“Zoom Dysmorphia” describes an emerging form of body dysmorphia, a psychiatric disorder that manifests in obsessiveness over a perceived flaw in appearance which can lead to varying degrees of emotional stress.
As the amount of time in front of the camera increases, we are confronted with our mirror image (not always a true reflections of self) and can hyper-fixate on perceived flaws. The dependence on video calling over the past year has led to an increase of cosmetic procedures, as suggested by a recent study by the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Dermatology. While everyone experiences thoughts of insecurity to some degree, significant disruptions to one’s emotional well-being and everyday life should be taken seriously. Forms of body dysmorphia can closely be related to depression.
But there are some forms of action that can be taken to help reduce the negative impact of what a person is feeling.
If you are able, turn your camera off. While it is not a long-term solution, it does give you a break from looking at and over-examining your appearance.
Cover your window in the call grid with a post it note. This might be easier said than done, especially if call participants leave and join at random. If you are unable to do so, try making an effort to make eye contact with other participants.
Stand in front of a mirror two or three times a day and give yourself positive affirmations. It might be a difficult task at first, but it can get easier, as this helps change the way you perceive your appearance.
Try reframing your thoughts after a Zoom call. Note what negative thoughts you are having and attempt to turn them into a more positive light.
Avoid social media before a call. Image filters and inevitable comparisons to others can influence your view of self.
The best thing to do is try to remember to be kind to yourself.