Zoom Fatigue is real - Have you been experiencing it? — R Voice

Zoom Fatigue is real - Have you been experiencing it?

Andrea Hayward
Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 454 admin
edited September 9 in Self-care & Wellbeing

Today I want to talk about something that we're all too familiar with - Zoom Fatigue. Even if you haven't come across the term, I'm sure you've experienced it in some way or another.

The pandemic forced many of us into a WFH setting and with it came a significant increase of Zoom meetings or video-conferencing through some other means. We're all aware of how mentally exhausting and emotionally draining these video meetings can be. I often feel like I have to mentally prep myself before a meeting and often experience some level of anxiety before a Zoom call, especially if I'm meeting the person for the first time.

I feel like there's also some guilt associated with feeling tired after Zoom meetings because technically you've been sitting in the same space and haven't moved around. But they're so draining that your other work ends up suffering and then you feel like you've "wasted" a day on meetings, even though meetings ARE work.

This is how I feel about Zoom Fatigue, and I'd love to hear your thoughts too. Have you experienced it? Is your experience similar to/different from mine? How do you deal with it?

Image Credit: Hitesh Sonar

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Comments

  • Yufita Chinta
    Yufita Chinta Member Posts: 102 ✭✭✭✭

    send you a tons of hug @Andrea Hayward. I wish there will be Zoom Massage instead of Zoom Fatigue someday. I have detached myself from lab's and social's zoom meeting for long time --> being absent from any zoom meetings. But, I can recall some similar experiences before that social distances. If the people in the meeting is easy going people or I am allowed not to turn ON the video, I usually get permission to sit in other places (kitchen, bed room, or veranda). I have regular meeting with my colleagues, which is always set up for an hour. Depending on the subjects, I try to request to cut the time 😋

    Ow, if the meeting is quit important but leading me to the zoom fatigue, I switch ON my aroma therapy diffuser during the meeting 😊

  • Omololu FAGBADEBO
    Omololu FAGBADEBO Member Posts: 37 ✭✭✭

    @Andrea Hayward, this is the reality of the new work environment. However, I have been trying as much as possible to ensure a balance. I have decided to prioritize acceptance of virtual meetings, except they are mandatory. I think all we need to do is to identify meetings in the order of priority. Our body needs that deserved rest. Zoom fatigue is mentally draining.

    One thing at a time

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 300 ✭✭✭✭

    YES! I am in this camp! I'm so fed up of spending my time in front of my laptop. It was particularly bad in the first lockdown because everyone still wanted "F2F" meetings and then families/friends were all up for Zoom quizzes and the like. Now people have realised we don't need a meeting for EVERYTHING and things have quietened a bit. Though, I think part of that is the position I'm in, I know people who have "Zoom Days" and hate them.

    I feel like now things have balanced out for me a bit. I've found hobbies that I can do at home that don't involve being on the computer. I use my laptop less for "fun" as it now feels like a work thing. It helps that we can get out and see people more too, but even without that..I've gone back to having actual telephone calls with people rather than video calls - which is way better for multitasking whether that's just everyday chores or a bit of crochet (though I do that on video calls with close friends anyway!)

    The one that I still really struggle with is Zoom Training...I just can't keep my focus on the way I can in person (and let's face it, even that was a struggle sometimes). I think that's in part because people haven't changed how they deliver training for a remote world, so I'm hoping that will evolve over time!

