Why Is Zoom So Stressful?
Are you struggling with how to overcome Zoom anxiety? Whether you are a student in school that is required to attend video classes or an employee struggling with video meetings, Zoom and video calls can be anxiety-provoking.
The best way to overcome Zoom anxiety is to just get started. The more you practice using Zoom the more comfortable it will begin to feel. However, if you have extreme anxiety while using Zoom, you may have developed an anxiety disorder that requires treatment.
Whatever your current situation, there are steps you can take to work on reducing your Zoom anxiety. Anything you can do to build your confidence and calm your anxiety will be helpful. These topics are considered in more detail below.
How Do You Overcome Zoom Anxiety?
If you just want to get right into it, below are some tips to help you get over your Zoom anxiety quickly. These are ideas that you can put into practice right away. If you’re interested in why Zoom causes anxiety or what to do if you are experiencing a lot of social anxiety, keep reading on to the next sections.
- Get some practice. Practice doing Zoom calls as much as possible, especially with people who are supportive and understanding of your challenges. If you’re nervous about making a call on your own, try scheduling some practice sessions with a friend , family member, or coach.
- Prepare your backdrop. Prepare your environment so you feel comfortable and confident on Zoom calls. Think of how you can set up your room for optimal viewing with good lighting, stable Internet connection, etc., so that you are ready to go when it’s time to get on the call.
- Manage your thoughts and emotions. Manage your thoughts and emotions by keeping in mind that other people are not evaluating you the way that you think they are. Remember that people on the other side of the screen are thinking about how they are coming acrss, not about how you’re doing.
- Focus on the connection. Remember why it’s important for you to connect with others . Reminding yourself of how Zoom has helped you grow personally or professionally can help maintain your motivation and reduce anxiety especially in a work setting.
- Keep breathing. During Zoom calls, take a few deep breaths before joining the call and remind yourself to breathe if you feel anxious.
- Remember to smile. Keep a smile on your face while you’re waiting for others to join; this will help reduce how nervous you feel.
- Stay present. Try practicing “noticing” by taking note of what’s going on around you without judging or reacting. This can help you to be mindful and stay in the present moment.
- Look at other people. Take a look around and notice how everyone else is doing—their postures, facial expressions, behaviors, etc. Doing so can help reduce the negative assumptions we often make about others and help you to focus outward rather than getting caught up in your own head.
- Ask questions. Asking questions of your fellow participants can also help to ease anxiety by taking your mind off yourself, such as “How’s your day going?” or “What’s your favorite part of the presentation so far?”
Lastly, remember that everyone in a video call is likely just as nervous about being there. While some people might have more experience or less social anxiety, everyone has a certain degree of discomfort when it comes to new technology. Give yourself a break and show yourself compassion as you adjust to this way of communicating.
Why Do Zoom Meetings Give Me Anxiety?
It’s quite normal to feel anxious when you’re doing a video call for the first time. In particular, if you already have social anxiety, you might feel like you’re “on display” and want to run away. Below are some specific reasons why Zoom meetings can be so anxiety-provoking.
It feels like people are watching you. During a normal meeting or class, all eyes would be on the teacher or person speaking. During a Zoom call, if you have video enabled, everyone has the ability to look at other people in the “room” without them knowing they are being looked at. This can make you feel more self-conscious than you would in a normal meeting or class.
It feels like people are invading your personal space. Whether you are taking a call in your home office or another place in your home, it can feel as though you’ve invited your work colleagues or school classmates into your home when you are on a video call. This can make you feel uncomfortable particularly if there is something about your space that makes you feel self-conscious.
You feel uncomfortable with technology. It can be intimidating if you have never used Zoom before, especially if you are joining a class or meeting and don’t know what to expect.
How Do You Calm Down Before a Zoom Meeting?
Do you find yourself having a lot of anticipatory anxiety leading up to Zoom meetings? If so, it’s best to give yourself some time beforehand to calm down. Below are some tips on things you can do before a meeting to feel calmer.
- Schedule margins between meetings. If possible, try not to attend too many meetings back to back. This way, you can have some time to yourself and your mind will be fresh for the next meeting. This is especially important if you find video calls draining.
- Turn off devices. Take a moment to turn off devices so that you don’t get interrupted during the call. Doing so will help to calm any nerves you might have about awkward interruptions.
- Do things that make you feel calm. Take a few minutes before joining the video call to center yourself. Some ideas include listening to music, taking some deep breaths (in through the nose and out the mouth), drinking something that makes you feel calm, or chatting with someone.
- Journal about your fear or anxiety. Try to remember how you felt before, during, and after the video chat. Was there anything different about how you are feeling? Were things better or worse than expected? After thinking through your feelings in a journal, try not to focus on them as much next time you do a video call.
How to Feel Confident on Zoom
How can you feel more confident on Zoom? If being on a Zoom call makes you feel self-conscious and lose confidence, there are a few things you can try.
- Spruce up your space. Turn on your camera and have a look at what will be visible within your screen. While you don’t need to do a room makeover, taking a few moments to tidy up your backdrop and put away clutter will help you feel calmer. The same goes for your desktop: clear it off as much as possible.
- Check your lighting. It’s best to have a light source in front of you so that people can clearly see your face. This might mean sitting in front of a window or positioning a lamp beside your laptop.
