Step Away From That Screen

One of my coaching clients admitted to me that she is spending a greater percent of time on her computer since working from home. When she worked in an office, she would regularly get up to see someone or take something to the mail room. But now Zoom calls and daily work require her to spend most of the day behind a computer screen. 

If you are working from home and finding that your eyes get tired, you are not alone. 

I find it funny that not that long ago we were warning our teenagers about the dangers of too much screen time.  I looked it up. The American Heart Association’s advice for kids aged 8 to 18 years of age is that they should spend no more than two hours a day in front of a screen.  They estimated that kids spent about 7 hours a day looking at a screen.

And now we are the ones with the screen time problem.

There’s even a scientific name from the problem we face. Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) has been studied in recent years, and researchers warn against Asthenopia or eye strain. Left untreated headaches can lead to blurred vision and sensitivity to bright lights.  You’ve also probably heard about the harmful effects of the blue light emanating from your computer screen. Some findings also warn that prolonged exposure to the intense light of a computer screen can mess with your circadian rhythms. 

So, what should you do? While you still need your computer screen to get your work done, it is advisable to give yourself a break. Try to stay away from your screen for a minute or two every 20 minutes. Focusing on an item that is about 20 feet away from you can help to reduce strain and fatigue on the eye muscles. 

Instead of drafting a letter on your computer, try to make notes on old fashioned paper. 

At lunchtime, turn off all electronic devices. Leave your smartphone in another room. Try closing your eyes for 10 minutes. 

When you go back to work, instead of a Zoom session with a colleague, call them on your phone. 

Establish set times when you will work on the computer while reserving a few hours each day for tasks that don’t require you to sit at the screen. 

 If you have to read a report, leave your computer desk. Perhaps move outside and enjoy the sounds of the real world. 

If you don’t, you won’t be able to complain about the habits of your teen. Or they might start complaining about yours!

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