Why you may be exhausted after video chatting all day and what you can do to help

Posted at 2:24 PM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 22:54:42-04

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

There's Zoom, Teams, Houseparty, FaceTime, and more – all ways to keep 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," Cynthia Erickson, a psychology professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver, said.

She added that while most of us are in these video conferences, we're trying to multitask.

"Instead of doing two things at once, what we’re actually doing is we’re task switching," she said. "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. 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," she said.

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," she added.

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?'" she said. "But we know that we do need sunlight, we do need other people, these things are all really critical for our normal well-being."

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," she added.

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

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