Virtual interactions are taxing on our brains in a whole new way. As a result, there is physical and psychological exhaustion that goes along with this phenomenon.
The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou
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Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been an increased use of online video platforms like Zoom. With this comes a noticeable negative after effect where extreme fatigue is experienced.
Worse for Women?
According to researchers from Stanford University, this condition is more apparent and reportedly worse in women. The institution conducted a study with over 10.000 people and concluded that one in seven women and one in twenty men do, in fact, experience zoom fatigue.
Previous research has consistently collated data from anecdotal methods. However, progress has been made with a present study in which numerical data has been produced. The experiment, which is available as a reprint, detailed that mirror anxiety is a critical factor that differentiates the levels of exhaustion between women and men.
Women more occasionally feel constricted due to being seen in the camera as the Zoom program features a self-view. Participants are constantly watching their reflection and, in turn, become more conscious about their appearance leading to unideal self-provoked opinions.
Interventions for this include attending meetings only by phone calls, reserving a day for which rest from online sessions, and checking in with others will help in tackling this side effect.
Why Do We Feel Zoom Fatigue?
Stanford points out four reasons why we feel Zoom fatigue:
1. "Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact is highly intense."
2. "Seeing yourself during video chats constantly in real-time is fatiguing."
3. "Video chats dramatically reduce our usual mobility."
4. "The cognitive load is much higher in video chats."
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How To Fight Zoom Fatigue
Stanford professor Jeremy Bailenson found four ways we can prevent the dreaded Zoom fatigue:
1. Shrink the Zoom screen: When you're in Zoom having a conversation with one person or many, it's the equivalent of eye contact. The way that the faces are set up is that one face is looking at another, which is an experience that can be very intense for us.
2. Hide self-view: Professor Bailenson recommends this because some research shows that people who see themselves in a mirror all day tend to have lower scores on psychological wellness. When you use the hide self-view feature, you don't see yourself and therefore don't criticize yourself and create that negative feeling that can come from that.
3. Use an adjustable setup: Get up and walk around. Having a more flexible setup means backing out the frame or having a keyboard that lets you back up and maybe stand up and pace a little bit. You can still move but be within the frame and engaged, it allows your blood flow, which will keep you healthier, and it's going to help reduce Zoom fatigue.
4. Go audio only: Not only turn your camera off but het up and walk around, so you're not even looking at the screen. That way, you give your brain a break, and that breathing room helps minimize Zoom fatigue.
This is a phenomenon many of us are experiencing as we try to connect with work, family, and friends during this pandemic. You may feel burnout by all that extra FaceTime, but there are some easy fixes. Take care of your mental health and make teleworking a more pleasant experience during these difficult times.