Updated: Apr 24, 2020
Video calls are an incredible tool that allows us to stay connected over distance.
They're also challenging for our nervous systems to navigate, and they're not at all the same as in-person contact.
If you feel exhausted after zooming, that's actually normal and expected.
If your kiddos are especially antsy after a day of zooms, that makes sense, too and there are things you can do to help.
First, recognize that zooms require mental work, even if you're doing them just for fun. The BBC has a great article that explains why this is true. You'll be more tired after a zoom than after a normal conversation, so plan to take a break afterwards. The break could be 5 minutes or 30, but you should spend some time off-screen by yourself or connecting with someone in person to help your brain reset.
Second, build in some consistent screen-free time outdoors or moving/exercising each day so that your brain has a chance to switch gears. Being outside also forces your eyes to focus on objects far away, which is healthy for your vision after staring at screens all day.
Third, remember that - even in a pandemic where we're social distancing - you still need intentional alone time. Many of us are missing the time alone we got at work or in the car rides to work if we're staying at home with family. Schedule an appointment for yourself to re-meet that need that may have gotten put on the backburner recently.
Fourth, zooming puts you effectively "on stage" for the entire day. Kids and adults feel self-conscious during zooms because they're being looked at. It's okay to turn off your camera, mute yourself until you need to speak, or request meetings be done over the phone when possible. Don't allow yourself to be pressured into video chatting when an email will do.
Finally, wear blue screen-blocking glasses or use a blue screen protector if you're zooming at night. There's an abundance of evidence that nighttime screen viewing can make sleep less restorative. Getting restful sleep is key to maintaining resilience during tough times.
Protect your brain space, be gentle with you, and know I'm here for you if things start to feel like too much.
Would love to know your thoughts.