  • Isurika Sevwandi
    Isurika Sevwandi Member Posts: 51 ✭✭✭

    Great question Andrea! and let me approach it this way. First and foremost, of course I have experienced zoom fatigue being the host of many meetings because now most of the undergraduate teachings happen in zoom. My zoom fatigue is mostly associated with preparatory stuff: usually my zoom lectures start at 6.00 a.m. so I have to literally get up at 4.00 a.m., switch on my laptop, get my ppts ready to share in screen, have my morning tea and literally stimulate my self by force since students also will join from their bed😴😣half sleeping, half awake🤣On a usual day when we had one on one physical lectures at the department, I wake up at 6.00 and my lecturing programme start from 8.00 in the morning and it is so engaging and collaborative with energized cohort of students with warm smiles. This situation has now changed to low energy communication where the host is also drained after long zoom hours where he/she feels like speaking to no one because students rarely respond. I personally believed there is room for growth in zoom if we use it with much enthusiasm rather than just considering as an annoyance. If we can arrange meetings with great preparation but less time-consuming, discussing the exact points without wasting time they can be super useful but staring at screens continuously for long hours in detrimental to health. Therefore, it is really important to prioritize the meetings by putting in the best effort to make them productive as possible.

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 454 admin

    @Yufita Chinta thanks for the hugs! ❤️

    A zoom massage instead of zoom fatigue sounds fascinating. If there was an ongoing pilot program for this, I'd sign up right away lol 😄

    I do agree with what you've said about the experience being slightly less overwhelming if the people on the meeting are fairly easy-going and there are no rules are keeping your video turned on constantly. I tend to meet several new people in any given week, so I don't often have this option of turning my video off. So when I do, it's a welcome change for me.

    I like the idea of an aroma therapy diffuser for the times when you feel zoom fatigue coming along. I think I should find something similar. Something like a familiar comfort whenever this happens to me. Thanks for all the suggestions!

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 454 admin

    You're so right @Omololu FAGBADEBO! We do need to prioritize virtual meetings and accept only as many as we think we can take on. I understand that this is easier said than done, but it's something I'm going to try. Maybe one way to do this could be to ask colleagues if a meeting is really essential or if the discussion and/or decision could be closed over email. Do you think this could be effective?

  • Omololu FAGBADEBO
    Omololu FAGBADEBO Member Posts: 37 ✭✭✭

    @Andrea Hayward , it's worth trying. I have done it and it worked. You don't have to ask if the meeting is essential. Anyone who schedules a meeting would want others to attend. When you have such a meeting, except it is a mandatory work-related gathering, just look the other way. In the end, the recordings would be shared with you.

    One thing at a time

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 454 admin

    @Shruti Turner Family and friends Zoom meetings are very exhausting, even if they don't mean to be. Especially if a friend does an unplanned video call with me these days, I find myself staring at my phone in shock. I feel like a lot of my friends don't have job roles that require them to be on calls as often as I need to be and so they don't really understand where I'm coming from when I say I cannot do another call. :/

    "I use my laptop less for "fun" as it now feels like a work thing." - THIS! I fully relate. Before, I could still use my laptop to maybe listen to some music over the weekend, but now it just feels weird and I don't even like to see my laptop on if it's not a work day. I'm also trying to do other things that require me to be away from screens. Lately, I've started going for a walk and get in some skipping at least 2 times in the week. Even if I'm mentally exhausted after work, this does me a lot of good. Sometimes, I get to walk around in a slight drizzle and that just makes it more fun.

    For you it's Zoom Training, for me it's any update meeting that goes over an hour and a half. I feel physically exhausted after these, even if I haven't moved from my seat throughout. And I feel guilty because I want to listen and give the speaker my full attention but it gets increasingly difficult as the meeting progresses :(

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 454 admin

    Mmmn you make a good point @Omololu FAGBADEBO. Asking if the meeting is "essential" might even come across as rude. I'll see if I can soften the message and convey what I'm trying to say in a better way. I guess it also helps if you have colleagues who'd also rather not have too many meetings. Maybe then we could discuss this openly and come to a mutual understanding.

  • Omololu FAGBADEBO
    Omololu FAGBADEBO Member Posts: 37 ✭✭✭

    @Andrea Hayward, yes, I think it would be better if there is an agreement of meeting schedules to be limited to those who are essential. Otherwise, decisions and positions could be shared via email.

