Too Much Zooming Got You Down?
The first couple of video calls were great. It was fun seeing everyone from work and being able to communicate with each other at one time from the comfort of home. But, after a few months of quarantine it now has a new name: zoom fatigue.
Although it is a convenient way to stay in touch, express our fears about COVID-19, and get the work done, it is now causing many of us some stress and anxiety.
“Video chatting can sometimes be more exhausting than face-to-face conversations because we have to work harder to interpret non-verbal communication,” explains Lisa Romano, LPC, ACS, Director, Outpatient Services. “When we interact in person, we're not only listening to their voices and looking at their faces—we're picking up on social cues, like hand and body and even a person’s energy.”
And then there’s also the stress that goes along with seeing ourselves on screen—something we usually don’t deal with when we interact with people in person. “This causes a feeling of being on stage and is often accompanied by a need to perform, which also requires more energy than a simple interaction,” adds Romano.
As many of us will continue using video chats as we work remotely, here are 5 helpful ways to reduce the stress and anxiety that comes virtual communication.
1. Set up a time during the day for a digital detox. Put away your phones, computers and tablets and calm the mind. Take a walk, a lunch break or read a magazine.
2. Don’t use the camera during the call. Only focus on people's voices. This will stop you from scrambling to look for which person is talking and watching them talk while your brain subconsciously searches for social cues.
3. Balance video chats with texting or a good old-fashioned phone call. Group texts, which can be an effective way to stay connected, ensure everyone is safe, and you can also share pictures and videos through this method.
4. If you need to do video conferencing for work, try to reduce the personal time spent videoconferencing to avoid overuse.
5. Practice a little belly breathing. This is one of the best techniques for quickly reducing stress and anxiety as well as to calm the mind and settle your blood pressure down.
Just remember, while none of us are certain how long we will need to rely on video conferencing, physical distancing, and working from home, in the meantime we do need to make our mental and physical health a priority.
If your stress and anxiety are keeping you from enjoying aspects of your daily living, our clinicians are available to help via our telehealth services. Call our main number at 844-4-ACENDA (844-422-3632) for more information.