Do you ever feel completely spent after a video meeting/class, even if it’s only for ten minutes?
It isn’t just you, and there are other underlying causes other than social anxiety or a lack of enthusiasm. We’ve included them here, along with suggestions for how to cope with these unpleasant side effects.
1) Zoom dysmorphia
While working and Singapore Coding Club | Top Coding, Robo…studying from home allows us to avoid unwelcome social interaction, it has the disadvantage of requiring us to spend more time staring at a computer.
For some of us, this can be unsettling and even dangerous. It’s difficult not to scrutinize our appearance and find flaw after flaw, completely oblivious to the fact that our proximity to the computer camera lens (and its quality) can affect how we appear. As a result, our self-esteem suffers, leading to a condition known as ‘Zoom dysmorphia.’
In a piece for The Guardian, Dr. Shadi Kourosh, the dermatologist, and lecturer who coined the term Zoom dysmorphia explained how, as society’s reliance on video chats has grown, more people are seeking cosmetic operations, unaware of how technology distorts their appearance. If you’ve recently been feeling insecure about your appearance, we hope that remembering this occurrence can help.
2) Zoom fatigue (physical)
When lectures or meetings drag on, they worsen the issues we already have with computer use. Dry eyes, stiffness from keeping eye contact or a ‘correct’ posture, muscle strain, dehydration from not drinking enough water, and more are examples of these symptoms.
Here’s a tip: when you wake up, have a flask of hot water and a bottle/jug of room temperature water ready! If you keep them at your workstation, along with some of your favorite beverage mixes, you’ll drink more water. Prepare a bottle of eye drops as well.
Remember to relax your muscles and let the stress out with brief stretches throughout the day!
3) Zoom fatigue (mental)
Our minds are working overtime during a Zoom or Microsoft Teams conversation, even if it doesn’t feel like it.
You will be able to do a lot in an hour (or three):
- Attempting to focus on the speaker(s) and pick up on any useful nonverbal cues, if any, and comprehending what they imply in the context of a virtual call
- Getting acclimated to the number of people watching at you while you talk, as well as dealing with the anxiety of being on camera
- You may be self-conscious or hyperaware of your surroundings, as well as the potential for technical breakdowns. During presentations, I’m not very good…
- Trying to decode the audio from a video call. Call sound quality has improved over time, but it could be better yet; data loss makes our voices sound flat, and we miss out on the spatial audio cues that face-to-face talks provide.
With so much going on, it’s easy to see why we’re experiencing cognitive overload. For want of a better description, our brains are fried, and they weren’t designed for this kind of multitasking.
Here are some suggestions that may be useful:
- To make conversations simpler to follow, turn on closed captions/subtitles. You won’t obtain perfect transcriptions, but it will relieve some stress on your head and give you a nice laugh in the process.
- Make a deal with your coworkers or groupmates to only speak one at a time.
- Turn off your video for a few seconds, take a deep breath or look away from the screen, and then turn it back on.
More general tips:
If you’re using Zoom for group meetings or groupwork conversations, make a commitment to finish on time. This means that everyone must hold themselves/each other responsible for arriving on time and concentrating on the work at hand. If your meeting is meant to last an hour, it should, unless there are unavoidable reasons, last an hour.
Move your computer screen further away from you so that you are less ‘near’ to your students or colleagues. This will give you the impression of having more personal space. An external camera could be beneficial! If moving away makes you feel too little, you could first reduce the size of the video display screen.