Introduction

COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, brought with it many changes to our daily lives, but one unexpected change for many people included a significant increase in Zoom video calls. Zoom has allowed people to maintain employment by working from home and staying connected during these trying times. But this rapid increase in the number of video calls that individuals have been required to participate in has resulted in “Zoom fatigue.” In other words, people are exhausted from these video calls. Of course, it’s not just Zoom — Microsoft Teams, Skype, Google Meets or Hangouts, WebEx and others can result in the same side effect. Why are these Zoom (and other) calls so tiring? What is causing this exhaustion? Here we will explore the psychological reasons why Zoom meetings cause fatigue, how Zoom affects the brain, and how you can manage stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Psychology of Zoom Fatigue

“Does anyone else just feel tired ALL THE TIME since working from home? I’m just perpetually exhausted,” writes one Twitter user, a PhD student from Cornell University. Why do we feel so drained after a Zoom meeting or call? Well, being on a video chat requires more focus than a face-to-face conversation does. This is partially because we have to work harder to decipher non-verbal cues like facial expressions and body language. The silences that occur during a regular conversation also pose a problem when they occur during video chats. Dr. Gianpiero Petriglieri from Insead, a business school in France, tells BBC that, “Silence creates a natural rhythm in a real-life conversation. However, when it happens in a video call, you became anxious about the technology.” It also doesn’t help that oftentimes our technology (such as internet connections) lags behind a little bit. One 2014 study demonstrated that even small transmission delays during a teleconference call makes people perceive the responder as less friendly or focused.

People also feel more self-conscious when they are on video calls. This is because, when on camera, people become hyper-aware of their own facial expressions, posture, movements, and breathing patterns. People also get confused about where to look when on a call. Do you look at the image of the person talking on the screen or stare at the webcam? These feelings of self-consciousness and a lack of eye contact may result in a conversation that feels artificial. On this very point, one Twitter user writers, “Zoom fatigue, for me, is starting at my face and thinking…why are you making that stupid face.”

During live video conference calls, research suggests that our viewing behavior does in fact change. A recent 2020 study found that when people believed they were watching a live video call they were more likely to look at the on-screen image of the speaker. In other words, they were trying to maintain a sense of eye contact. However, when these study participants thought they were viewing a recorded video, they looked away more and looked at other parts of the screen, such as the speaker’s mouth. Overall, the results from this study suggest that we are more self-conscious of our actions when we believe we are being watched. The presence of another human being (or the perceived presence) evokes our sense of ‘self’ and results in a cascade of psychological processes, including shame. For example, one source of embarrassment can be thoughts about whether or not one’s background look good or professional enough.

Your Brain on Zoom

One critical brain region that’s involved when you are on Zoom calls is an area called the frontal cortex. This region is crucial for information processing and attention. During a Zoom meeting, your frontal cortex has to work extra hard to put together all of the verbal and non-verbal cues you are receiving during the call. Additionally, when you have to hyper-focus on deciphering missing information (such as lost social cues) your brain works harder to fill in the gaps. This takes cognitive energy and tires you out more quickly than a normal conversation or meeting.

So, if Zoom calls cause stress, what does a stressed brain look like? When a stress response first starts, cortisol (the primary “stress” hormone) is released from your adrenal glands. Excessive amounts of cortisol feedback into the brain, particularly at the level of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the primary memory center of the brain. Repeated or chronic stress can even lead to memory impairments and a reduced drive for rewards. Stress can also impair activity within the frontal cortex, the area of the brain that is, as mentioned above, so crucial for Zoom calls. Essentially, stress from Zoom can lead to MORE stress from Zoom.

Stress Management

While Zoom and other video call platforms create their own set of stressors, this fatigue is likely also a result of other sources of stress in our lives. Let’s face it, the current circumstances (lockdown, quarantine, working from home, spousal unemployment) also play a role. Dr. Petriglieri agreed with this sentiment, and he went on to tell the BBC, “The video call is our reminder of the people we have lost temporarily. It is the distress that every time you see someone online, such as your colleagues, that reminds you we should really be in the workplace together…we are all exhausted; It does not matter whether they are introverts or extroverts. We are experiencing the same disruption of the familiar context during the pandemic.”

