Microprocessing

Zoom Burnout Is Real

And here’s what to do about it

Angela Lashbrook
OneZero
Published in
8 min readApr 14, 2020

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Photo: Anthony Wallace/Getty Images

In Microprocessing, columnist Angela Lashbrook aims to improve your relationship with technology every week. Microprocessing goes deep on the little things that define your online life today to give you a better tomorrow.

It is a time of great uncertainty.

Many of us are asking life-or-death questions, like: “Will I die if I open a window?” (Answer: No. Please open your windows.) But there are also little ones, like: “How do I tell my friend to stop inviting me to five video-call happy hours every week?”

“Zoom gives me crazy anxiety and the same social pressure I would feel being invited to a party,” says Dani, a marketing manager based in Cleveland, who requested that only her first name be used to protect her workplace privacy. “I have to do Zoom calls all day for work. I cannot socialize that way right now.”

Dani’s anxiety mirrors that of countless others currently battling an onslaught of Zoom calls, digital events, and online happy hours. “I’m in 3 different Slacks, 4 different Discords, in countless Zoom Happy Hours, and even more virtual events. I can’t wait until this pandemic is over so I can disconnect,” a community manager based in Ohio tweeted. “1) people assume u can do more meetings than u did before 2) u don’t move btwn them,” tweeted a psychiatrist based in Missouri, in response to a journalist’s assertion that “Zoom burnout is real.”

Zoom burnout and Zoom FOMO are only a couple of the issues people face as they shift their social lives from meeting over martinis at the neighborhood bar to meeting over oversize glasses of wine on a video call. From the awkwardness and anxiety of staring at the supposed flaws in your own face, to not knowing when to cut a call short when you don’t technically have anywhere else to be, our new social lives are lawless, with few guidelines to let us know how to navigate difficult situations for which we have no prior blueprints.

Social contact right now is more important than ever, but it’s okay to feel stressed out and want to avoid what seems like little more than new venues for anxiety. While you should make an occasional effort to get some kind of social interaction with friends and…

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Angela Lashbrook
OneZero

I’m a columnist for OneZero, where I write about the intersection of health & tech. Also seen at Elemental, The Atlantic, VICE, and Vox. Brooklyn, NY.