Ways to Reduce Screen Fatigue
With the shift to a virtual environment for school, work, meetings, and even get togethers with loved ones, the amount of time that we’re all staring at a screen has increased dramatically. Because of this, some people have started to experience screen fatigue, which can be experienced as eye strain, exhaustion, and even anxiety about appearing on camera during virtual meetings.
- If you have a virtual class or meeting, keep your camera on for some of the meeting, but turn it off once you start to feel frustrated, anxious, or tired of it being on.
- Set a bright and clear photo of yourself as your profile picture on all of the virtual platforms that you use. It can be hard for other meeting participants to talk to a blank screen, so having a profile picture means that if you do need to turn off your camera, they’ll feel more like they’re still talking to a person instead of a disconnected sea of black squares.
- Take breaks when working/studying, and look away from your screen during your breaks to give your eyes a chance to rest.
- Use eyedrops to help soothe dry eyes. Artificial tears are eyedrops used to lubricate dry eyes and help maintain moisture on their outer surface.
- Be kind to yourself. All this change and the unknowns of the pandemic can be very stressful. If you are struggling to focus on work/school, remind yourself that this is natural when stress levels are very high.
- Try taking notes by hand instead of electronically. If this isn’t possible or practical for you, take notes electronically but print them off afterwards. That way, you can give yourself a break from staring at a screen when you are studying.
- Develop some hobbies that don’t involve much screen time. Having some fun activities that you can do that will also give you a break from screens will help you to reduce screen fatigue. Some examples include painting, knitting, woodworking or craft kits, learning a musical instrument, drawing, sports, or other physical activity.
- Reach out for help if you need some support. Let your friends and family know how you are feeling. You can also connect with supports available at your campus, like a Wellness Coach or a Counsellor.
- Use virtual platforms to plan get-togethers with friends. Having some virtual calls that aren’t work related can sometimes help to lower some of the stress and anxiety around appearing on camera. It can also help us to stay connected to our support network when other ways of connecting aren’t available to us.
- Take care of your eyes. Our eyes are very important, and since you’re putting more strain on them with extra screen time, make sure that you do what you need to do to take care of them, whether it’s making sure you wear your glasses (if you have glasses) or making an appointment with an optometrist or eye specialist.
- Watch movies/shows on a TV screen if possible. This will allow you to sit farther away from the screen, and to sit more comfortably with better posture instead of sitting hunched over a laptop.
- Use a physical planner/agenda instead of an electronic calendar. If you’re experiencing screen fatigue, you may start trying to avoid looking at a screen wherever you can, which means you probably aren’t checking your calendar as often. Make it easier to cut down your screen time and still stay on top of your schedule by using a physical planner/agenda.
- Exercise! Online courses and virtual meetings mean you’re spending more time sitting in front of a screen each day. Get some movement in with a form of physical activity you enjoy- even if it’s only for short periods of time in between classes.
- Get outside. Exposure to sunlight increases our brain’s release of serotonin and Vitamin D production, boosting our mood and energy. Getting outdoors can also help keep you from feeling too cooped up.
- Adjust your screen settings or use a screen cover to help prevent eye strain. You can also purchase blue light blocking glasses, or use free apps on your devices that help to filter blue light.