As we trudge through week five (or is it six?) of lockdown, most of us are very familiar with the feeling of Zoom fatigue. Our necks are sore from constantly staring down into our laptop screens, our eyes tired from being blasted with blue light and we’re starting to really resent those Zoom calls that definitely could have been an email.
But perhaps more worryingly, our new video chat existence means we’re sitting across from our own faces for hours on end every single day. As someone who rarely uploads a photo without a filter and a few Facetune tweaks, this has been a rather disheartening reality check, compounded by the fact I haven’t been able to have any of my regular beauty tweakments. My Botox has worn off, my skin has broken out, and my hair is even more chaotic than usual. Throw in the already hypercritical approach I take towards my appearance and it’s a sure-fire recipe for waning self-confidence and an unhealthy obsession with the aesthetic nuances of my identity.
I know it’s not just me. An array of colleagues and friends have all commented on the fact Zoom and all the other video hosting sites like House Party and Google Hangouts are seemingly so unflattering. It’s not surprising to think of why. First off, there are no filters, which is a huge departure from the images of ourselves which have existed in an increasingly filtered world. Then, there’s the matter of angles. A laptop screen will invariably capture you from below, notoriously the most unflattering angle imaginable.
There’s also the fact that we rarely watch ourselves talking. In a photo, we’re posing, but fully animated videos of ourselves have revealed facial expressions and contorted features that we have never encountered before. “I didn’t realise I grind my teeth constantly in meetings,” one friend mused. “I’m literally always frowning,” another mentioned. I’ve heard the sentence “as soon as this is over, I’m getting Botox,” more times than I care to say, even from some people who swore to never venture down the injectable route.
If this was any other time, we would advise one another to avoid anything that triggered such a crisis of confidence. Sadly, however, we can’t simply turn the cameras off in the way we can indulge in a digital detox or a short social media hiatus. Video calling is part and parcel to our new way of living, essential for productivity and the continuation of our daily working lives. We have brainstorms, meetings and interviews via video, as well, of course, as being the only way we can catch a glimpse of our friends and family.
So, what can we do? First, you can try to limit your video calls to the ones that actually require a visual presence - there’s a lot you can achieve on an old school voice call. Next, make sure you’re working facing natural light, which is not only the best light for videos but will also help to boost your mood and your energy levels throughout the day.
Next, limit your screen time outside of work hours. When there’s not much stimulation coming from the outside world, it becomes all too easy to look inwards and hone in on your every insecurity. When work is finished, expand your outlook by forcing yourself to get outside into the fresh air and ideally, into nature (while, of course, adhering to social distancing). It’s also always a good idea to allocate some time to self-care. I never feel my best if my usual self-care regime has slipped, and that often means my beauty maintenance. It’s incredible how much my mood and confidence are boosted if I feel like I’m taking care of myself, whether that be with a long bath or a face mask. Finally, just keep reminding yourself that as soon as lockdown is over, you can book in for as much Botox as you want. Just kidding.
This article originally appeared on Glamour UK.