Back in March, I was peacefully working in my glorious mess on week 3 of work from home, when my boss suddenly sent me a video call invite. And to say that my very world came crashing around me would be an understatement. I hadn’t taken a shower till then, actually, I hadn’t even combed my hair since the morning before my boss popped my happy, work from home bubble (God save me while she edits this story).
Right after getting the invite, I quickly gathered myself, did a quick “dry clean” and then logged in for the call. And while it might have lasted for hardly 10 minutes and was more of a really fun conversation, it felt like an eternity. Visibly exhausted post that call, I was left wondering what exactly went wrong there.
Truth be told, I have been equally indifferent about family video calls of late and in case you can totally associate with me while you read this story, then let me break this to you my friends: you and I might be suffering from what’s categorically called Zoom fatigue. What’s that you ask? Scroll through:
To begin with, when we say Zoom Fatigue, we are basically referring to the tiring, draining impact that any sort of video call can have on us. Now comes the main question? Why do we find all these video calls so draining? Tanvii Bhandari, Counselling Psychologist at Anchorage Counselling Services, answers, “It is because we are not used to being on video. Before this, we were going about our regular lives, we were busy in the office, being ourselves. It was all part of the routine. And now, this Zoom fatigue sets in because we are constantly on a display.”
She adds, “You can literally see yourself on the screen and you are constantly focussed on how you look, how you sound. You’d find yourself checking your hair, adjusting your posture, and constantly being aware of what you look like. On the contrary, on regular days we get up in the morning, get dressed, and then leave for work. We aren’t fixated upon what we look like. This is exactly why during physical meetings we are more focussed on what we are going to say instead of how we look while we are saying it.”
Zoom fatigue doesn’t exactly sound like the best-case scenario now as we adapt to the new normal, right? For instance, Twitter recently announced that most of its team would be working from home permanently now. Given that so many of us actually have the kind of jobs that can very well be navigated from homes, how do we eliminate Zoom fatigue, the only deterrent to an otherwise freeing idea?
Tanvii explains, “It is important to remember that this is just like any other sort of fatigue that one might experience. For instance, when you first start working after your college, you feel a little tired of the routine, right? However, once you get used to it, it is fine. It is just a matter of routine.”
That said, she does have advice for making Zoom calls a less exhausting experience. “Take control of yourself. Arrange your room in a way that you are happy with how it looks and you are not constantly on alert about the same. The same applies to how you are looking, get organised and then sit for the call, you don’t have to give so much importance to what you look like during the call. Not getting fixated on how you look is what you need to actively do here. Getting organised before a Zoom meeting will help you take the focus off yourself and your surroundings,” suggests Tanvii.
Here are a few more things that you can try to keep Zoom fatigue at bay:
Lastly, as Tanvii says, it is important to remember that all of this is so inundating because it is new to us and it is only a matter of time that it becomes the new normal.
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