If you feel exhausted after hours on end of video calls, you're not alone. A recent study conducted by Stanford has found that 'Zoom fatigue' is in fact real. To support their case, the researchers state the four main causes of the recent phenomenon, along with a few simple fixes to help combat it.
A year into the pandemic, we've all sat through more Zoom calls than we'd have ever thought possible. Whether you've been working from home for months, or are filling your evenings and weekends catching up virtually with loved ones from afar, it's no secret that our screen time over the last twelve months has skyrocketed. And if you've ever caught yourself feeling extra drained––in mind and body––the new study shows that this feeling of exhaustion is linked to the sheer amount of video calls.
Prompted by the recent boom in videoconferencing, communication Professor Jeremy Bailenson, the founding director of the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL), examined the psychological consequences of spending hours per day on these platforms. His findings narrowed down four key reasons for the fatigue:
- Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact is highly intense.
- Seeing yourself during video chats constantly in real-time is fatiguing.
- Video chats dramatically reduce our usual mobility.
- The cognitive load is much higher in video chats.
To help remedy Zoom fatigue, the report also includes simple solutions which may help with individuals' well-being. These include hacks such as making use of the “hide self view” option on Zoom; using an external video camera that is farther away from your screen; and allowing yourself “audio only”, i.e.: not only turning off your camera to take a break from having to be nonverbally active, but also turning your body away from the screen.
So, next time you're feeling burned out from simply looking at yourself on screen all day; get up, take a walk, position yourself further away from your computer, and try your camera turning every so often––sometimes a good old-fashioned phone call will suffice.