Last Friday I logged onto my weekly family night hangout and instead of feeling excited, relaxed and relieved to be amongst familiar faces. I was drained, withdrawn and exhausted from virtual hangouts. So much so, I had to excuse myself from the "zoom" dinner table.
Should I be admitting this? Probably not. As someone who is encouraging us all to turn the camera on and be comfortable on video, the fact that I am now diagnosing myself with Zoom fatigue is probably not the best announcement, however it is if we can figure out a way to contain, prioritise and allocate our energy in the virtual world so we don't get overloaded and burnt out.
Why are we feeling drained?
Even though we are staying safe and remaining at home, some of us may be busier than ever before. Virtual meetings, fitness sessions, and networking events followed by zoom family nights and online dating...We may be in lockdown, but that doesn't mean we are not being social. If anything, video can take up even more energy in person meetings, because you have to remain truly present and engaged. Any slight distraction will be noticed. You always feel like you have to be "on" when you are in front of a camera and this is the part that begins to drain you.
Remember to take short breaks in between video calls and hangouts. Trust me, you need the. Hydrate and move around a little before you login to your next video moment.
Same setting. Different day
I'm sure the conversations and "types" of meetings change throughout your day, but your setting remains the same; a backdrop at home. So in the "real world" when you would have had coffee meetings at Costa, networking events at a bar and creative sessions at your office; everything is now in your living room. To continuously remain in the same environment can be draining and extremely demotivating.
Be kind to yourself and start to set up little pods around your house for different types of virtual hangouts.
Zoom reminds us of how its is.
When I zoom my family or friends, people I wouldn't have necessarily thought of video chatting with regularly, it reminds me of "what is" Trying to see my grandparents fumble with the settings, and my family talk over each other is amusing at times, and so sad during other times. You just want to be in the same room as them. Which leads me to say; be patient with others when using video. This type of technology doesn't come naturally to everyone and to others, the whole setup is a little unnerving.
Be gentle. When you set up, schedule or agree to a zoom session, make sure you have the right amount of energy to help support others as well as yourself during the virtual hangout time.
We need to start putting in best practices now, so that we don't pick up bad habits and drain our ability to connect with others as we step into the new normal. Communicating via video is extraordinary, but there is a time, place and way to do it so you can continue being your best self in front of camera.