By Maria Medina

STANFORD (KPIX) – Nearly a year into the pandemic, and many of us are experiencing what a Stanford University study has dubbed “Zoom fatigue.”

The term was coined after millions of people across the country began relying on Zoom to work or connect with friends and family, but the study says the fatigue can come from any type of video conferencing platform.

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Marinelle Carino, who is in advertising sales, said she has experienced Zoom fatigue after traveling and meeting clients face-to-face became non-existent as COVID-19 swept across the country.

“Building that repertoire that has just come down to Zoom only so it’s been kind of challenging,” Carino said.

David Ramirez, chief executive officer of Contractors.com and California.com, said he works even more now because there’s no excuse for commute time or grabbing lunch.

“So you don’t have those kind of nice breaks to get away, you’re constantly in front of the computer jumping from one meeting to the next, and it can be very exhausting and tiring,” said Ramirez.

The Stanford study identifies four reasons for fatigue, including prolonged intense eye contact with the other person on Zoom, seeing yourself during video chats (like a mirror following you at all times), decrease in mobility and working harder to read nonverbal cues.

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The study said to get rid of Zoom fatigue people can opt out of the fullscreen option to reduce the intensity of the close-up eye contact, hide the “self-view” button, create distance between yourself and the screen in order to increase mobility and take audio-only breaks away from the camera so the brain isn’t working overtime on trying to interpret nonverbal cues.

Ramirez and Carino said they’ve incorporated their own changes to help them focus or relieve eye, neck and shoulder soreness, like using blue light filtering glasses.

“I try to do some meditation in the morning, kind of clears my mind, it allows me to be present,” said Ramirez.

San Leandro Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter said she’s taken up knitting and uses her treadmill more than before.

“Get outside and look at the outdoors and that’s, quite frankly, why I work at the food bank every Tuesday,” said Cutter.

Zoom allows them to work, they all said, but there is nothing like in-person human interaction.

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“The idea that we’re all doing the work for the same purpose that gets lost in the Zoom meetings sometimes,” Ramirez said. “So we would love to get back to the office as soon as we can.”