Zoom Fatigue: Social Alternatives That Don't Use Video Cameras

With many of us now working from home, we are spending lots of time in front of our computer screens, hopping from one Zoom call to the next. Are you feeling like you're running an unwanted Zoom marathon? Let's fix that! 🏃‍♀️

What is 'Zoom Fatigue'?

2020 brought us the COVID-inspired Zoom fatigue. When going to work or socializing with friends in person was no longer encouraged or possible, many of us took our interactions to social apps like Zoom.

Quickly after, the rise of Zoom fatigue became known. Feeling tired, anxious, or burnt-out are now common symptoms associated with Zoom fatigue. But what causes it?

Even just logging in, putting on your most positive face, and having your video camera turned on for hours a day can be overwhelming and tiring. Then, there's lag, awkward pauses, and connection issues that lead to more discomfort and dissatisfaction.

If you're someone with anxiety, Zoom video calls are even less fun. You may worry about your appearance, how your room looks, or feel anxious about someone walking in or making noises during your call. Plus, looking at yourself while speaking adds another level of discomfort that we can all agree on.

So while it may be less possible to avoid Zoom calls at work, if you are experiencing Zoom fatigue, here are some social alternatives to try with your friends.

Play virtual games together.

From phone games like Words With Friends (remember that?), chess, checkers, or the latest Among Us phone game, there are plenty of games to play with friends that don't use video cameras.

Computer games and console games are great alternatives as well! Games like Animal Crossing for the Nintendo is both relaxing and social, and Remote Insensitivity is the perfect Cards Against Humanity alternative.

Check out more online games to play with friends without video cameras.

Have a virtual movie night.

Call up your friends, or just make a group chat and coordinate a movie night together. Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party) lets you synchronize a movie or show to watch with others. Plus, the Google Chrome extension synchronizes videos and adds a group chat to Netflix, Hulu, and HBO.

Exercise together.

This is a great way to hold each other accountable while doing your exercises. Try virtual classes, free YouTube videos, or use apps like Strava to stay fit together.

And if you're looking for free home workouts, here are some of my favorites.

Organize a book club.

Ask around to some of your fellow readers and see if they would be interested in picking a book to read together. You can have a virtual café-style meet up over coffee or tea to discuss the book every week or biweekly. Plus, with many of us having extra time on our hands, it's the perfect time to start a virtual book club.

Get back to the basics.

Sometimes we just don't want to FaceTime or Zoom, and that's when a simple phone call is the best way to keep in touch with friends right now. Catch up with your friends over a simple phone call. It adds a more personal touch beyond texting and provides some quality social interaction that many of us may be lacking these days.


Healthline. (2020). 6 Ways To Stay Social That Don't Use Video Cameras.

Psychiatric Times. (2020). A Neuropsychological Exploration of Zoom Fatigue.