There is no doubt that our lives have changed for the better with the development of technology – from computers and the internet, to smart phones and wearable health trackers. In the past few weeks of isolation, the use of WhatsApp, FaceTime and Zoom apps have rocketed as we find ways to keep in touch with both our work and loved ones.
However, when faced with this long stretch of self-isolation, more than ever, we need to know when to switch off. We need to find a balance that works for our physical and mental health. 10,000 daily steps may have been easy in the past and now we are having to find ways to get this exercise in other forms. It is important to set yourself some rules and a strategy of how to deal with the technology that surrounds us.
- When using a computer or laptop, take at least a 5-minute break every hour away from the screen, and make sure you change posture regularly, refocus your eyes; and do some simple stretching exercises at your desk.
- If you are working from home, take regular breaks away from your designated workspace. Even sitting and looking out a window during your coffee break will give yourself a time to re-set.
- Maintain proper posture when using your smartphone, there has been a rise in neck, back and shoulder pain because of this, and repetitive strain from typing with thumbs and repeated swiping movements. Many of us are checking the news more in the morning and evening, make sure you’re holding your device in a way that isn’t straining your eyes, neck or hands.
- If you are isolating as a family or alone, be present. Make meal times gadget free and try and build in some times during the weekend and evenings for a break from your phones.
- If you are working from home, consider setting yourself working hours and setting a time where you can stop checking emails e.g. 8pm.
- Stop using your mobile/tablet devices entirely by 9pm to limit blue light exposure which affects multiple areas of health including the production of melatonin.