During stressful times such as these, it is important to review ways to manage our stress levels. Even when stress seems out of control, there are things you can do to help build your own resilience. Managing your everyday stress levels can potentially reduce Zoom fatigue. Here are some tips and tricks for maintaining wellness:

  • Exercise – regular exercise promotes healthy brain function and helps our bodies deal with stress more efficiently
  • Maintain a positive attitude – even during difficult times, keeping a positive attitude can reduce negative emotions; this is easier said than done perhaps, but one thing you can do is remind yourself what things you can influence within your life and focus on those things, rather than waste time and energy on concerns that you have absolutely no control over
  • Meditate or pray – one stress-relieving form of meditation is called ‘mindfulness meditation’ and involves practicing awareness and acceptance
  • Set limits and boundaries – know your limits and then set them with other people; practice saying ‘no’
  • Make time for your hobbies – don’t forget to engage in activities you find enjoyable, such as painting or poetry
  • Sleep and eat right – sleep also promotes brain health, as well as memory function, and a healthy diet is a critical component of general well-being
  • Maintain your social network – keep up on your friendships and relationships with your family; don’t isolate yourself – if you are too burned out to video call someone, a simple text (or even a hand-written letter!) can go a long way
  • Seek wellness treatment – sometimes we need to seek help from a professional such as a psychologist or wellness counselor; it is healthy and normal to seek treatment
  • Supplements – there are so many supplements that help with energy, stress relief, focus, mood and relaxation so use some of the suggestions below based on your needs

Supplements for energy include B vitamins, especially vitamin B12, Coenzyme Q10, creatine, citrulline, beetroot powder and tyrosine. Another way to boost energy is by taking supplements at night to alleviate insomnia and promote better sleep. These include melatonin, Valerian root, magnesium, kava kava, chamomile and lavender.

Supplements for stress relief include ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Eleutherococcus, L-theanine, vitamin E, magnesium, glycine, vitamins A, C and D, GABA and 5-HTP.

Some supplements for focus and concentration include phosphatidylserine (PS), gingko biloba, bacopa, fish oil, resveratrol, acetyl L-carnitine and S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe)

Integrating some of these suggestions into your daily routine can decrease stress and increase overall wellness. A less stressed individual will be a less burned out individual, and this can potentially lead to less Zoom fatigue.

Creating a Healthy Work-Life Balance

On Twitter one person writes, “Finding it incredibly hard to focus right now. #limbo #needPTO #WorkLifeBalance #timeoff #burnout.” This user is right, work-life balance is critical. You can help to reduce stress and fatigue by creating a balance between your work life and private life. Work-life balance speaks to one of the points in the section above: set limits and know when to say no. One thing you can learn to say ‘no’ to is back-to-back meetings. Avoiding these back-to-back Zoom calls is one way to help maintain some balance in your life and reduce burnout. Here are some other tips for creating a healthy work-life balance:

  • Set priorities ­– Identify the priorities in your life; rank them
  • Keep track of the time you spend working – Keeping track of time can prevent you from overworking yourself
  • Concentrate on one task at a time – Forget multitasking and focus on one task at a time for maximum efficiency
  • Respect your private and family time – Don’t forget to make time for both you and your family
  • Ask for support or assistance – Tell your boss or supervisor when you are struggling to maintain a balance; make a plan, and then tell your boss what that plan is and stick to it

Yet another person on Twitter writes, “Seeing less and less people on #Zoom with their video turned on lately. #zoom fatigue is real.” But they have a good point. Another way you can reduce the stress of video calls is to turn the camera portion off, but leave your audio on. This can relieve some of the stress by causing less anxiety about how you look on camera. You can also reduce some stress associated with Zoom calls by dedicating a specific spot in your house for making these calls.

Conclusions

Zoom and other video calls shouldn’t be abandoned completely even though they do cause fatigue. In fact, recent research shows that video calls reduce social isolation and loneliness in older adults. There are other benefits to video calls, such as the ability to maintain employment from home. However, we need to learn how to allocate our time more carefully and manage stress levels in order to reduce video call burnout. Remember that Zoom fatigue is a psychological phenomenon (as is stress, for that matter) and it can be overcome.

Thanks for reading. Please comment and share. To have an article like this written for your website, contact us.

Dietary supplements have become a multi-billion-dollar industry, with supplement formulations available to help with just about anything, from losing weight to boosting cognitive function to controlling diabetes, and everything in between.

The New York Times would have you think that supplements are useless, a waste of money, but hundreds of studies have shown otherwise; however, caution is in order. As with any other industry, there are some unscrupulous companies and people in the supplement industry. One investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s Office found that several supplements sold at major retailers made label claims that were false. Several did not contain the amount of active ingredients claimed, and in some cases, did not contain the ingredients at all.