    One thing at a time

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 454 admin

    @Isurika Sevwandi I'm so glad you brought up the point of being the Zoom meeting host. I feel like it's worse when you're the host because everyone else is looking to you for direction and if you're not enthusiastic and happy to be there, then everyone else will follow your cue and also be disinterested. Often, I feel like just "being on and peppy" for these meetings regardless of how I'm actually feeling makes me very exhausted. 😣

    Gosh! That's so much prep work and so early in the morning 😰 I can't imagine how difficult it must be, especially when you know the students are going to be attending from their beds and there's no way for you to know for sure whether you have their complete attention. Must be very frustrating.

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 454 admin

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this @Omololu FAGBADEBO! :)

    I am feeling much better and like I'm not alone in experiencing this challenge. It always helps me to get someone else's perspective!

  • Omololu FAGBADEBO
    Omololu FAGBADEBO Member Posts: 37 ✭✭✭

    You ate welcome, @Andrea Hayward. Your thought-provoking views are always nuggets for safeguarding mental health.

    One thing at a time

  • Isurika Sevwandi
    Isurika Sevwandi Member Posts: 51 ✭✭✭

    Yes indeed Andrea, it is such a frustration, but you practice much endurance and how to keep going during difficult situations instead of focussing on external feedback 😄I think it helps me to face many challenges in life as well, but obviously the fun bit is missing in these zoom meetings, so you need to get ready to enjoy yourself, your own company and efforts and of course your own voice 😎

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 454 admin

    @Isurika Sevwandi you make a very good point about preparing to enjoy yourself, hearing your own voice, and the content of the Zoom meeting regardless of how the other's might respond. I don't think I'm any good at this right now and feel like I need to rely on cues from others. This is something I need to work on. Right now, if I get the slightest hint that the others might not be interested or rather fully invested in the meeting, I tend to feel low and demotivated, and like I could have done more somehow to make the content more engaging. I guess performing in a virtual work setup will always be a learning process. I really appreciate your inputs! ☺️

  • Yufita Chinta
    Yufita Chinta Member Posts: 102 ✭✭✭✭

    wow, @Isurika Sevwandi I can't imagine how you deal for your morning. Wake up at 4 a.m. or 6 a.m. and then have to be ready for the meetings or lectures with students. And of course, as @Andrea Hayward mentions, you could extract the positivity on using the zoom meeting. wow, wow, wow.... You must be a highly passionate teacher. I admire you.

  • Isurika Sevwandi
    Isurika Sevwandi Member Posts: 51 ✭✭✭

    Thanks @Yufita Chinta for the amazing appreciation! It gives me much strengh to move ahead in my teaching career. Yes, I am truly passionate at teaching and I beleieve it is the best "profession" in the world because you can change the lives of many individuals with your strong intervention no matter from which background they come from. You don't need to be a teacher defined by career, but if you are passionate eneough and committed towards teaching, even your single word, a reply to a text and answer to a random call from a fellow student/friend/ relative or a stranger can make their lives change out of the blues for a huge success. Even small successes and changes can have compunding effects in the long run. If they wish to become teachers/lecturers becuase of their experinece with you; trust me that's the best feeling even and they will be progressive contributing to the world and academia even when you are died becuase of your inspiration🤩

  • Yufita Chinta
    Yufita Chinta Member Posts: 102 ✭✭✭✭

    I can feel you're a very soft teacher with your high passion and positive foresight by reading your response above, @Isurika Sevwandi. Although I am not a teacher right now, I accept your suggestion and would like to apply it as a human being. Pumping positivity everywhere to everyone 😍🤩😍. Lovely to discuss with you. I feel positive, @Isurika Sevwandi

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 454 admin

    Have to agree with @Yufita Chinta on this one! @Isurika Sevwandi you are indeed a very kind and passionate teacher and your students are incredibly lucky to have someone like you guiding them along their journeys. You deserve every acknowledgement and compliment ❤️

  • Isurika Sevwandi
    Isurika Sevwandi Member Posts: 51 ✭✭✭

    Thanks a lot @Andrea Hayward and @Yufita Chinta for your lovely words. I feel energetic and much blessed! Zillions of hugs on the way 🤗😘😍