How to Zoom All Day and Still Have a Life

October 06, 2021

By: Nicole Klein

When you are done with a full day of teaching and meeting on Zoom, are you ready to bounce out of your chair, cook dinner, work on a hobby, and connect with your people and pets? Yeah, me neither.


Videoconferencing such as Zoom fatigues us in a way that in-person interaction usually doesn’t. We often find ourselves dry-eyed, emotionally exhausted, socially on-empty, and generally poor company. As it turns out, many share this experience, according to Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab. A few suggestions to reduce the cognitive load of Zoom to leave some energy for your non-work life include:


1. Shrink their heads. No full screen on your giant 34” LED ultrasharp screen. Set your viewing screen further back if possible. It’s too emotionally intense to look at faces (all the faces) close-up.

2. Stop looking in the mirror, you handsome beast. It is both mesmerizing and quite stressful to look at ourselves all day. Click on your picture and choose “Hide self-view.”

3. Get up, get out. If you are in charge and have a long class or meeting, announce a break with cameras off and sound muted. Just remember to set the time when all should come back. If you are not in charge, turn your video off, get up, and move around for a bit.

4. Take a load off. Sending and receiving non-verbal communication via Zoom is more demanding than in person. Take breaks with your video off and face away from your viewing screen so that your brain isn’t trying to attend to faces, expressions, and gestures from multiple video feeds. Take handwritten notes or doodle a bit.

5. Call me, definitely. Who knew that videoconferencing could make phone calls more appealing? Phone conversations are less taxing than Zoom, so consider if your next meeting really needs to be on Zoom or could be a phone call.


Barring some unforeseen development, videoconferencing will likely be part of our lives going forward, but there are ways to reduce the associated fatigue. Consider experimenting to see if some changes might leave you with more energy for the other parts of your life. Cheers!


More information and a link to the Zoom Exhaustion and Fatigue survey, see:


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