Online Hygiene - 3 Tips to Feel Fresh During Virtual Meetings

Do you find yourself getting tired when doing work, meetings, classes and gatherings on Zoom? There’s some good reasons why. And I’ll give you some tips to remain healthy even while staring at a screen.

Why being in virtual meetings (like Zoom) is tiring:


  1. Your brain and heart know better – those pixels of Susan or Ishmael on the screen aren’t really them.
  2. Staring at screen and in one direction too long isn’t natural.
  3. It’s easy to lose contact with reality – with the here and now and the room you are in while in a Zoom meeting. And your nervous system gets a little freaked out.
  1. Tune in their voice. Also, feel the ground under your chair or feet. Feel into the literal, physical common ground the other person(s) is on, even if far away.
  2. Every few minutes, be sure to look away from the screen. 
  3. Look out the window, if you have one, and let your gaze get a little unfocused. If you have a favorite piece of furniture or artwork in the room, glance at that for a few moments before returning to the screen. Do this whenever you start to feel tired.

Help make it a postive group experience

While the tips above are things you can do to make it a more grounded and beneficial experience for you, what you contribute (and others contribute) to the group can make a difference. Some of these might seem like common sense, but not always:

  • Keep your microphone muted until you’re ready to speak. The way sound works in these meetings is “louder” than in a physical space.
  • If you need to get up and move to a new location, turn your camera off until you’re settled in the new place. Believe it or not, this can make some people motion sick if you leave your camera on as you walk through your house!
  • Without being hyperfocused on the screen, avoid doing other tasks or eating.
  • Remember the reason of “common ground” of why all of you are here together meeting today.


While it might seem like doing something else while in the meeting isn’t bothering anyone, it can do just that in a subtle way. Remember the last day of school when no one, including the teachers, wanted to be there? It can be like that, but more subtle when you or someone else isn’t fully present and wanting to be there. If you’re typing away, looking at things on the internet or having conversations with people in your home or office, would you do those things if you were physically present with everyone in the meeting? Probably not. It does make a difference – it can slowly but surely “bring down” the vibe of a virtual meeting.

I have a confession here – I hate the word “virtual”. Because while the pixels on the screen are not the real people, there are very real people behind those computers, phones and tablets. The word “virtual” can lead to the idea that “well, this isn’t a real meeting/connection, so if I just check my email it won’t really matter to anyone…”

If after all that you realize you just can’t stand being in this meeting without some sort of distraction…maybe that says something of whether or not this meeting is really necessary for you to be a part of?