Mental health experts say constant video chat and Zoom meetings are draining users more than in-person conversations, and Zoom fatigue is setting in. 

“Zoom fatigue is a unique kind of exhaustion that occurs when people participate in teleconferencing calls for an extended time period,” says Savitri Dixon-Saxon, Ph.D., the vice provost for Walden University’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and a licensed professional counsellor. “Mental health experts suspect that Zoom fatigue happens because interacting over video calls is so different from meeting in person,” she adds.

In video calls, you need to focus on multiple colleagues at once and each person on a call has a different background that draws the eye, so this can trip you up a bit too. You also need to be able to concentrate without constant interruptions. 

When these stressors stack up, they can leave you feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and more irritable than usual, and there may also be some physical side effects associated with those feelings, such as eye strain, pain in the spine, etc.

Here are a few ways to manage Zoom fatigue:

  1. Keep your schedule tight and meetings as brief as possible.
  2. Make sure to take comfort breaks between two meetings. 
  3. Dial-in for audio-only or turn off the video and listen to the audio for a portion of your calls. “People need that break from looking at their own image all day,” Dixon-Saxon says.
  4. Decline meetings when you must.
  5. Try dressing up for important Zoom calls. Putting in some work on your appearance will help shape your mood. 
  6. Have real conversations instead of staring at slide presentations to communicate ideas.