Video Conferencing Anxiety: How Do I Overcome It?

Technology is a bigger part of our life more than it has ever been. Video conferencing has become the normal way of living with Zoom meetings being the main service for businesses to communicate. But this new way of working can bring a lot of new stress and anxiety, but how can you overcome it?  

Video conferencing anxiety is on the rise, with people experiencing awkwardness, nervousness and fear of the new Zoom meeting that they have been called to. Anxiety can cause physical and mental symptoms, which can include:

  • Sweating                             
  • Chest pains
  • Headaches
  • Loss of breath
  • Faster heartrate
  • Shaking
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Worry of the worst happening
  • Overthinking
  • Loss of sleep
  • Unable to relax

Many things can introduce these symptoms but with the rapid increased use of Zoom, it has quickly become the main character adding to this new anxiety. These common symptoms of anxiety can be triggered by several things that are included with video conferencing. A survey created in November shows that 2,000 people who have been working from home have had their anxiety triggered from: audio and video problems, an unplanned video call, their appearance on the call, their background, being interrupted and just not feeling heard. With video calls requiring

“a lot more energy to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, and body language”

Zlatin Ivanov, MD, a New York psychiatrist

so the result of these many calls a day can stress and tire a person out which then leads to an increase of people suffering a mild or even serve case of anxiety.

But with all these facts and information on anxiety, the real question people want answered is how you can overcome it and answer those Zoom calls without any stress.

There are many ways you can fight this video conferencing anxiety; these solutions are simple but simply forgotten as this new work from home era has brought so much confusion to your normal routine people have forgotten how to calm their nerves.

Take those needed breaks:

Even though you have probably heard this thousands of times, it really is an effective way to give your mind a rest and to just stop thinking and there are a few ways to do so. Taking just a 5 minute break between those long and stressful Zoom calls, frantically writing down everything so you don’t miss anything important, can really calm your anxiety.

Yes, you may not be able to do this every time with every call you have in a day but if you make it through that busy morning to lunch without that helpful little 5 minute break, taking your time at lunch to step away from your screen to make lunch and to just sit can help clear you mind massively. Actually do take this lunch just to sit without any laptop, tv or smartphone. Don't feel bad taking 5 minutes away, staring at a screen all day is new to some people and is a big strain on your eyes. Even if you think that these breaks are boring and are not helping you relax your mind, it is helping relax your eyes. Then stopping any form of headache happening, which is one of the main symptoms of anxiety.

Another way to stop these headaches can be taking a break, not from the laptop all together but from the actual webcam itself. Just using your audio on your video conference can be a quick and easy way to ease your concentration and to focus on taking down any notes needed instead of focusing on how your and your background looks.

“Video calls require a lot more focus than a face-to-face conversation”

Zlatin Ivanov, MD, a New York psychiatrist

Find your set working space:

Now if you must use your video and audio on your calls and having your background look professional is an anxiety inducing thought for you, there is no need to worry. Simply find one place in your house with a just a plain wall for a background, maybe get use out of your guest room to be away from any other family members at home and any distractions that may cause your mind to wander.

However, if you don’t have a guest room, just use your dining table as your makeshift desk. Set it up for your day, laying out any important documents that you need while you work. Make sure you find a good spot though as it is important to stick with your choice. Moving around can cause you to worry about setting up for the day, making that background anxiety creep in before the day has even started.

An advantage of having this set working space is that when you are finished with your working day and ready to move over to your sofa, you really can leave your work behind and walk away from your workspace along with any anxiety that has built up during the day. Don’t forget to check out our conferencing kits that are great for working from home, just send us a chat and someone from our team will give you some more information on what equipment is best for home working.

Schedule your day:

So, before your busy workday has even begun, getting a notepad and writing down your day from start to finish can get you ready to tackle the day ahead. Making a time schedule from 9am to 5pm, jotting down any important meetings that you need to attend, work that needs to be finished and work that needs to be started. Doing an hour to hour plan can help structure your day and stop any worrying thoughts on what needs to be done. Now just because you have taken your time to plan your day hour to hour, go into detail with your tasks. Write down any questions you want to ask during the video conference you have in the afternoon. By doing this in the morning, hours before you call, can stop any anxiety from appearing before you hit that answer button.

This can be a lot of help during your video conferences you have throughout the day. You can focus on yourself and the questions you have as they're already written down and you can quickly look back to rejog your memory. Along with this, don’t feel bad about removing or adding anything to your schedule. Its normal for your workday to change and if your day ends up being totally different to what you first thought it would be when you created the schedule, you then don’t have that panic of juggling your workload as your schedule is still there and set up. So you can fit in any new tasks that have sprung up during the day and remove anything that isn’t urgent.

Some extra useful tips:

Before every meeting, or just when you are feeling an extra bit anxious, try to spare some few minutes before a video conference to just take a breath. You can try some breathing techniques or simply just sit and relax before you answer the call, this can calm your anxiety and get you in the right mind set to answer.

Alongside this try to have a positive chat with yourself. Yes, it may make you feel a bit stupid talking to yourself but taking the time before the video conference to make yourself feel that tad bit confident before you take the meeting can make a huge different within yourself and any anxiety that you feel. Leading from this, I know that it’s the basic routine to wake up and make a tea of coffee to actually wake you up, but trust us when we say don’t, or just try to cut back. All that caffeine at the start of the day, yes does make you feel energised and ready to work the day away but it can actually start off your anxiety and can cause nerves and shakiness to occur.