How to Overcome Zoom Fatigue

Everybody and their mama is starting to use Zoom, literally. You know the app that allows you to see you and about 100 other people at the same time–yeah, that Zoom. Zoom had over 300,000 downloads of the app in one day in February and more in March.

During this time of the pandemic, jobs have switched to Zoom, graduations and even parties have also switched to the popular video conferencing service. Everybody is using Zoom as a way to see each other and stay connected. It’s a great form of communication, but over the past few weeks, mentions of “Zoom fatigue” have popped up more and more on social media. Plus, Google searches for the same phrase have increased day by day.

Zoom fatigue speaks to feeling so tired and lethargic after being on the computer with your face showing all the time. Zoom is just people on a video screen, but why is Zoom literally tiring us out?

Zoom fatigue can stem from how we process information over video. One expert explains that in a video call the only way to show we’re paying attention is to look at the camera. But, in real life, how often do we look directly at a person in their face and stay there? Not that often. According to the Harvard Business Review, it’s the engagement of a “constant gaze” makes us uncomfortable — and tired.

In-person, we are able to use our peripheral vision to glance out the window or look at others in the room. On a video call, because we are all sitting in different homes, if we turn to look out the window, we worry it might seem like we’re not paying attention. Not to mention, most of us are also staring at a small window of ourselves, making us hyper-aware of every wrinkle, expression, and how it might be interpreted. Without the visual breaks, our brains grow fatigued.

Experts also point to the increased amount of screen time your brain and your eyes are exposed to now that we have to use the computer to stay connected.

For example, one teenager was used to roughly 1 and 1/2 hours of screen time a day. Now, that screen time is up to 6 hours a day. That’s over a 500% jump!

Nava Silton is an associate professor of psychology at Mary Mount Manhattan College. She says all this screen time can be stressful for kids and adults.

“I think it’s really important for adults to recognize how much screen time they’re actually using now and to diversify themselves,” says Silton. “I think that they should…