During the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are logging onto popular video chat platforms to connect with colleagues, family, and friends. Just as “googling” is akin to any web search, the term “zooming” has become ubiquitous, replacing the verb “videoconferencing”. As social distancing protocols have kept people apart physically, virtual meetings skyrocketed, and the effects have taken us by surprise. All these eyes staring at us up close for long periods can be strenuous. But why are these online meetings more tiring than face-to-face ones? Why do they drain so much of our energy?
Maybe, it is because people feel like having to make more emotional effort to appear interested. Or maybe the intense focus on words and sustained eye contact, due to the absence of non-verbal cues, are/is exhausting. Additionally, a heightened emphasis on facial cues and the ability to constantly see oneself may also be stressful. This form of tiredness, worry, or burnout arising from an overuse of virtual platforms of communication is referred to as “Zoom fatigue”.
So, what can we do about this novel and tiresome phenomenon? How can we reduce this state of distress, since it seems Zoom is here to stay? Of course, limiting the number of Zoom meetings seems ideal, but what if you’re a student and you just have to go to all these meetings?
Maybe mindfulness is a solution. By taking the time to practice your attention with mindfulness, this feeling of Zoom fatigue may decrease. Focusing your mind will make your meetings less tiring and more productive, as your attention is no longer split between all these different stimuli that you’re facing, and your general well-being will improve, as from now on zooming will be stress-free and mindful!