Let’s face it, most of us are “plugged-in” daily and some of us are plugged-in for most of our waking day because of work, news on tap from our smart phones, and social connectivity. We wake up to a cell phone alarm, check texts and emails as we get ready for work, even taking our device into the bathroom to listen to podcasts or music.
We drive to work listening to podcasts or satellite radio, get to the office and log-in to our computers while operating our cell phones on the side. We go to meetings where we have our phones either on the table or on our lap for discretely checking texts and emails while looking interested in the speaker. We check in with our spouses, elderly parents, nannies, teenagers, etc. throughout the day and get bombarded with notifications from Facebook, Messenger, YouTube and Instagram.
We are living with the internet of everything and our brains are turned on non-stop which was not how our brains were designed to operate. We are often not being mindful due to being connected constantly to news feeds and social media while waiting in line or at events.
We are outsourcing our intelligence to the internet on our phones, pads, and computers and constantly receiving huge loads of visual and auditory static in the process. Blue light and moving pixels of color in images and text create a hectic working environment in our brain’s processing centers. It’s no wonder so many people complain of headaches and eye strain at the end of the day!
Fortunately, there are easy changes we can make to reduce the overload of sound, blue light and tech-neck posture:
Take tech rests for eyes and for posture.
Use blue-blocker lenses for computer use, set a filter from your monitor settings, or download a screen filter app
Exercise your visual focus by looking away from your screen and focus on objects or signs at least 20 feet away for 30 seconds several times a day
Use the speaker option on your cell phone, a headset or earbuds whenever possible
Give your mind a sound break by turning off all music or audible output from devices for 30 minutes a few times a day to give your brain a rest and to tune into natural sounds around you
Get an alarm clock and don’t sleep with your cell phone in your bedroom
Schedule an ergonomic assessment by an experienced Occupational Therapist
If you are experiencing blurred vision after taking eye rests and doing the focus exercises, see your optometrist. If you have headaches, neck and shoulder pain, see a therapist who is experienced with finding the cause and solutions to your condition, who will not only relieve your pain but also teach you self-care techniques for eliminating or management of tech-neck and eye strain.
Occupational therapists are specifically trained to address how to help people return to their full functional potential by TREATING THE WHOLE PERSON, in body, home, and community!