How to be more prepared for Zoom calls

By: Camryn Eisenberg, Columnist

It’s been about a month since starting self-isolation and participating in online classes. While nothing about this crazy situation is easy, and most of our lives have taken a complete turn, all we can do is try and make the best of it. 

Universities all across America are closed down and have moved to online instruction. We are all attending the one and only Zoom University, while also attending Zoom parties and hangouts during our free time. Now the real question at hand is, what do we wear during these zoom meetings? 

Zoom meetings can be pretty awkward sometimes, and many of us may not even keep our cameras on. However, turning your webcam on can actually be extremely beneficial during a Zoom call. Turning your webcam on allows you to gain a better focus and be more engaged in conversations. Knowing that others can see what you are doing will help you to eliminate any distractions, such as your phone or house chores. In a Zoom call with friends, it will allow you to feel more connected with them as if you are conversing face to face, in person. 

Having your webcam off during a Zoom call can negatively impact your time in online classes or a meeting. You may find yourself checking your phone, dozing back to sleep or even leaving the room. All of these things distract you from soaking in the information which the person you are calling may be sharing. 

Here are five tips to help you turn on that webcam during online meetings:

  • Set a regular morning routine: Having a set morning routine before getting dressed can encourage you to want to get out of your pajamas. My morning routine consists of waking up at 9 a.m. every morning, doing my skin care routine, making my bed, getting dressed, working out, journaling, and making a nutritious breakfast. The goal is to feel productive and inspired to take on each day. 

Hubspot blogger Carly Stec recommended “9 Apps That’ll Take the Stress out of your Morning Routine.” She covers apps to improve your sleep cycle, develop a morning ritual, plan outfits, and more! I recommend choosing a couple to stay on track in easing into a new routine.

  • Give yourself a self-esteem boost: Although we don’t live to impress others, looking nice can boost your own self esteem, which can improve your interaction with others. Confidence is key in producing good discussion, so every once in a while fix up your hair, even wear a little makeup, and put on something nice for a Zoom call. You can also boost self-esteem by feeling good on the inside. Try having a healthy breakfast or doing a morning workout before your meeting (just make sure to shower up before turning that camera on).
  • Workout clothes: Changing into athleisure clothes puts me in an energetic mindset and  motivates me to get that work out in before or after my Zoom classes. Workout clothes make me feel well put together, while also being comfortable. 

“The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells” said Heidi Goodman, Executive Editor of Harvard Health Letter.

Exercise is also known to improve stress and anxiety and improve your mood or sleep, which are all contributing factors to the way you learn and retain information. 

Many studies have suggested that the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory (the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex) have greater volume in people who exercise versus people who don’t,” Goodman said.

  • Explore flattering webcam-wear: If working out isn’t your niche, or you’re looking for another way to boost your confidence, try wearing something that flatters your appearance on camera. Turtlenecks, for example, are a universal option.

“Turtlenecks are magical because they frame your face. I once described them on this website as being like the “sartorial equivalent of the iPhone portrait feature,” and I stand by that. Plus, they make you look smart,” said Emilia Patrarca, The Cut writer.

According to Patrarca, wearing turtlenecks on Zoom calls is great because they are flattering on anyone during any occasion. 

No one likes to just wear jeans around the house, so the great part about Zoom is that they will only see the top half of your body. So put on that cute turtleneck that’s hanging in your closet, and wear it with your most comfy pair of sweatpants or shorts.

  • Don’t sacrifice comfort: Looking good leads to feeling good, therefore dressing up for the day can improve the quality of your work in class and can even make you happier overall. However, when I say dress up, my advice is still to go for something comfortable, because who wants to sit around their house in uncomfortable clothing? Sacrificing your comfort can shift your focus onto tight pants, itching or readjusting your clothes. 

It doesn’t take fancy garments to feel that preparedness difference. Just getting out of your pajamas can be beneficial. Instead of wearing baggy sweats and a big t-shirt that may feel similar to your pajamas, wear something like joggers and a crop top or leggings and a hoodie. The point is to differentiate productivity outfits and lounging outfits, not to pretend like you’re actually walking out the door to go to work.

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