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The Added Anxiety Teleconferences Bring

Online meeting anxiety is normal. Here's how to help yourself.

With the pandemic introducing a "new normal" to everybody around the world, changes in office structures and office meetings have certainly taken place. What would have been a short 15-minute meeting is now just an email forwarded to everybody in the department. Instead of the week-long trip, you would have needed to take to the Taiwanese investors, you have to perform your presentations and pitches via teleconference instead.

While this might be a source of relief for some who are glad to have the extra time to do as they wish, others may find it troubling and anxiety-inducing even as various changes are happening and they cannot do anything to stop them.

But if videoconferencing is nearly a replication of face-to-face interaction, what's causing the anxiety?

Missing Non-Verbal Communication

Our feelings and attitudes are largely delivered through non-verbal signals such as gestures, facial expressions, posture, tone, and pitch of the voice. In face-to-face meetings, you can process these cues automatically while still listening to the speaker at the same time.

Have you taken the time to analyze your conversations? In "ordinary" conversations, there is often a brief overlap, as one speaker ends a statement and another begins. This works well when the hearer is successful at matching the rhythms and speed of the speaker and anticipating the ending of the sentence. Even when there is a need to repair the interaction, it's incorporated into the conversation, sometimes with humor.

Conversations have rhythm. Your brain waves synchronize in a conversation and there is an ease and methodic pattern to it. But on a video chat, you need to work harder to process non-verbal cues.

Paying more attention consumes a lot of energy. That dissonance between your minds that are metaphorically on the same page as you are miles and miles away from each other causes people to have conflicting feelings. It can be truly exhausting.

Also, in face-to-face meetings, you heavily rely on non-verbal cues to make emotional judgments, such as assessing whether they're telling the truth or using sarcasm. Is his fidgeting a signal of annoyance, boredom, or anxiety? Relying on pure verbal information to gauge your audience's emotions is tiring.

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Technical Difficulties

You're presenting an important bar graph to a list of possible investors to prove to them that investing in your start-up would be good for their businesses. You're energetic and chirpy as you're trying to get everyone on board and mid-presentation you realize not one of them has audibly reacted to any part of the presentation.

You start to ask a question when you look closer on your screen, it says internet connection is unstable. Did the investors get any part of the presentation at all?

Having to transfer to teleconferences instead of in-person presentations can exponentially add to your frustration because there are even more things you have no control over. With people turning their microphones on and off, lagging connections, and background noise, online meetings rarely flow smoothly.

A good way to combat Zoom fatigue is to take breaks. Get up and walk downstairs or around your backyard for a few minutes. You can even ingest a couple of drops of CBD oil to help you relax before your next meeting.

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No More Small Talk

While on your way to the meeting, you used to often come across friends and acquaintances with who you could just catch up with or engage in brief small talk about that new political ad or whether it's worth it to but an air humidifier. It's the same thing when you go to the pantry to get coffee. Just relocating to a different room is energizing. At home, you often just work on task after task without getting up and go on multiple Zoom meetings without taking breaks.

Also, walking is known to improve creativity. You get time to review the events of the last meeting, to highlight the important points of the discussions, and to look at problems from other angles as you are inspired by the objects you see around you. You can't walk in a teleconference.

Locations also matter. The physical environment acts as a cognitive structure— you assign certain meanings to meeting rooms — and this subtly changes your behavior.

When your home environment and work environment don't have clear boundaries then you may find yourself wanting to watch Netflix in the middle of a workday or having important work ideas in the middle of eating dinner with your family.

This inconveniences not just you but your partner and kids as well since I'm sure you don't want them to walk in on you when you're in a Zoom meeting or to stop you from typing down work notes when you suddenly get a great problem-solving idea.

Pure Relief

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CBD oil helps support an overall sense of peace and calmness to encourage your mind and body to relax throughout the day. Pure Relief offers multiple products like CBD gummies, CBD topicals, and CBD oils for you to have options and to ensure that you are able to find the product that will be most effective and comfortable for you.

Is CBD Safe?

Not only will CBD not get you high, but it won't cause any harmful side effects either. Some users have experienced mild drowsiness with large doses of CBD, but this is not common. Most importantly, CBD is entirely non-addictive and non-habit-forming, making it a safer alternative than conventional medications.

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