If you're feeling extra tired after a day of video calls, you're not alone. Zoom fatigue is real! It's described as; the feeling of tiredness, anxiousness or worry with yet another video call.
Dr. Janine Hubbard said the issue of "Zoom fatigue," named after the videoconferencing platform that many use during the pandemic, is a real issue many people are feeling right now.
"It's actually a thing, and it doesn't apply to just Zoom," said Dr. Hubbard. "It applies to all of the platforms that we're using at the moment."
"I noticed it even [in] the first week or two when I was starting to do all these meetings, and I couldn't figure out why I was just so drained at the end of it," she said.
"Because I'm like, 'These are meetings I have all the time, these are people I like.… Why am I feeling so exhausted?' And clearly, I wasn't alone in this phenomenon."
Why are we having Zoom Fatigue?
From having to focus on 15 people at on a screen in gallery view or worrying about how you appear as you speak, a number of things may cause someone to feel anxious or worried on a video call. This requires more focus and mental energy than a face-to-face meeting, said Vaile Wright, the American Psychological Association's director of clinical research and quality.
According to Jeremy Bailenson, the founding director of Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, the platforms naturally put us in a position that is unnatural. A combination of having prolonged eye contact and having someone's enlarged face extremely close to you forces certain subconscious responses in humans.
Though research into Zoom fatigue is still in the early stages, Dr. Hubbard said the exhaustion people are experiencing can be attributed to what she calls "a different kind of focus and attention."
"We do not normally stare directly with intense eye contact into our colleagues, or even our loved ones, for an hour at a time," she said.
"We're also not used to being on camera, and we are so focused at looking at ourselves, no matter how much we try to resist it."
So how do we reduce Zoom fatigue?
Second, "Giving yourself a break from the video, so perhaps if someone is presenting, making it OK for team members to say, 'I'm going to mute the video and I'm going to listen to the audio only,' and that not be taken as a sign of disrespect or disinterest. It's just that it's actually easier to concentrate that way." according to Dr. Hubbard