A new pandemic is sweeping the world — and it’s called Zoom fatigue. Symptoms include:
- Deleting the app from your iPhone (and re-downloading it again).
- Copious amounts of eye-rolling when you log in.
- A distaste for the color blue, the color white or anything that reminds us of the Zoom logo.
- Tiredness, anxiety and burnout.
- The painful yearning to talk to someone in the flesh.
There are lots of things we hate about Zoom. The “funny” backgrounds. The filters. The eyestrain.
And this error message:
The meeting has a problem. Error code: 1132.
We haven’t always felt like this. We fell in love with Zoom like it was a shiny new toy. Not having to dress up (from the waist down) was cool for a while. So was being so close to our kitchen refrigerator. And Zoom produced some great memes. (Remember the woman who accidentally turned herself into a potato?)
But the relationship went sour pretty quickly.
Zoom has dominated our lives for nearly a year now, and we feel exhausted. And there is a science behind these feelings. Professors say that video calls cause our brains to work harder when processing non-verbal cues like body language, facial expressions and tone and pitch of the voice.
“Our minds are together when our bodies feel we’re not,” says professor Gianpiero Petriglieri, who studies sustainable learning and development in the workplace. “That dissonance, which causes people to have conflicting feelings, is exhausting. You cannot relax into the conversation naturally.”
And it’s this dissonance that’s affecting our collective mental health. The awkward silences are the worst — trying to think of something to say and then saying the wrong thing. Pre-COVID conversations weren’t like this!
Or perhaps there’s another neurological element. Research shows social interactions trigger the reward circuits in our brains, which release oxytocin — a “feel-good” chemical involved in social bonding — when we make connections with other human beings. But virtual communications don’t produce the same chemical response, scientists say. So maybe that’s the problem.
Or maybe other factors are at play. Perhaps the economic worries associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated our fatigue. Or worrying about our friends, families and co-workers in the motion pictures industry. It’s tough for everyone right now.
Whatever the reason for Zoom fatigue, we might seem powerless at the moment. Most of us use Zoom to communicate with old friends or colleagues in the motion picture industry. We miss the human connections we used to have.
But there’s help out there. The Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation has a range of social support services for motion pictures veterans like you who are struggling with the emotional ramifications of COVID-19. Whether the pandemic has affected your well-being or finances, we provide supportive counseling whenever you need it.
Click here or call (888) 994-3863 ext. 4 to learn more. And, no, you don’t have to use Zoom.