COVID-19 has struck many changes in the world – many scary, and often devastating changes for families, individuals, teams and companies.
One of the professional shifts we’re seeing affect individuals and partners in our community – in a variety of ways – is the shift to virtual everything.
Many companies and educational institutions have made the switch to using online platforms – meaning many people are on their computers or phones for 10+ hours a day. This change has been especially difficult for therapy-based professionals – such as Occupational Therapists – who typically work in offline, person-to-person settings.
This increased screen time means that we’re being exposed to increased risks to our eyes and brain.
So, just how can you reduce the effects of this overwhelming level of screen time? Here are a few ideas we’ve found helpful!
Protect Your Eyes
Blue light is a light spectrum that comes from using technology such as your computers or phones and over time it can affect your eyes, sleep patterns, brain function, etc.
While there is little evidence yet showing a long term impact on eye health, we like to get ahead of things! There are a few items that can help with blocking the blue light to your eyes. One of the newest trends are blue light glasses, which you can find through a variety of online retailers like Peepers. These blue light blockers don’t alter your vision at all and they’re specifically made to help protect your eyes from the effects of screen time. If you’re not into wearing glasses, blue light computer screens can also be bought to put over your laptop or desktop screen and it works equally as well, like EyeJust.
Another option is to install software like F.lux to change the color and hue of your screen to help reduce strain on your eyes, match your lighting surrounding (day/night) and possibly help you fall asleep more easily at night – by avoiding the bright lights before bed.
Set Time Limits
It can be hard to step away from your computer when performing a task, however, it’s important to set time blocks to help keep you accountable from not overdoing it on the computer. Not to mention, setting time limits also helps your brain get that little recovery before starting a new task. While giving yourself a break, try to go outside and get some fresh air, maybe talk a walk down the street. It’ll help a lot in the long run!
The 20/20/20 rule basically states that for every 20 minutes you are looking at a screen, take 20 seconds to look 20 meters ahead of you. Sometimes you can find yourself being intently zoned into your screen and you may forget to look around every once in a while. Staying true to this rule can help drastically to your eyes and brain. Don’t forget to set a time limit too! You can find more helpful hints like this one in this blog written by Geneva Vanderzeil.
Don’t let the new amount of screen time be your enemy.
There are so many ways to help prevent the lasting effects of screen time. This new norm shouldn’t be something to be concerned about- we can handle it!