With the changes that COVID-19 has brought, all of us have been home and in front of the screen for increased periods of time. Many of us are currently working fully from home or working part time from home, and the effects of screen exposure are becoming more of a daily nuisance. It can be difficult to pinpoint these effects, but this guide will outline how to best combat them.
First, it is important to understand what these effects look like before you can treat them:
- The 20-20-20 Rule
To protect your eye health, it is recommended that you follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, be sure to look away from the screen for at least 20 seconds at a spot 20 feet away from you. This will allow your eyes to have a brief break from looking at the computer screen, and it helps to combat the burning sensation that can arise from eye fatigue.
- Use a Planner
It may seem like a silly step to plan out your screen time, but using a planner allows for you to hold yourself accountable to the amount that you plan to work on the computer. I am a remote intern and student. When I first started working remotely, I found it difficult to always use my computer for class, work, and relaxation. Using my planner, I was able to devote time to each necessary task and set boundaries for myself.
- Keep the Screen an Arm Length Away
This tip has helped me the most while working remotely. Being an individual prone to migraines, it is so important for anyone to keep a screen at least an arm length away from our eyes. This decreases the level of strain that our eyes can endure when the screen is too close during the extended periods of time that we are using our devices. It is arguably the easiest out of all of these tips, and it is most achievable when sitting at a desk or table.
- Change Your Screen Settings
An often forgotten setting for devices is the nighttime mode. This may simply be found in your screen brightness settings. If not, you can simply turn down your brightness. Also, at night try to change the screen to a red hue. Changing this setting will help to alleviate fatigue and the potential for headaches or migraines. Since being home an increased amount, I have seriously taken advantage of these settings and noticed a vast difference in the effects that I was experiencing before the change.
- Invest in Blue Light Glasses or Screensavers
When the pandemic first started and I was home all of the time, I was getting migraines up to 3 days a week from increased screen time. My doctor recommended investing in blue light glasses, and I will never go back. Now, I am down to migraines maybe twice a month and feeling more confident than ever working from home! There are a ton of companies that sell these, but I invested in a pair from Warby Parker.
- Limit your social media time
Take a break from your phone when you can, switch it on airplane mode or leave it in another room for an hour or so while you go about your day. Consider also turning off your notifications. All of these things can force you to take a much needed break from your device. They can also assist you in limiting your exposure to the small amounts of radiation that come from your device. Instead of getting in touch with friends through social media, consider hand-writing them a note and taking a break from using technology to connect!
Avery Klondar is an incoming Senior at Drexel University. Working towards her Bachelor of Science in a Custom-Designed Major, she is studying Fashion Studies & Consumer Behavior. Avery runs a mental health Instagram account @hearandalways. You can follow her account for more resources on mental health, social awareness, and self-love. Avery is currently the MantraBand Social Media Intern! She is based out of Philadelphia, PA.