How To Handle Video Calls If You Have Social Anxiety

May 17 / Katy Morin

I feel like I used video calls more in the last two months than I did in my entire life. I don’t know about you but I am tired of video calls, however, since they are probably here to stay I found some ways to cope with it.


As someone who has dealt with social anxiety for years, I find video calls easier than in-person interactions. There is no awkwardness of shaking hands or cheek-kisses, but video calls come with lots of awkward moments too.


As an introvert, one thing I learned over the years is that preparation is key. In my weekly Toastmasters meetings, I always take some notes of what I want to say before the meeting. Of course, sometimes you have to talk without preparation, but just knowing that it might happen is better than not knowing at all that I might have to talk without preparation. If someone asks you to do a video call, ask them what will be discussed in the meeting so you can prepare in advance.


Even if you are prepared, video calls can be exhausting. They require more concentration and meetings don’t flow as well as in person with all the: ‘’You are on mute’’ ‘’Can you hear me?’’ ‘’Sorry I lost connection’’


It’s easy to do too many video calls these days. We don’t have the excuse of traffic or parties. Here I am totally exhausted on my last online Toastmasters meeting.


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The solution is not to avoid all video calls. Just like in-person interaction, I've learned that avoiding the problem does not help. It's worse the more you avoid it. Choose which invitations you want to say yes to. Be honest. If you feel the need to say no to someone, try to tell them why to make them understand your point of view. Some people have no idea that video calls anxiety exists. If you explain to someone how you feel that might even help you deal with your emotions and that will help you connect with that person and they probably will be understanding.


I always make sure I take some time off. You do not need to be available 24/7. I make sure I have at least 1 hour off screens in the evening to meditate and reflect on my day.


If you find video calls overwhelming you might want to try phone calls instead. Personally, I like video calls better than phone calls. I like to be able to see the body language of the person I am talking to. If you don’t like phone calls either you might be part of the 40% of baby boomers, and 70% of millennials, who experience anxious thoughts when the phone rings. That is another subject in itself, that I will cover up in my next article. Instead of phone calls maybe texting or email is a better solution for you.


With video calls come a new issue that doesn’t exist in-person. You can see yourself. You can notice every movement you make, every expression on your face. You probably don’t like it and that makes you even more self-conscious and afraid of being judged. We can be so hard on ourselves. I don’t know about you but I never judge my friends on the way they look or the way they say something, why do I feel the need to be so negative about myself? If it’s also your case, you can try positive affirmations. These statements are a simple way to change your thought processes so you aren't always waiting for anxiety to take charge of your life. 

Many people create their own affirmations while others use affirmations from websites or books. It doesn’t matter where you find the affirmations, just as long as you begin using them effectively throughout your day. Choose affirmations that speak to you and help you overcome your fear. Affirmations must focus on the present and they should be about you, not anyone else. 


Anxiety affirmations are simply positive statements that you can say to yourself in those moments when you start to feel anxious. You can use these at any time and for any reason to calm your nerves and bring peace of mind. For example, you can tell yourself, "I can overcome my fears because I am in control," Any statement that replaces the anxious thoughts with a positive feeling will work. Say these affirmations during anxious moments as often as you need to and continue affirming the positive thoughts until the anxious moment has passed. 


By using these affirmations when you are feeling anxious, you are literally reprogramming your mind. In doing so, you will be able to think in a more positive manner, and you can also use these affirmations to refocus your mind away from your anxiety and fear. 


Every time you use an affirmation, you leave less and less room for the irrational fears and the anxiety that has ruled your life for far too long. 


If you need more help with dealing with video calls anxiety you might want to try exposure therapy.


If you want more strategies to manage social anxiety, join my Facebook Group where I'll be sharing more techniques to overcome loneliness and fear of communicating with others, by showing you how to communicate better in your interpersonal and professional relationships, to have the social life and the career you want.



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Happy zooming!


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