If you are a small supplement company that contracts out the manufacturing of your products, reports like these are worrisome. You’ve paid an expert to create a custom supplement formulation for you, or you’ve paid to private label an existing formulation, and you don’t want that investment to be for naught. You want to make sure that you are selling a quality supplement that actually contains what the label says it contains.

We are here to help. We’ve been in the supplement game for several years and can recommend a good supplement manufacturer that will turn out a quality product for you. If you already have a supplement manufacturer, and are worried about the quality of your product, we can also recommend a third-party lab that you can go to, to have your supplement tested.

Don’t leave the reputation of your company in the hands of a manufacturer; make sure they aren’t cutting corners on your product. Contact us today for help in finding a good supplement manufacturer.

Gummy multivitamins and other gummy supplements are a $1 billion industry currently. The industry is rapidly growing and will get to several billion quickly. To expand your current supplement brand, gummy products are the way to go. Having experienced gummy formulators are a must if you have never made gummies before. Big supplement brands like Nature Made and Olly are discontinuing some of their tablet and capsule products while adding gummy products. Your company should be too. Don’t get left behind. Join your competitors like Nature Made, Centrum, Olly, First Response, Nordic Naturals, Carlson, Jarrow Formulas, Rainbow Light.

Chewable gummy vitamins used to just be for little kids that couldn’t yet swallow capsules or pills. Now they are the choice for teens, adults and seniors too. A large segment of the population doesn’t like taking pills or at least would take their daily vitamins more regularly if they were in the form of yummy gummies. So jump into this market. Don’t get left behind. Join us in the gummy industry.

Vegan, low sugar gummy multivitamins

Our gummy formulators have experience with regular sugar and gelatin gummies plus all the other options. Options like natural, vegan, sugar-free, reduced sugar, fiber, sour and uncoated can help differentiate your brand. While it’s a tough challenge making a vegan gummy with no added sugar and with fiber, our gummy formulators have done it. Some of our lab-created samples are in the photos. It’s also important to consider the type of gummies you want to make.

Types of Gummy Vitamins

The industry has moved beyond just multivitamins. Now there are many types of gummy supplements on the market, like:

 

  • Multivitamins
  • Probiotics
  • Fruit and vegetable
  • Omega-3s
  • Sleep
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Energy
  • Joint health
  • Heart health
  • CoQ10

There’s a lot for gummy formulators to consider when developing a new product. There’s taste, of course, but texture is a big one too, especially if going vegan, sugar-free and sugar alcohol-free for example. Gummy formulators are also responsible for considering ingredient costs – of course it would be nice to be natural, sugar-free and vegan, but if that drives the cost per bottle up too high, then it’s up to the formulators to figure out what alternatives are feasible. No one wants to wax their gummies with “car wax” but it may be the better alternative to having lightly starched gummies if going corn-free and GMO-free. Similarly, allergen-free gummies can’t be made in starch molds, because they traditionally use corn starch.

Don’t delay in putting out your own line of gummy supplements just because there’s a lot to consider. Contact us now to get help from our gummy formulators. We’ve been working on gummy formulations for 10 years, and are happy to share our knowledge.

You have a great idea for a dietary supplement that can help lots of people with a disease, health condition, their general health or even just to help them live better, look better or feel better. Now you approach supplement manufacturing companies to produce it and find out that the minimum order size is in the thousands. Manufacturers are for making your end product. But before you invest the money in manufacturing your product you need to create a test batch of your supplement to see if it works or how it tastes. That way you can optimize it or improve it.

You definitely need to create a test batch of your supplement. But how do you get one? Manufacturers are not in that business and contract labs aren’t either. That’s where we come in. Our biomedical and supplement scientists are available to make a test batch of your product for you. We can order the active and inactive ingredients or you can mail them to us. We have the equipment and expertise to make a small batch of capsules, powders, beverages, creams, shampoos and more. You give us the details – unless we formulated your supplement, in which case we already know the details intimately.

If you have a powder, beverage or food product, we can optimize for taste, color, smell, texture, etc. If you just want us to create a test batch of your supplement so you can try it out, we will make the small batch and mail it to you, regardless of where you are in the world.

Hold off going to manufacturing. Email us now and let us know the details of your new supplement so we can create the test batch of your supplement that you need in order to know that the product you’re putting out is the best it can be. We will even help you with projects that may be a little outside of our usual scope of work we described here. No matter what your product is, we can likely produce a small test batch of it and optimize it if necessary.

