Zoom chats may have taken a toll on your mental health and self-esteem, and there are three ways you can fight “zoom fatigue” to improve your self-image.
A recent article in Forbes looked into the impact the constant stream of Zoom meetings and video chats have had on people’s mental health. It cited a study from Washington University in St. Louis that found many women, in particular, have had decreased body and face satisfaction with the increase in video chats over the last year.
So Ed Drantch spoke with local mental health counselor Lynne Rifkin Shine to find out how you can combat the effects of so many video chats and Zoom meetings.
ED: What do you make of this article overall?
LYNNE: I think this article is a good one because people have been struggling a lot with their mental health as they’re looking at themselves, day after day after day on Zoom, and getting “Zoom fatigue,” as they say. We are taking a look at the wrinkles on our forehead, we’re taking a look at our faces constantly and we’re also taking a look at what our words mean and criticizing ourselves all the time. so it was really having an impact on our self-esteem. We’re seeing some people saying, “I need to change who I am,” and some people saying, “I’m accepting who I am.” So I’m hoping and hopeful people can start doing more of the acceptance and putting life in perspective.
ED: It’s kind of like looking in the mirror — like “who do you think you are?” And when you’re faced with that kind of a question every day, it’s got to change the way you feel about yourself at some point.
LYNNE: Absolutely. It’s interesting because self-esteem should be unconditional. We should be able to look at ourselves, and I tell people that all the time that when we look at ourselves, we should be able to say, “I’m worthy… I’m lovable… I’m good,” and that shouldn’t stop. When our self-esteem is in question, we’re in “other based self-esteem.” We’re worried about what other people think about us. The other person ends up being ourselves when we’re staring at ourselves all day long.
ED: So where do we go from here and how do we mitigate these self-esteem issues because of what we’ve been through over the last year using technology like this?
LYNNE: I’m asking people to give themselves affirmations each day, perhaps in a journal each morning, before their feet hit the ground, saying what they’re appreciative of, what they want to tell themselves each day, maybe in the mirror as they’re brushing their teeth to remind themselves they’re good, that they’re lovable, that they’re worthy. There’s a book out right now, called Chatter, that talks about how we’re not good at accepting our own advice but we’re good at giving advice. So if you speak to yourself in the third person and say, “Ed, listen, you’re a good man, and you’re good-looking, and why would you question yourself?” and you’re able to speak to yourself, that’s helpful sometimes. And also, if you’re able to talk to yourself as if you’re looking out and projecting five months from now and say, “Listen, people are being vaccinated. This is only temporary,” it helps calm you to be able to look to the future that way.