Zoom fatigue is real - here are 4 ways to stop it from killing your social life

Zoom fatigue is real. Don't let it kill your social life.

Zoom fatigue is real. Guess which of the photos below is when I started to feel it.

Zoom fatigue is real - February

February 2020: Hanging out with new friends and working remotely in beautiful, sunny Brazil. It’s nice to video call my parents every Sunday!

Zoom fatigue is real - March

March 2020: Back home in Toronto. Every day is a new Zoom call with my co-founder Niloo and another games night with friends in the evening. What a wild time to be alive!! Look at all these new friends!!

Zoom fatigue is real - April

April-December 2020: Hating Zoom, no more games nights with friends, everyone is dead to me. What is real life? Who am I?

Yeah, it's definitely the one where I'm trying to sleep on top of my cat.

If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Feeling exhausted, irritated, and emotionally drained by the constant video calls has become such a widespread thing that we even have a name for it. 

Welcome to ✨ Zoom fatigue ✨.

There are a lot of reasons why video calls tire us out so much: 

  • A weird amount of sustained close-up eye contact
  • A lot of visual stimulation from other people’s backgrounds
  • Tech troubles and delays
  • Constant worries about our partners/roommates/kids springing up in the background
  • Multi-tasking is easier, so we end up doing fifty different things at once

It’s enough to make you want to spend an unhealthy amount of time alone in a dark, silent room.

Zoom fatigue is real, but it doesn’t have to kill your social life.

Here are 4 tips for managing your video calls so you still want to spend time with your friends!

1. Limit work-related video calls to one day a week. 

Pick a day, any day, and make that your video call day for work. If someone wants to book a video call with you, give them your availability for that day. If they’re not available on that day, offer a phone call instead. 

This will help keep you from feeling overwhelmed by a constant barrage of video calls throughout the week. You'll also do less video calls as people opt for emailing you instead of waiting an entire week to chat!

Even if this day is tiring, knowing that this is your one day for Zoom calls will make it easier to handle. It frees up the rest of your week to enjoy hanging out with friends, without that being the hundredth Zoom call of the day.

If dedicating one day a week for video calls just doesn’t work for you, try this instead! 👇

2. Schedule video calls for when your energy levels are highest.

We go through different energy levels, moods, and priorities throughout the day. You can use that to your advantage when you’re scheduling video calls with other people. 

Maybe they’re how you want to kick off your day, right after you’ve had your morning coffee and feel energized and social! Or maybe video calls are a good way for you to context switch, and you want to use them as a transition instead.

Find a block of time that works for you, and make that the only time you’re available for video calls. This will cap the amount of time you spend on Zoom, and will let you mentally prepare for those calls ahead of time. It will take advantage of your energy levels and how you like to work, instead of exhausting you. 

3. Play games with your friends instead of (or alongside!) video calls.

There are lots of games you can play online with friends that will feel like a distraction from the daily Zoom calls. Whether you like puzzle games, board games, or games you can play on your phone instead of your computer - you've got options!  

🌟 Don’t know where to start? Check out our list of 5 fun games to play with friends in this blog post!

Whenever you can, leave Zoom running in the background and focus on gameplay. It’ll cut a lot of the stimulation that comes from being on a video call, and you can focus on the game at hand. You'll still be able to hear your friend's voices and feel like you're hanging out, but you can focus on winning instead.

Playing games with friends is also a great way to see the more competitive, playful side of everyone! Rather than catching up on the week that passed or what happened that day, you'll play as teammates or opponents. This means finding ways to outdo or support each other so that you can come out on top!

Competition and teamwork is a great way to feel like you're spending meaningful time with friends. Zoom fatigue is real, but so is the adrenaline of competing with your friends!

4. Attend online events that bring people together around a shared interest or activity.

If your focus is on meeting new people, look for events around an activity or shared interest. This will let you meet new people by doing fun things together instead of making polite networking conversation. 

🌟 Not sure where to make new friends online? Check out our blog post for 5 places that bring people together around shared interests and activities!

It will take less effort to think of what to say, because all the conversation pieces will already be there! And because the event is facilitated by someone else, you can just jump in and enjoy the ride. 

Video calls used to be a way for us to have more intimate conversations. It was an upgrade from a phone call because it let us see each other as people rather than disembodied voices. 

Now that most in-person interactions have become video calls, it can help to take a break from the mental load video puts on us. Zoom fatigue is real, but there are ways to manage it so that it doesn’t take all the joy of social life away! Try these 4 tips and see what they unlock for you.

Want to socialize but need a break from the online world? Check out these 8 habits that lead to spontaneous connections out in the real world!