The months of shelter-in-place rules and government restrictions have forced people to communicate via video conferencing tools, whether for work or personal matters. Video calls becoming a regular part of daily activities has brought about a new phenomenon called “Zoom fatigue.” This term describes the exhaustion an individual feels due to frequent conference calls, borrowing the name “Zoom” from the popular video conferencing tool.
Recent research from Stanford shows that the experience is worse for women. One in seven women reported to feeling very fatigued, while one in 20 men experienced the same effects.
Particular features of video call platforms aggravate Zoom fatigue, namely the self view that acts almost like a mirror. Having to be within the line of sight of a camera is also physically restrictive.
Fortunately, simple daily practices help combat the effects of Zoom fatigue.
Three Ways to Establish Boundaries
The issue with working from home is that it has blurred the lines between what constitutes time for work and time for rest. Three easy habits help you build strong boundaries between the two.
1. Have a change of scenery
Being in front of a screen all day is draining. Your mental health will benefit by spending time outside as a break from your responsibilities. Exposure to nature helps relieve stress and improves mood, so even taking a short walk will refresh you for the next batch of tasks you have to do.
It is also good to give yourself space to do things you enjoy. Paying a visit to your favorite nail salon franchise or beauty parlor helps make you more confident in your appearance, which affects how you carry yourself. Treating yourself without being overindulgent is good for you.
2. Designate a space for work
A mistake that many remote workers make is to make every space in the house a workspace. If you do work on your bed, at the kitchen table, and in the living room, your mind begins to associate these places with work instead of being places to relax.
Avoid this by having a clearly defined workspace at home. Make sure the area is free of clutter and visual distractions to allow yourself to stay focused on the task at hand. A generous amount of natural light also prevents lethargy and eye strain, which often results in headaches.
3. Follow a schedule
Without a clear time in and time out from work, your deliverables easily bleed into your household chores—or worse, your rest time. You should also have boundaries with the time that you pour into your job.
You are more in control of your time than you think. Set a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Inform colleagues that you will only be available to respond to work-related messages by a certain time and respect their hours as well.
Three Steps to Prepare for Video Calls
Still, the pandemic has made video calls a normal part of our routines. In the times when you have to attend virtual meetings, there are ways to prepare well.
1. Don’t neglect your grooming routine
Remote work has made it possible to show up to your office’s morning meetings just five minutes after waking up. Avoid this practice as much as you can. Sleep early and wake up early to give yourself enough time to freshen up for the day.
Dressing up for the day also helps you be more productive. When you look the part, it signals to your brain to act the part, too.
2. Turn off your camera when appropriate
The main reason being on Zoom calls is exhausting is the mirror effect of viewing oneself. You feel more self-conscious and expend more energy as you go through your meetings.
Take the opportunity to turn off your camera when it is not needed. This spares you from the anxiety of having to look at your appearance for the duration of a call. When your camera has to stay on, remove self view now and then.
3. Suggest communicating via other channels
Not every work agenda has to be addressed through a conference call. Assess which of your tasks and concerns are best dealt with by regrouping through Zoom, and which ones can be accomplished through chat, email exchanges, or even a simple phone call. This lessens the amount of times you have to attend virtual meetings daily.
There are situations when achieving a work-life balance means asserting your needs and rights as an employee. By understanding and responding to your body, you help lead a healthier work-from-home lifestyle.