Have you noticed that after spending time on Zoom, you feel tense or tired? This experience is common (and yes, very real) that it has even been given its own name; “Zoom fatigue”.
This is a guest blog with some very current content from our favorite movement expert and coach; Sarah McAllum, a Feldenkrais Practitioner & Movement Coach.
Check her out at Movement Works NZ.
A good portion of the time we Zooming from our home environment. Which means that you might not be in your ideal ‘work’ environment. Some of you might be lucky to have a great home office set up, but plenty of us are perched at the kitchen table, squashed into a small corner of the bedroom or even out in the garage!
You are also much more likely to have other distractions from your family, flatmates or kids in the background.
Not to mention a certain level of anxiety about what’s happening with this global pandemic that got so many of us into this new way of working in the first place.
Some of these factors can be managed or improved, but it is important to acknowledge these environmental aspects all have an impact on our overall level of comfort, tension and ability to concentrate before we even turn our computer on!
Zoom adds an extra layer of weirdness to the online experience because having your video broadcast out there heightens your awareness of being seen and appearing “on”. This vigilance and self-monitoring can be exhausting.
With having a video call we assume that everyone is paying attention to every move we make. But of course, this isn’t really true. Everyone else on the call is probably also worried about their own self-view (and wondering is what my neck really looks like?!).
Of course, you can simply turn your camera off so you can’t see yourself or change the view to speaker view (assuming someone else is doing most of the talking). This can be quite liberating. However I also found it a little anxiety inducing. Without being able to see myself, I couldn’t monitor whether my expression still read “interested” or how many times I did things like touch my face without realizing. I also found I wasn’t as engaged in the meeting and tended to start multi-tasking.
When we have the camera on we tend to keep our heads in the middle of the screen and sit in one position for a long period of time. This fixed posture and gaze also add more tension and strain to our usual sitting posture.
When I’m on a Zoom call, I notice that I stay VERY still with a wide fixed stare. Almost like a possum caught in headlights. It doesn’t help that my laptop is old and the camera blurs with any movement from my end. This means I also often cross my arms to curb my tendency to wave them around.
And I’ve observed similar posture and fixed gazes in others on my Zoom calls.
The good news is that there are some things you can do to avoid Zoom fatigue and improve your posture during Zoom meetings, whether the camera is on or camera off.
Here’s my top 5 solutions for avoiding Zoom Fatigue: