Although the pandemic appears to be winding down, some aspects of life, such as video calls, will likely stay the same. Whether people are working from home, utilizing telehealth, or just Facetiming with friends and family, video calls are here to stay. In a recent article by PsychCentral, Claudia Rodriguez and Courtney Telloian discussed what they called Zoom anxiety.
What is Zoom Anxiety?
Simply put, Zoom anxiety is a combination of fatigue and anxiety people experience on a video call. Rodriguez and Telloian noted that people experiencing Zoom anxiety can feel unsure of when to speak, frustrated and left out of the conversation, less productive before a video meeting, and feel as if they have stage fright during a video call. Furthermore, Zoom anxiety can be especially intense for those who already suffer from an anxiety disorder.
What causes Zoom anxiety?
Rodriguez and Telloian listed a few factors that cause Zoom anxiety such as the following:
- mirror anxiety or anxiety related to seeing your face on the video call
- feeling trapped or unable to move during the call
- feeling watched by everyone on the call
- excessive cognitive load from focusing more on visual social cues
What are strategies for handling Zoom anxiety?
Rodriguez and Telloian provided tips on managing Zoom anxiety. A couple selected tips are below:
Switch to the “speaker only” view. People can save themselves the cognitive energy it would take to observe everyone in the group, including themselves, and focus their attention on the speaker.
Use mindful movement during the call. Rather than feeling trapped into sitting perfectly still, people can slowly and mindfully stretch their arms and legs during a call. They can sip some coffee or water. They can notice the feeling of their feet on the ground beneath them. They can also let their colleagues know via the chat option that they need to grab a drink or a snack. They are not as trapped as they might feel.
If you have tried the above strategies and continue to experience Zoom anxiety, you would likely benefit from cognitive behavior therapy. Contact us to schedule a free phone consultation to find out how CBT can help you.
Dr. Jason von Stietz specializes in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Sport/Performance Psychology in Torrance, CA. He provides online therapy (telehealth) by way of the Torrance office and is available for a free initial phone consultation. Dr. von Stietz works with individuals from Long Beach, the greater Los Angeles area, and the South Bay including Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, El Segundo and all over California.