There is no doubt that the supplement market is booming, which is why you’ve decided to get a piece of the action and formulate your own supplement or supplement line. In such a saturated market though, you may be looking for a way to get an edge over the competition. To accomplish this, some companies have decided to have their products patented.

Of course, most people go to lawyers when they want a patent application prepared for their supplement; however, there are two very good reasons to go elsewhere to get your patent application prepared, which are:

  1. Having a lawyer write your patent application can be VERY expensive, easily running you a cool $10,000, or more
  2. Lawyers are not scientist and therefore have no clue as to the science behind your supplement, making it nearly impossible for them to write authoritatively on its ingredients.

So, if you aren’t going to get a lawyer to write the patent application for your supplement, who will?

That’s where we come in. We are The Med Writers and we are SUPPLEMENT EXPERTS! Our expert team includes:

  • a PhD biomedical scientist that has done extensive research on supplements in lab and academia
  • a naturopathic doctor (ND) that also holds a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences working with herbal supplements
  • several other PhD and MS level science writers

We have custom formulated dozens of supplements for our clients, and as a team of professional writers, we have researched and written on supplements hundreds of times.

Without a doubt, we have the knowledge and expertise needed to write the patent application for your supplement; and the best thing is that we won’t rob you in the process. Our fees are reasonable and our turnaround times are excellent. So, contact us today to see how we can help you.

With the start of the new year many people are devoted to making some healthy lifestyle changes and most want to see immediate results.

That’s where YOU come in.

You have developed a supplement formulation or formulations that you believe will really help people achieve their health goals and will be a game changer for your supplement business and will blow your sales through the roof. However, you have hesitated to put your product on the market.

No doubt, you are concerned that your big brother, the FDA, who is constantly looking over your shoulder to make sure the health claims you make about your supplement are FDA compliant, will shut you down before you get a running start.

This definitely is a valid concern, because if they deem your supplement marketing to be non-compliant with their guidelines, they can issue you a warning letter stating that  you have 15 days to make changes to your website and marketing materials to suit FDA guidelines; and if you don’t, this could mean the banning of your supplement website, resulting in the loss of a huge portion of the U.S. market, dramatically decreasing your company’s revenue.

Your dream of boosting your supplement company’s sales through the roof and taking your company to the next level will have all but vanished. So now  you are thinking to yourself, “What can I do to solve this problem before it starts?”

That’s where WE come in.

We are formally trained in the art of writing, and are well-versed in the guidelines set up by the FDA for supplement marketing, and specialize in writing marketing materials for supplement companies.

We know exactly what is required to ensure that the claims that you make about your supplement are FDA compliant, so that when you start marketing your supplement, you can focus your attention where it should be: on increasing your revenue and growing your supplement company!

Let The Med Writers help you get the new year off to a great start!

Has your supplement company received a warning letter from the FDA stating that the marketing on your website is not FDA compliant, and that if you don’t change it you will be fined or worse yet, they will ban the sale of your supplement in the US? If so, you are probably panicking right about now. No doubt you are thinking that if you have to shut your supplement company website down, even for a short time, it will affect the Google ranking that you worked so hard to build up; and the longer your supplement website is inactive, the further down your ranking will plummet. At the same time, you are probably calculating how much revenue you will lose if your supplement website is down or if the FDA bans the sale of your supplement. If you don’t play your cards right, you could lose so much business that you have to close down.

Clearly, closing down is not an acceptable option. Here’s the problem though, you may have no idea what the FDA guidelines are, or what you need to change in order to comply with them. This can be a terrifying situation for any supplement company, but especially for smaller supplement companies that may not have FDA attorneys or PhD scientists on staff that know what to do. Please don’t panic; The Med Writers is here to help you. We are a team of PhD scientists with formal writing training, who specialize in writing marketing materials for supplement companies. We know what needs to be done in order to make your supplement company website FDA compliant.

Making your website copy FDA compliant involves a couple of things. Firstly, and most importantly, you need to find studies that will substantiate the claims you are making about your supplement. Of course, not all studies will fit FDA guidelines; hence why you need someone that knows the FDA guidelines and is experienced in finding the right studies and writing FDA-compliant marketing. A second thing that is involved in making your supplement company website FDA compliant is knowing what type of wording is acceptable under FDA guidelines. For instance, oftentimes, words such as “cure” or “treat” cannot be used, unless there is substantial evidence to support those claims.

