Turn Off the Web Cam

We are barely 3 weeks into most of the #StayAtHome recommendations and we are already over the web-based meetings with video. We are exhausted! Our new verb “Zooming” is zapping our energy but we can’t figure out why. After all, isn’t this what we wanted? To be able to work from home? And if you are working from home, you still want to be able to connect face to face with people right? Well, yes, but let’s not get crazy. I’ve heard some people share they’ve been on 5-6 hours of Zoom calls each day, for several days in a row! Holy moly! That’s a lot of meetings under normal circumstances, but how much more exhausting this is in the new virtual world.

Why is it so exhausting? We need the social interaction, whether for work or family & friends. And I love that I can have happy hour with old friends in Montana because now they also have to meet virtually. But it is tiring.

Part of it is the way our brains process information. Not only can we see everyone’s face at once, but we can see ourselves! I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had to watch myself through every single meeting I’ve attended. We’ve had Skype meetings at my work for a while now, which is great, but we got to break them up with some in person meetings. Not now though. And I find myself watching myself and wondering weird things like “can they tell I’m not totally paying attention” “does my hair really look like that?” “what was I thinking when I chose that shirt this morning”

We are also more anxious than ever. Even if you don’t have diagnosed anxiety, we are all in a new way of living, transitioning into a new normal way of life, and that’s not good for anyone’s health!

I’ve found a couple of different posts (check them out here here and here) on the topic and wanted to share a couple of great ideas for helping with your Zoom-Fatigue.

  1. Change from a video call to a old-fashioned phone call. Now don’t tell my teenage self, but I’m not a fan of talking on the phone. I think it comes from working in talent acquisition and all the phone screens! But talking on the phone uses different parts of your brain and I’m looking forward to talking a “walk” with a friend this weekend rather than sitting in front of a computer having the chat.
  2. Don’t schedule back to back meetings. Be sure you take time between meetings to step away from your computer, take a bio-break, take a walk, look at something far away to adjust your eyes.
  3. Choose speaker view so you don’t have to look at EV-ERY-ONE. You can then give your attention to the one person talking and not everyone else. I did that today & it was so great to stop looking at myself!
  4. Take pen & paper notes. Research is showing that pen & paper notes lead to better retention (I think part of it is giving you hands something constructive to do — typing notes is a lot different than writing them).
  5. Turn it off. You don’t need to attend every meeting/party you are invited to. It can be tempting because you are tired of being stuck at home looking at the same people every day! When you can, be picky about who and when you connect. My friend Anne has made the decision to not connect in the evenings because she spends a lot of time during the day on Zoom.
  6. Unplug all together. Turn off the video conferences, the social media, the email, all of it. Disconnect and go for a walk. Go on. Go!

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