have been and the communication experiences we are missing out on this year due to having everything online.

So, what can be done? It does not seem like Zoom calls are going to be going anywhere any time soon and because of that it is important we look at what we can do to help with this Zoom fatigue.

– Be aware of what needs to be a Zoom meeting and what does not. Would an email suffice instead of a Zoom call? Could you pick up your phone and call instead of Facetime?

– Hide yourself on Zoom. There is the option to hide yourself on Zoom, so that others can see you, but you cannot see yourself. This will help replicate somewhat normal communication patterns.

– Avoid multitasking. I know this is much easier said than done. I realize how tempting it is to check your email or other work while on a Zoom call, but research shows us that when we try to multitask, we are going to have a harder time remembering things. So do your best to close other tabs and pay attention to the Zoom call.

– Take care of yourself. If possible do not schedule Zoom meetings back to back. Take breaks throughout the day and move your body.

If you are feeling tired or fatigued because of so many Zoom calls, try and implement some of the tips mentioned above. Ultimately, make sure you are taking care of yourself and your mental health during these times. We are all dealing with so many things we never thought we’d have to be dealing with. So, take care of you and do not forget to give yourself grace.

Sources:

https://goop.com/wellness/mindfulness/zoom-fatigue/
https://hbr.org/2020/04/how-to-combat-zoom-fatigue
https://www.vidyard.com/blog/zoom-fatigue-tips/

Katie Zimmerman, Project Coordinator for The Kim Foundation

Katie Zimmerman joined The Kim Foundation in June 2019. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies and Sociology from Central College in Pella, Iowa. During her time in college, she volunteered at many non-profit organizations and took multiple sociology classes which focused on mental health. Katie’s role at The Kim Foundation includes running the social media accounts, assisting in the Youth Advisory Council, and providing mental health awareness and education to the community through A Voice for Hope and Healing presentations.

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