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Zoomed Out? It is real but you can help ease the pain.

Anyone who has sat and worked at a computer all day knows that it can be mentally taxing. Mental fatigue is every bit as real as physical fatigue. With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on our lives, finding a new way to conduct business has become essential. With the video conference technology, like Zoom, WebEx, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, or Microsoft Teams, you can now meet with everyone in your office and still wear Mickey Mouse pajama pants and slippers. While Zoom has been the answer to working remotely and communicating with our clients and colleagues, it is also becoming an energy-zapping nightmare. Here are some things you can do to help ease the mental strain of the non-stop Zoom meetings. 

Part of the problem with Zoom meetings is that you have to show that you are paying attention by exhibiting a laser-like focus on the camera. Should you glance away, you can be sending the non-verbal cue that you are bored and not paying attention. However, your brain can only maintain that kind of attentiveness for so long. It is essential to glance away from your screen and give your brain the break. It needs that break to center and refocus. Just like that Calm TV commercial where you do nothing for 30 seconds and you feel refreshed, your brain needs and craves that when you are in a meeting. 

If you are in a long meeting, try to schedule a mini-break so that you can move, stretch, and provide yourself the downtime. When scheduling meetings, you can plan them for 25 or 50 minutes, versus the normal half-hour or hour. That way you can take a few minutes in between meetings to move around and rest. 

Another thing to do is to limit multi-tasking. Focus on the meeting and not trying to squeeze in two or three other things at the same time. Sure, you can post to LinkedIn and listen at the same time, but you are making your brain work harder. 

Another tip is to put your screen off to the side, staring at yourself non-stop makes you hypercritical of yourself and start to examine every expression you make and what message you are conveying. It puts you in performance mode and that can be hard to maintain. 

One final suggestion, is that when you are in the meeting have only the person speaking have their video on. That gives others that chance to focus on just the person who is talking and the person talking doesn’t have to be distracted by the other faces staring back at him. Your brain can then focus on what is being presented and not what is being presented and the non-verbal cues of fifteen other people. 

Truly at the end of the day, just remember that we are all humans trying to navigate a tough and uncertain situation. It may not be a preferred set of circumstances and things may not go smoothly. That’s ok though, as in all things we can rise to the occasion and do the best we can. Be kind to those around you and remember we are all in this together.  

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