According to Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist and the director of Comprehend the Mind, a diagnostic and treatment center for mental health in New York, there are, fortunately, some simple (and less drastic) tactics that may help the way you perceive your self-image.
For starters, “if turning off your camera isn’t an option, you could use the “hide self view” function, so you no longer see yourself on screen, even though others can still see you on their end,” she says. This way, you're not tempted to pick apart your appearance, while Brittany from accounting goes over this month’s numbers. And when you do look at yourself, do it with intention. “Look in the mirror and tell yourself a positive statement 10 times, two to three times a day. At first, it may feel forced, but it will become more natural with practice, and eventually it can begin to change the way your brain perceives how you look,” she explains.
Dr. Josie Howard, a psychiatrist and psychodermatology specialist offered another perspective: Ask yourself how you are experiencing other people in these video exchanges. “It is very likely that you are cutting them some slack and are much less critical towards them than you are of yourself. The goal is to notice the self-critical voices without judgment, and then practice some radical self-kindness in response,” she says.
In the weeks since leaving my dermatologist’s pristine, marble-floored office, I’ve found myself thinking about this concept of radical self-kindness. Maybe when I see myself on Zoom, and hear that critical voice creep in, I can remind myself to have a little more grace for my face. Maybe it would also help to spend more time away from screens in my non-working hours. Heck, maybe I'll try doing some of those aforementioned affirmations.