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Now that virtual meetings have become the norm, our once-familiar face-to-face interactions have morphed into pixels on a screen. For many, the mere thought of logging into yet another Zoom call triggers a wave of anxiety.

Zoom anxiety is the unsettling feeling that accompanies virtual gatherings. Maybe you’re fearful of being spotlighted on the screen or have trouble navigating social cues through a webcam lens (understandable!). Technical difficulties don’t help matters, either. 

If you’re familiar with the feeling of Zoom anxiety, read on for some practical strategies to help ease the pain. 

How to Overcome Zoom Anxiety: 9 Tips 

Communicating on Zoom meetings can be a major challenge of working remotely. Here are some tips for managing and overcoming Zoom anxiety so you can handle these calls with more confidence and less dread. 

1. Set Up a Comfortable Space

Find a cozy spot with good lighting and minimal distractions for your Zoom calls. Having a dedicated workspace helps your mind shift into work mode and prevent interruptions. Add personal touches, like a plant or a favorite photo, to make it feel more inviting and familiar.

Before each meeting, take a few moments to relax with deep breaths or simple mindfulness exercises. There are lots of guided breathing exercises and meditations on YouTube. The Headspace app is also a great resource.

Taking deep breaths in a comfy, private space before your Zoom call can help calm your nerves and get you in the right mindset to tackle the call. 

2. Get Tech-Savvy

Spend some time getting to know Zoom and its features (or whatever virtual communication tool your team uses). Practice using it with friends or family to build your confidence. Make sure your internet connection is stable and your device is updated. Knowing you’re prepared tech-wise can ease worries about glitches during the call.

If you encounter any issues, don’t panic! Keep troubleshooting steps handy or reach out to tech support for assistance. The more comfortable you are with the technology, the smoother your Zoom experience will be.

3. Be Proactive About Your Sound and Camera Settings 

There are lots of settings within Zoom you can play around with to find ones that make you the most comfortable. For example, you could set your camera and microphone to “off” when you log into a call. 

That gives you control over when you turn your camera on and unmute yourself, so you won’t have to worry about people hearing background noise from your mic before you’ve had a chance to mute yourself. 

You can also use the “touch up my appearance” feature if you’re self-conscious about how you look on Zoom. Plus, you can choose a new background if you don’t want the meeting participants to see inside your home. 

Play around with settings before your call to find ones that would help ease the anxiety you have when Zooming. 

Related: 6 Ways to Look Really Good on Zoom

4. Prepare and Practice

Before the call, review the agenda or any materials shared by the host, if available. Jot down any questions or points you want to discuss to feel more prepared. Consider doing a trial run with a friend to practice speaking and sharing your screen if needed.

This helps you feel more confident and reduces the fear of stumbling during the meeting. Remember, it’s okay to make mistakes—everyone does! 

Approach each call as a learning opportunity and focus on the conversation rather than aiming for perfection.

5. Establish Boundaries

Set boundaries around your Zoom usage to prevent burnout and overwhelm. If possible, determine specific times for meetings and stick to them as much as possible. Communicate your availability to colleagues or clients, and don’t hesitate to decline meetings if you’re feeling overloaded (again, if possible).

It’s also healthy to schedule breaks between back-to-back calls to recharge and avoid Zoom fatigue. Prioritize self-care, too, by incorporating activities you enjoy outside of work to maintain a healthy balance.

6. Shift Your Perspective

Shift your mindset from viewing Zoom calls as daunting obligations to opportunities for connection and collaboration. Try focusing on the benefits of virtual meetings, such as the ability to connect with colleagues from anywhere in the world or participate in events without the need for travel.

Don’t forget that everyone experiences some level of nervousness, too, and you’re definitely not alone in feeling this way. Some awkwardness during Zoom calls is inevitable, but these calls can give you a chance to learn and grow. 

7. Practice Active Engagement

Combat Zoom anxiety by actively engaging in the conversation. By making eye contact with the camera, you can create a sense of connection. Nodding and using affirming gestures can also help show that you’re actively listening.

If you’re not comfortable speaking up in a big group, you could post a question in the chat bar. Taking a more active role in the meeting can help shift the focus away from self-consciousness and redirect your energy towards meaningful interaction with others.

8. Use Strategies to Calm Down Your Nervous System

If you’re feeling panicky, there are some strategies that can help. Distracting your body with something cold, for example, can de-escalate a rising panic attack. You could sip on some cold water or hold an ice cube in your hand. Having a strong Altoid or other mint can have a similar effect. 

Another strategy is the “many things” approach. With this strategy, you name five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.

The “many things” strategy can help ground you in the current moment and shift your body away from anxiety and into a more regulated state. Finding ways to regulate your nervous system can help you be more present and less fearful during a Zoom call. 

9. Seek Support

Don’t hesitate to reach out for support if you’re struggling with Zoom anxiety. Talk to trusted colleagues, friends, or a mentor about your feelings—they may offer valuable insights or share their own coping strategies.

Consider joining online communities or forums where you can connect with others who experience similar challenges. Professional counseling or therapy can also provide tools and techniques to manage anxiety in virtual settings. Many health insurance plans include mental health benefits. 

Remember, seeking support is a sign of strength, and you don’t have to navigate Zoom anxiety alone.

Conquer Your Zoom Anxiety So You Can Thrive in Virtual Meetings 

Overcoming Zoom anxiety is a journey, so be patient with yourself! These practical tips can help, but don’t expect your anxiety to disappear overnight. It takes time, practice, and self-awareness to reduce your apprehension and start feeling better about your virtual meeting experience.

Remember, it’s normal to feel nervous or uneasy about Zoom calls, especially in today’s fast-paced digital landscape. But with persistence and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone, you can transform Zoom from a source of anxiety into a platform for meaningful connection. 

So, the next time you find yourself faced with a Zoom call, take a deep breath, remind yourself of these strategies, and approach the screen with courage and curiosity. You’ve got this!

Read more: How to Work Remotely From Home (and Crush It)