Screens have become a widely accepted part of our daily lives – and with that, we often forget that working at a screen for hours at a time is not a natural behaviour for us as human beings. In fact, spending too much time looking at a screen can result in elevated stress levels. Luckily, this can be managed with a few tweaks to our daily routine. Ahead, we’ll take a look at how taking regular breaks from screens can improve employee wellbeing.
Eye strain is an issue commonly experienced by those who spend long hours looking at a computer or laptop each day. When we’re looking at a screen, we tend to be deeply concentrated on the task at hand, and therefore less likely to blink as often as we would in other circumstances which can lead to dry, tired eyes. Similarly, any glare from our screens can trigger pain if we find that we’re straining too hard to see – an issue that many people try to combat by adjusting the lighting on their screens, or purchasing an anti-glare coating. Ultimately, the best way to prevent screen-related eye strain is to simply take breaks as often as you can.
Excessive time spent at a screen can have a negative impact on our bodies in other ways, too. For most of us, the pain of a headache seems to go hand in hand with the working day, and is something we take in our stride. However, despite how commonplace they are, we are not supposed to experience headaches every day. In fact, they are a sure-fire way of telling us that we’re not properly looking after ourselves – and perhaps spending too much time in front of our screens.
When we don’t feel good physically, it tends to have a knock-on effect on our mental wellbeing, causing uncomfortable stressful feelings – making it important to give your body a rest wherever you can.
The internet is not always a healthy place, so being constantly plugged in can leave us feeling anxious and depressed – particularly if we struggle to navigate the demands of being within instant reach of others. When you take a break from your screen, you are allowing your mind to switch off for a moment, to forget the emails, and take a much needed pause.
We know that when we’re feeling stressed or anxious, we’re often advised to go outside and “get some fresh air”. Spending time in nature like this is important for our mental health, as it helps to calm our minds and restore balance – making a break from your screen the perfect opportunity for some mental rest and recuperation.
When you take time away from your screen, you free yourself up for lots of activities that will help you to feel good, and potentially counteract the more stressful effects of being at the computer. However, when you take your breaks, it’s important to remember not to simply transfer your attention to another screen – as often, we are tempted to shut down our laptops, only to pick up our phones instead.
To avoid falling into this trap, consider taking regular walks, or make time to chat to your colleagues face-to-face between tasks. This will help you to get that much-needed break from the screen that both your mind and body crave.
All of us will experience screen-related stress at one point or another – whether as a direct result of demanding work tasks, or the more indirect effect of issues such as eye strain and headaches. Ultimately, the best thing that you can do for all-round wellbeing is to take regular, quality breaks from your screen.
Author bio: Laura Daniels
Laura began her writing career as a hobbyist blogger, but has quickly gained public acclaim for her thoughtful insight into all things work and wellbeing. She is passionate about transforming workplaces to better suit the needs of a modern, ever-evolving society.