Recovering from Zoom Fatigue
While things have begun to look upwards from the pandemic, many of us are still stuck spending countless hours on Zoom. Whether it’s taking classes from home, working from home, or even just trying to spend time with others virtually, it is all taking place on a video call. Multiple calls a day can feel physically and mentally exhausting, but there are a couple ways to help with that.
Zoom Fatigue - It’s a Real Thing:
Do you ever feel really tired after a Zoom call, even if it was only an hour? Do you ever find your head hurting after a Zoom call? These are all signs of Zoom fatigue. In a recent study done this March, one researcher claims that the concept of Zoom fatigue is scientifically backed: hours on a video conference call can actually lead to stress on the body.
There are several different factors that can all lead to this feeling of fatigue. Jeremy Bailenson asserts in his 2021 study that staring at the same screen all day and making direct eye contact can lead to eye strain. Additionally, since you can see yourself on camera and may be constantly staring at yourself, you become more aware of the body language that you’re presenting and stress about how others are perceiving you. Lastly, being on Zoom requires hours of extended sitting, so this reduced mobility also contributes to the physical toll on your body. 
Zoom - It’s Likely to Stay, So How Can We Make it Better:
Take a camera break: If you are feeling tired and worn out, turn your camera off for just a few minutes if possible. This allows you a break of staring at yourself and worrying about the message your video is sending others.
Plan breaks: If you are the person in charge of the video meeting, make sure to include at least 5 minutes of rest time for all of the callers, instead of forcing a nonstop meeting. Even just a quick break can help everyone recharge. If you are not in charge, try to schedule your calls to have time in between them to rest. Just having a quick moment to step away from all of your technology can be very beneficial in combating Zoom fatigue.
Go outside: If possible, take your zoom calls on a walk or in an outdoor space. One company in Australia is testing the efficacy of outdoor zoom calls, and how it can reduce stress and make meetings more enjoyable for their employees.  They are specifically organizing calls that only require audio only to allow their employees a chance to spend time outdoors to combat the effects of zoom fatigue. Similarly, researchers in Sweden just concluded a two-year long study on the effects of transitioning to more outdoor work meetings and tasks. They found that working outside led to “enhanced cognition and better communication”, along with a general sense of well-being.  While this is not on Zoom, this research suggests that working outside has great benefits for employees.
Focus: As students, it’s very easy to hop onto a zoom call, and then immediately start working on another assignment, or even start online shopping (if you’re anything like me!). However, this can make you even more exhausted as your brain tries to process multiple tasks at once. If you want to feel less drained and more focused, put your full attention onto the zoom call.
Zoom can be draining, but it is likely the new norm. In order to improve your experience, find the best tactics that work for you and make Zoom calls moret bearable. Zoom is an incredibly useful tool that is helping to keep us all safe, so we should work to make the most out of it.