Posted by on 4th May 2020

Quarantine Life, Staying Connected, and the Perils of Zoom Fatigue

I am an introvert, and I can tell you Zoom burnout is real. While I enjoy hanging with friends and going to parties and concerts, and I’m excellent at engaging with strangers over dinner or drinks, being social in person gets exhausting.

After working from home for the better part of the past twenty-two years, I like my quiet days of writing, working out, cooking, and walking or biking with the dog. They give me balance. I recharge by being alone, or with one to three people I know well and love, preferably out playing in the mountains.

My hubby, on the other hand, is an extrovert. He misses going to the office every day and grabbing beers with friends after work. He misses meeting new people and making new friends. We both miss our family.

And so, like so many people these days, we Zoom.

This has led to my personal issues with Zoom fatigue.

Articles are popping up left and right talking about Zoom burnout, Zoom fatigue, and Zoom exhaustion. A malady so new we haven’t settled name for it.

Although I love connecting with family and friends, I find the big group calls especially exhausting. With good reason, too.

Apparently, since you can only see people from the shoulders up, and often in tiny squares, you don’t get the nuances of facial expressions and body language. So, your brain must work harder to interpret social cues. Et viola, you have a recipe for Zoom burnout.

I find staring at a screen full of faces with no particular topic to discuss is also uncomfortable and disconcerting. I feel like I have to be “ON” and find a way to get conversations moving.

In the last week alone, I’ve spent more than eight hours on Zoom calls (AND I DON’T ZOOM FOR WORK!). That’s eight hours of social time, which I’m pretty sure is more than I got most weeks pre-quarantine (Thank God I don’t Zoom for work!).

It’s far more exhausting then I ever anticipated.

Five ways to reduce Zoom burnout, fatigue, and exhaustion while still connecting.

  1. Keep calls on the smaller side. Five or six people is the most I try to go with. Though sometimes, if you have a big family, that can be hard to do. Good luck and best wishes.
  2. Consider it game time. So far, game nights have been the most fun and least burnout-inducing. We’ve played Jackbox and Exploding Kittens with a couple other people at a time and had a blast. Highly recommend.
  3. If you don’t mind being the center of attention, be a goofball. My husband’s solution to dead air syndrome is to do something random or silly. He changes backgrounds. Or sinks down until all you can see are his eyes and the top of his head—sometimes coming in from the side of the screen.
  4. Give your Zoom get togethers a theme or something cohesive. We had pizza birthday dinner with friends via Zoom. The pizza came from two different restaurants, but it was a lovely way to connect. My hubby’s Friday work Zoom happy hours now include themes, costumes, or show and tell.
  5. Don’t overdo it. Set a maximum Zoom time limit per week. And stick to it.

Have you been using Zoom much? Are you experiencing Zoom burnout or fatigue? Got suggestions for making it better? Please do leave a comment about your Zoom experiences below.


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