Video Chats Are Affecting Your Health. Here’s How.

Tired of all the video chats? With COVID-19 continuing to run rampant most meetings, group gatherings, and social activities have been replaced with meeting online through video chats. Although this has worked out as a temporary fix to keep us out of harm’s way, have you thought about the implications of how it’s affecting your health? Video chats may be affecting your health in ways you have not even though of before and it’s important to know the risk.

Video Chats Take More Energy

In a recent article released by the BBC, video chats are exhausting. According to Gianpiero Petriglieri, an associate professor who explores sustainable learning and development in the workplace, being on a video call requires more focus than a face-to-face chat. Whether it be from working harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, pitch and tones in the voice, or body language, having to pay attention at a higher level requires more energy. “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,” says Petriglieri.

Social Pressure on Video Chats

With video chat meetings lasting anywhere from a few minutes to hours long, two or three meetings a week on average can be draining to those not used to it. Marissa Shuffler, an associate professor at Clemson University, who studies workplace wellbeing and teamwork effectiveness, states that the awkwardness of being on a video call with people watching you can cause anxiety as well as making people uncomfortable. “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. Being performative is nerve-wracking and more stressful.”

How to Reduce Effects

So how can we reduce or stop the effects of video chats on our health? One obvious answer is limiting how many video calls we are doing per week. Most video chats have the ability to turn off the camera, which can help alleviate stress. Talk to the groups you’re in and see if video chats are the only way you can communicate, share files or even just phone calls might do the same job giving you the ability to not feel the total pressure of video calls. Building transition periods in between video meetings can also help refresh us – try stretching, having a drink, or doing a bit of exercise.

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