Why Are Zoom Meetings So Draining?

May 21, 2020

When quarantine first started I was so glad to have Zoom to stay in contact with the world. I had used Zoom previously for educational and business purposes. However during quarantine like everyone else I used it also for socializing. In fact I even celebrated my birthday with my friends on Zoom.

In the beginning I didn’t understand it but then I noticed that whenever I have a Zoom meeting, afterwards I feel like all my energy has been sucked out of me. And last Tuesday I experienced what happens when I have more than 1 meeting in one day ( the annswer: I feel like shit). I guess I’m not the only one. Of course there are many people not as lucky as me and who are forced to attend one Zoom meeting after another. So what’s so draining about these Zoom meetings? Let’s take a look.

SEEING YOUR OWN FACE WHILE TALKING: Can there be a more alienating feeling? Normally when we’re speaking with someone we are only looking at their face but during a video conference if your video is on you’re also seeing yourself on the screen. I find this very disturbing. It distracts you and at the same time it makes you aware of how you unneccesarily aware of how you look.

TRYING TO READ AND UNDERSTAND PEOPLE: When you are physically with your friends and colleagues it’s not hard to read them. But when they are lined up on a screen, almost like moving head shots, it’s very hard to read and understand them. And I’m not even talking about trying to understand what they are saying. It’s also the fact that if you miss something during an online meeting, which happens more because it’s harder to concentrate, then you can’t ask the person sitting next to you as you would in a normal meeting. Basically because we don’t see the person completely it becomes harder to read body language.

COPIED DON’T COMPLEMENT THE ORIGINAL HERE: Unfortunately video calls make me feel even more distant and feed fire to the feeling of lack. When the only medium of intimacy is Zoom I miss the people I can’t see even more. Seeing but not being able to touch is worse than just hearing their voice, at least for me. I can see the person but I don’t feel like I have really seen them.

OVERLOADING OUR PERCEPTION: At a meeting in the office or when we’re together with friends, we are in the same venue at the same time. But during a Zoom meeting everyone is at their own home which means our brains even when we don’t intend to do that, are observing all the little background details for each person. What kind of a couch or chair are they sitting at, is that a bookshelf, where is the light coming from? Especially after a meeting with +10 people I really feel exhausted. :/

What should we do? How can we preserve our energy levels from one meeting to the other? Below is my humble advice.

– Turn off your video: You can’t turn of the camera or if it’s a meeting where this is not an option, you can change the setting to close your camera view on the screen. This way you will be saved from looking at how your hair looks or in my case at your double chin! 😛

-Don’t overbook: If you can try to put spaces between you meetings and rest a little in between. There will be times when you won’t have an option. But the other day I made the mistake of booking myself 2 back to back meetings. So you can be more careful when you’re scheduling the meetings.

-Let Zoom meetings be the final option: ıf there is another possibility to do it don’t schedule a Zoom meeting. You can simply call your loved ones, it doesn’t always have to be on video. You can also try to solve some stuff on e-mail. Let Zoom be the last option.

-Check the time: ıf you’re struggling to concentrate during the meeting, try to keep them short as much as you can. If it’s video meeting and you feel like you’re getting worse you can excuse yourself and leave early. You don’t have to stay until the party is over.

-Don’t be ashamed to say no: In the beginning, because I didn’t want lo be disgraceful, socially I tried to join in on everything that was offered to me. Then I noticed I affected negatively by this and started to not attend to things when I didn’t feel well. Nothing is more important than your mental health. If necessary, just don’t attend and you will make up for it to your friends later anyway. Don’t feel ashamed to let people know that you’re having a tough time. We’re on this ship together and no one is having the time of their life.

Get in the right mood: I find it disturbing to use Zoom both for friends gatherings and work. To differentiate between them you can change the atmosphere for your Zoom meetings with friends. Light a candle, grab a drink, maybe put some make up on. Prepare like when you always do when you’re meeting with friends. For work meetings close unrelated tabs on your computer, focus, take notes on your notebook if necessary. Adapt your surroundings to your work atmosphere and remove distractions.

Zoom will keep being in our lives for some time so we better get used to it. How do you feel about Zoom meetings? Do you find them draining too? Above I listed some things that are working for me. If you have any suggestions on dealing with this please share with me in the comments.

 

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