- Prepare an introduction. Prepare how you would like to introduce yourself if you are joining a meeting for the first time. This will mean different things depending on whether you a joining an informal friends and family call, a work meeting or presentation, or a school class.
- Position yourself. You don’t want to be too close or too far away from the camera so that people can clearly see you during a video call. If possible, try to test out how it looks depending on how close your camera is to you.
- Change to speaker view. If you find that you get distracted by looking at yourself, switch to speaker view (so you only see the speaker) or cover your face with a sticky note. Just remember that people can still see you even if you can’t see them, so try not to do anything distracting.
- Upload a profile photo. Make sure to upload a profile photo that makes you feel confident. Having a picture that is up-to-date and makes you feel good about how you look will make you feel more confident.
- Learn basic skills. Learn how to join a call and use basic functions. I like the videos offered by Anthony English on Youtube for clear explanations (see below).
- Take a course. This course isn’t specifically for Zoom, but I wholeheartedly recommend the course Camera Ready if you are doing video calls or presentations for work or business and want to feel confident about the quality of your videos. Jennifer takes a unique approach in the course by walking you through a “makeover” from taking bad videos to taking quality videos. I’ve personally used her tips and learned a lot from the course! Jennifer is an amazing instructor. There’s even a bonus module about getting over camera shyness!
How to Deal with Social Anxiety on Zoom Calls
What if you get really bad social anxiety on Zoom Calls? If you have social anxiety in normal situations, it might be magnified on a Zoom call. If that’s the case, below are some tips to deal with social anxiety on Zoom calls.
Turn off your camera. If it means the difference between doing a Zoom call and not, then turn off your camera. This won’t work in every situation, but it can help for those calls where your video presence isn’t really all that critical. You could even turn it off temporarily if you feel the need to take a break.
Get dressed up. If you must have your camera on, how about dressing up for the call? If you put in some effort beforehand and dress how you think people expect professional adults to look, then that should help with social anxiety.
Repeat a mantra. Mantras can be helpful, especially for those who are on the social anxiety spectrum. A mantra is a short, simple phrase that you can repeat in your head to help yourself feel better or more relaxed before speaking with others. You could try something like “I am strong” or “Today I will do my best.”
Free Training: "Conversation Advice for Overthinkers"
Check out this free training offered by the experts at Social Pro Now!
- How to use "Conversational Threading" to avoid awkward silence
- The proven way to get past boring small talk
- Instantly beat self-consciousness with the "OFC-method"
- Busting the myth that you have to get a "more interesting life" to be more interesting"
Sip on some tea. Sipping on some tea can help with anxiety. The act of sipping may cause you to slow down and be more mindful which could reduce social anxiety. In addition, if you choose a tea like chamomile, it will help calm your body.
Take some deep breaths. To reduce anxiety, take some deep breaths. Deep breathing can really be helpful when feeling anxious because it slows the heart rate and relaxes you a bit which also reduces how much adrenaline is released into your system.
Have a winger. Having a wingman can be really helpful when trying to overcome video calling anxiety. Having someone you trust on the other end of the video call with whom you are familiar, makes it easier because that person can help ease your social anxiety and make things run smoother by acting as support for how well or how poorly things go.
Challenge your thoughts. When you are starting to feel anxious about video calling, it’s important to challenge how you think. Remind yourself that this is a normal feeling and your anxiety isn’t dangerous or unmanageable. Telling yourself these things can help bring down the intensity of feelings of anxiety.
Say no sometimes. Sometimes, it’s okay to say no. Don’t feel bad for saying you don’t want to video call with someone because of how anxious the idea makes you. This works best for informal video calls, such as with friends or family members.
Get help. If you are experiencing intense video call anxiety, it’s always okay to get help. There are many different ways you can go about receiving professional help for your problems; everything from therapy or counseling sessions to medication.
Related Posts about Video Call Anxiety
- 5 Easy Ways to Get Over Phone Anxiety
- Are There Classes That Teach Social Skills?
- Why Am I Afraid of Making a Fool of Myself?
How Do You Overcome Zoom Anxiety?
Here are some of my favorite social anxiety tools
Thanks for reading! I hope you found some helpful tips. Since this site is about social anxiety, I wanted to also share some tools I use that I hope you’ll find helpful. Some of these are affiliate links, so if you decide to try them, I’ll earn a commission. However, I only recommend things I have used myself and would recommend to a friend or family member.
Online Therapy: For online therapy, I have personally used and like the service offered by Betterhelp. It's easy to get started from the comfort of your home. You'll even get a discount on your first month of therapy when you use my link.
Doctor Visits: For doctor visits, Web Doctors offers convenient online appointments.
Audible Subscription: I recommend a lot of self-help books on this site, but I actually prefer an audiobook subscription over print books! My favorite subscription service is Audible because it has all the best-sellers and they stay in your digital library forever (even if you end your subscription). You can sign up for a free trial and listen to your first two books for free.
Social Anxiety Masterclass: The Social Anxiety Masterclass is my signature course where I walk you through everything I know about how to manage social anxiety. If you're not ready to enroll in the course, be sure to subscribe to my email newsletter to hear about special deals!