I just wrapped up another week full of Zoom meetings. Each week blurs into the next as my sights and surroundings in my “work from home” environment never change. Back when the majority of our meetings were in-person, unique attributes stood out such as which conference room we were in or who sat where. Now, with very few elements separating one meeting from the next, I find myself getting the topics discussed at each (and with whom) confused. The Brady Bunch format of videoconferences makes it difficult to recall who was in attendance which further complicates things when doing follow up.
This new way of holding meetings has many advantages—no travel time needed, no reason to compete for available conference room space, and the meeting can be easily recorded and archived. Another advantage our team discovered is it “levels the playing field” when you have all participants on Zoom versus a conference room filled with a group of people with just one or two people joining virtually.
With so many efficiencies using technology, why are so many of us feeling exhausted and fatigued? There are several reasons actually—and not all can be “blamed” on virtual meetings. It has been said that a clearly defined problem is 50% solved. So, let’s take a look at the factors that may be contributing to our feelings of Zoom fatigue and how we might mitigate them.
3 Factors Contributing to Our Zoom Fatigue
1. Neck and back pain: Be aware of your body mechanics during meetings. Prolonged sitting can lead to poor posture which can cause back and neck strain. Alternate sitting and standing if possible, adjust your camera and computer screen so you are viewing it comfortably at eye-level. Try not to slouch and ensure elbows are at a 90-degree angle with your keyboard.
2. Eye strain: Constantly staring at electronic devices creates eye strain. Be sure the lighting in your room is adequate. Take steps to block harmful UV blue light. This can be done by purchasing blue light filter glasses or a blue light blocking screen protector that can be applied over your screen.
3. Limit screen time distractions during meetings: It can be difficult to remain fully present when attending virtual meetings. To help you focus, turn off your email notifications and any other pop up settings you may have activated on your computer. In addition, Zoom has the capability to keep your camera active while preventing you from seeing yourself on screen—which can be a huge distraction.
These simple steps will minimize fatigue caused by virtual meetings, but we must remember that there are a multitude of factors that have led to increased feelings of stress and exhaustion in our culture. These factors extend beyond sitting in virtual meetings and include the pandemic, which, despite the positive news on vaccination rates and lessening of restrictions is entering its second year of impacting lives. The feelings of isolation, loneliness and hopelessness can consume our thoughts and erode our well-being. In addition, the daily barrage of civil unrest captured and shared on social media adds to the heaviness so many are feeling.
What We Have Control Over
It is important for us to recognize the difference between situations in our lives over which we do have control and those for which we do not. As it relates to Zoom fatigue, the good news is there are many steps within our control – sometimes it’s scheduling yourself a day without meetings, turning off your camera, or sticking to an agenda and keeping clear meeting notes. As for those other life situations that may be weighing heavy on your shoulders, know that resources exist to help you get back in control and find that inner peace. Nexus Family Healing is one of those resources. If you or a loved one is struggling, I hope you will reach out so we can support you.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Health Information Network (SHIN) has a Mental Health Facilities Locator that can also help you find community outpatient, inpatient, and residential treatment facilities, including mental health services in your area.
This blog article was contributed by Bobbi Kochevar, Chief Officer of Child and Family Services, for Nexus Family Healing.
Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health services, foster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 45 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org.