How to combat "screen fatigue"

Tamzin Burch - PAL leader for Marketing and Logistics

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Screen fatigue. Imagine this, you're waking up in the morning, checking your phone and scrolling through social media for updates. You finally get out of bed and head into the kitchen, where you watch some TV whilst eating breakfast. You return to your bedroom or home office where you switch your laptop on for a full day of lectures, before logging onto your work-from-home job and completing several tasks, once again, on your computer. You work on some assignments later on, before video calling with a friend, scrolling social media a few more times, and finally you jump into bed, to watch a film and settle down for the night. Before you know it, you've spent the whole day looking at a screen. We don't need to imagine this, because it's 2021 and that's been our lives for the past year. Of course, given the current circumstances, a large chunk of this is out of our control.

So given the pandemic, how can we combat the newly coined "screen fatigue"? You know, the tiredness that comes from looking at screens all day, and the relucatnce that you often feel for doing it any more? You know, like when your mate wants to FaceTime and you really just want to go to bed, you're fed up of having to stare at them through a phone and you're rubbing your eyes as they just feel so... done? Everything is online, virtual now. From university to partying, it's all being done via Zoom. We're adaptable creatures, but it's likely we're going to get burnt out once in a while.

Here are my top tips for combating screen fatigue:

Limit your screen time.

Okay, this is an obvious one, but the point being, just be concious of how much you're looking at a screen. So instead of watching TV in a morning, could you listen to a podcast instead? Or something that doesn't require you to actively look at a screen, something that you could do in passing? This will help cut down on screen time, seeing as it's not essential (debatable) like university lectures or a part time job is.

Put yourself first!

If you need a break from the screen after studying or working all day and a friend asks you to video call, you're well in your rights to politely decline. Screen fatigue is very real and they are probably feeling it too. Rearrange for another time or see if they'd be up for a virtual walk and talk - where your ring each other whilst you're on your resepctive daily walks. Killing two birds with one stone!

Get outside

Speaking of which, a daily walk is a great way to break up your day and take a break from the screens. It is nice to get some fresh air in your lungs and you are bound to feel more motivated upon your return.

Blink!

Keep those eyes well moistured! You don't realise how much staring at a screen can strain your eyes and making sure they aren't dry can help them from becoming irritated. If you're really struggling with dryness, eye drops can be a great option.

Consider blue light glasses/screen

There are options online that you can get to miminise the blue light from screens, which can be harmful to your eyes in large quantities. You can even install apps on your phone and computer now that change the display to help with your blue light exposure.

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