Why You’re Exhausted After Video Chats—And How to Feel Better

"I can't wait to get off of this call so I can go take a nap!"
"I can't wait to get off of this call so I can go take a nap!"
Marcus Aurelius, Pexels

If you feel drained after a group video chat, you’re not alone. As most of our face-to-face conversations these days have been reduced to Zoom calls, more and more people are finding themselves inexplicably exhausted from all the virtual communication. Why is that?

According to the BBC, part of it has to do with the non-verbal cues that are easily lost in video chats—like body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions that don’t translate clearly over video. Since we’re working extra-hard to decode these cues, even subconsciously, it’s more difficult to settle into a comfortable dynamic.

“Our minds are together when our bodies feel we're not. That dissonance, which causes people to have conflicting feelings, is exhausting. You cannot relax into the conversation naturally,” Gianpiero Petriglieri, an INSEAD associate professor who studies sustainable learning and workplace development, told the BBC.

Delays, echoes, screen freezes, and other technological issues can magnify that dissonance. But even a perfect connection can’t alleviate the feeling that we’re being watched much more closely than in a regular meeting, especially considering that we can see our own faces in the corner of the screen.

“When you're on a video conference, you know everybody's looking at you; you are on stage, so there comes the social pressure and feeling like you need to perform,” Marissa Shuffler, a Clemson University associate professor of industrial-organizational psychology, told the BBC. “Being performative is nerve-wracking and more stressful.”

Another contributor is the one-dimensional nature of the setting itself. What’s usually a balanced mixture of brightly lit offices, cozy couches in friends’ living rooms, favorite restaurants, and other venues has temporarily collapsed into a single screen. As Petriglieri explained, it’s a little like going on a date, having a meeting with your manager, and spending time with your parents all in the same bar. And since we’re accustomed to using video conference platforms like Zoom for work, even social video chats can end up seeming like meetings.

However, our collective Zoom exhaustion isn’t solely a result of the video-chatting process itself; it’s also likely related to how we’re feeling about life during the coronavirus pandemic in general—if you’re a little restless or more anxious than usual, for example, video calls might be serving as a tacit reminder that your life has been disrupted.

So what can we do to feel better? When it comes to video-chatting fatigue, Petriglieri and Shuffler both recommend only using Zoom for work when it’s necessary. Instead, employees should collaborate in other ways, like using shared files. When managers do decide that a video call is needed, they should make it clear that it’s OK for employees to keep their cameras disabled during the call, and they should also spend a few minutes catching up before getting to the meeting agenda.

“It’s a way to reconnect us with the world, and to maintain trust and reduce fatigue and concern,” Shuffler told BBC.

Petriglieri suggested moving your screen off to the side, rather than looking at it head-on, which could help create a little distance. And whenever possible, try not to schedule Zoom calls back-to-back; leave at least enough time for a little exercise, some stretches, or a trip to the kitchen for a drink.

For more ways to reduce stress and anxiety during the pandemic, here are eight tips from an expert.

[h/t BBC]

Blue Apron’s Memorial Day Sale Will Save You $60 On Your First Three Boxes

Scott Eisen/Getty Images
Scott Eisen/Getty Images

If you’ve gone through all the recipes you had bookmarked on your phone and are now on a first-name basis with the folks at the local pizzeria, it might be time to introduce a new wrinkle into your weekly dinner menu. But instead of buying loads of groceries and cookbooks to make your own meal, you can just subscribe to a service like Blue Apron, which will deliver all the ingredients and instructions you need for a unique dinner.

And if you start your subscription before May 26, you can save $20 on each of your first three weekly boxes from the company. That means that whatever plan you choose—two or four meals a week, vegetarian or the Signature plan—you’ll save $60 in total.

With the company’s Signature plan, you’ll get your choice of meat, fish, and Beyond foods, along with options for diabetes-friendly and Weight Watchers-approved dishes. The vegetarian plan loses the meat, but still allows you to choose from a variety of dishes like General Tso's tofu and black bean flautas.

To get your $60 off, head to the Blue Apron website and click “Redeem Offer” at the top of the page to sign up.

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Do Dogs Get Headaches?

Even without raging benders, dogs might still get headaches.
Even without raging benders, dogs might still get headaches.
damedeeso/iStock via Getty Images

Like babies, dogs can be hard to read in the medical ailment department. Are they listless because they’re tired, or because they’re sick? What’s behind their whining? And can they suffer that most human of debilitating conditions, the headache?

Gizmodo polled several veterinarians and animal behavior specialists to find out, and the answer seems to be a resounding yes.

Although a dog can’t express discomfort in a specific way, particularly if it doesn’t involve limping, animal experts know that canines that have diagnosed brain tumors or encephalitis can also be observed to have a high heart rate, a sign of physical pain. According to Tim Bentley, an associate professor of veterinary neurology and neurosurgery at Purdue Veterinary Medicine, administering painkillers will bring a dog’s heart rate down. If signs of physical distress also decrease, a headache was likely involved.

Unfortunately, not all dogs may offer overt signals they’re feeling some brain pain. According to Adam Boyko, an associate professor of biomedical sciences at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, dogs instinctively try to mask pain to avoid showing weakness.

Ultimately, dogs have many of the same central neural pathways as humans, which can likely go awry in some of the same ways. But the kind of persistent headaches owing to head colds or hangovers are probably rare in dogs. And while it goes without saying, they definitely don't need any of your Advil.

[h/t Gizmodo]