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Battling Zoom Fatigue, Experts Say To Focus on One Task At a Time

Posted at 11:42 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 23:42:33-04

LANSING, Mich. — Video conferencing is a way to stay connected to our coworkers, family and friends, but have you found you're more exhausted after video chatting all day?

Lindsey Boetsch spoke with an expert who says there's aa scientific reason rehand this virutal fatigue, and there's an easy way to fix it.

ZOOM, Teams, Houseparty, FaceTime, all ways to get in touch with family and friends through video chat. But experts say all of this virtual interaction is taking a toll.

We’re all a little bit stressed. What that means is our bodies are producing more cortisol, that’s the stress hormone. Which can be emotionally draining. Cynthia Erickson is a psychology professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She says while we’re in these video conferences, most of us are trying to multitask…

Instead of doing two things at once, what we’re actually doing is we’re task switching. So we’re switching from one task to another. Every time we switch tasks it takes a minute to get oriented. And that’s also exhausting.

It’s not just the work calls that are effecting us. (FaceTime beeps) Erickson says even the calls with our loved ones can have two consequences.

One, they’re not the same as an interpersonal conversation where we might reach out and touch someone. But, also they remind us of what we don’t have.

And by not *touching our loved ones, we’re not getting as much Oxytocin - or the feel good hormone…

For the most part, many of these things are reversible. So, as long as you get a good nights sleep, that’s something that’s reversible for many things, some of them are temporary.

The structure of our day has changed for the most part… many of us aren’t commuting, we’re maybe not spending as much time getting ready for work — we’re just waking up and jumping in — not leaving much time for ourselves.

I think it’s really important to think, ‘Okay, what can I do to get fresh air, what can I do to connect with other people, what can I do to get exercise?” (9:54) But we know that we do need sunlight, we do need other people, these things are all really critical for our normal wellbeing.

And while we’re in the zoom calls — she says to focus on one thing at a time.

Even though it’s really tempting to multitask, because we have all these computers and all these screens, we have all this information, try to unitask. So instead of being a good multitasker, be a good unitasker.

Erickson also says the blue lights from our screens turn off the production of melatonin, or the sleep hormone in the brain, making it more difficult to fall asleep.

So, if you have to use them close to bedtime, she suggests adjusting the settings to a more yellow light
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