Of course, this presents another challenge; FDA-compliant wording can be limiting, and now that you don’t have the freedom to say exactly what you want, it can be more challenging to create convincing marketing materials. This is yet another reason why you need an expert on your side, someone that can work within FDA guidelines, but still write convincing marketing.

If you’ve received a warning letter from the FDA, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Contact us right away so that we can started immediately on making your website and other marketing materials FDA compliant.

If you have been keeping up on current trends, you recognize that many people today are trying to move away from prescription drugs to more natural ways to improve and maintain their health. A huge way that people are trying to accomplish this is through the use of nutraceuticals or dietary supplements. That’s why many discerning business people are developing new supplements and nutraceuticals. However, there are many factors that can contribute to whether or not you succeed in your efforts to formulate and market a new supplement.

Here are some of the pitfalls to avoid when trying to bring a new supplement and nutraceutical formulations to market:

1. Hiring unqualified dietary supplement or nutraceutical formulators – If you do not make sure that your  nutraceutical or supplement formulators have the right education, experience and expertise you can end up with a supplement or nutraceutical formulation that:

  • Is not safe – it causes uncomfortable or even dangerous side effects
  • Is not effective – your new supplement or nutraceutical formulation just doesn’t do what you claim it will do. This could be because ineffective ingredients were chosen, the ingredients that were chosen are ones that don’t work well together, the dosage amounts are not optimal or all of the above

2. Using the wrong nutraceutical or supplement manufacturer – Some of the things you need to watch out for when choosing a manufacturer for your new supplement formulation are:

  • High minimum orders – especially when you are just starting out, and have not yet had the opportunity to become profitable, the last thing you want is to have to place huge orders
  • Nutraceutical or supplement manufacturers that use inferior quality ingredients – this can minimize the effectiveness of your new supplement formulation

3. Not marketing your product well – The effect of poor marketing really cannot be underestimated. Even if you have put together a nutraceutical or supplement formulation that is fabulous and has potential to be the next big thing, it never will be if nobody knows about it and how great it is. Unless you get a highly trained medical copywriter you could end up with:

  • Sales copy that doesn’t sell – often because the person who wrote the copy did not understand the product well enough to write convincingly about it
  • Sales copy that is poorly optimized, ranks low in a Google search,  and therefore does not attract visitors to your site

Any one of the things mentioned above can adversely affect the potential success of your foray into the world of nutraceuticals and supplements, and therefore your bottom line. But there is a way to avoid all those pitfalls. Find someone who is knowledgeable and experienced, someone that can take you through all of these steps stress free. That’s what we do here at The Med Writers. We will formulate a nutraceutical product or supplement for you that is safe and effective, help you to find the best manufacturer for your needs and work with that manufacturer to make sure your nutraceutical or supplement formulation is made as designed, and write highly effective, keyword rich sales copy that will attract visitors to your site and convert those visitors into customers.

You recognize that the supplement market is sizzling right now and you want a piece of that pie. You’ve come up with a great idea for your first supplement, but where do you go from there? Any successful business owner will tell you that in order to get your new business off to a great start you should get the help and advice of someone experienced, someone who really knows what they are doing. That’s what you need to do: find an expert, someone who has experience in formulating supplements. They can hold your hand and help you through this new venture.
First of all, an expert supplement formulator can give you feedback on whether he/she feels that your supplement idea is really marketable, if it will be successful; and if not, they can make suggestions for changes or improvements. Once you’ve established that your idea for a supplement formulation can actually make money, your supplement formulator will help you to formulate the best supplement possible, ensuring that your formulation will be effective and safe. How will they do this?
Well, first they are going to see what the competition is doing, what ingredients they are using. Then, your supplement formulator will search for additional ingredients that are not yet being used, ones that may be more effective or safe, thus giving your supplement formulation an edge over the competitors. Once your supplement formulator has completed their research and gathered all the relevant information, they will then make a recommendation on which ingredients to include in your supplement formulation, and at what dosages.
However, your relationship with your supplement formulator doesn’t end there. They will also recommend a good manufacturer and handle any questions that the manufacturer may have regarding your supplement formulation. Basically, your supplement formulator will be with you every step of the way as you bring to life your idea for a new supplement formulation.
So, where can you find these expert supplement formulators that we’ve been talking about? Well, you’ve already found them. The Med Writers have formulated more than 50 supplements in the past few years and would love to help you get your first supplement formulation to market. Contact us right away for more information and a quote.