An average day can work and spend time making you tired. When work and social events all happen via video calling, you are likely to become even more exhausted, and here is why.
Our brains have been adapted to respond to human experiences. Video often seems like a reasonable representation of these, but for our brains, video is very different from the three-dimensional world. Dealing with this difference can make you unusually tired.
If you're exhausted after every video chat or conference, it's not just you, it's a common brain responsibility. Let's take a look at the reasons behind this and how you can help your brain manage.
The science behind video encounter
Human communication has been shaped over many years of development. We have adapted to use not only speech but also facial expressions and body language to send signals to others. We have also adapted to read the same clues from other people.
However, these skills were designed for personal use. Video conversations flatten out nuanced, three-dimensional signals and shrink them down to fit on a screen. To get and provide the same amount of visual information, our brain must suddenly work much harder.
For many people, it feels natural to understand non-verbal cues during a person conversation. It's something we gradually develop as we grow up, not a skill we learn in school. You probably don't need to consciously think about reading someone's body language.
But video calls erase so easily. You have to look at every little face on the screen very carefully to figure out countless clues. If the video is delayed or grainy, this is even more difficult. You also listen more carefully to hear words that may not come through clearly.
The more people on the screen, the more you will be thrown. Your brain is not designed to understand so many different facial expressions at once. Also, with more people and fewer visual cues, you may find it more difficult to find out when to jump into the conversation. You may even be worried about what your own face looks like on the screen.
In short, video calling stimulates your brain in ways it is not designed to handle. It's tempting to think that watching people on video will make communication clearer and easier. But for your brain, it's actually more difficult than a simple phone call. This is why you may feel that you need a nap at the end of each video chat.
Of course, it is only stressful to live during a pandemic. Even if you have had lots of previous training with video calling, the main cause of stress and fear is enough to rip most people off.
How to make video treasures less exhausting
All this does not mean that video calling itself is bad. They have enabled almost all of us to continue working and contacting loved ones during the pandemic, which is nothing short of revolutionary. But this does not eliminate the challenge they present to our brains.
Since your life can now mean much more video chat than it once did, here are some ways to make it less taxing.
Turn off some social invitations
If you try to create your pre-pandemic social life in video form, you probably wear yourself out. A video hangout will often leave you tired, while a hangout in person will make you feel up to date. With that in mind, consider rejecting any more social invitations than usual.
On top of the usual ways video calls tire your brain, there is also the fact that sitting in front of a screen sometimes just feels like work. If you need a break, tell your friends or family that you can't do it this time and sign out. Spend that time on a three-dimensional activity, like taking a walk or reading a book.
By reducing the number of social video calls that you participate in, you will find more energy for those you connect with. If you can, you may also want to reduce the number of work-related video calls you are on as well. In this way, the people you participate in will get your full attention.
Take more frequent breaks
If you can't cut down video calls, make sure you work for a break between each one. This gives your brain time to recharge. Interruptions can be especially important between work and personal conversations so that you have time to change from work to relax mode.
Turn your screen aside
Some experts suggest that you arrange the screen so that it is aside, rather than before you. straight on. This can help remind your brain that you are not in the same room with all these faces that you see at the same time.
Try different places
Moving to different rooms in your home can also make video calls easier. For example, you can designate one area for work calls and another for personal chats. This will divide up your day in a way that feels more like your regular routine.
If you do not like the look of the camera, you can try areas with different lighting. Talking in a lighter or brighter room, or moving light sources around, can make you feel more confident about your appearance on the screen.
While there is no way to make video calls feel as natural as a personal conversation, these tips can make them a little less exhausting. But if you are still struggling, do not hesitate to address your problems with your boss or friends. Discussing it can help you find a solution that works for everyone.