During current circumstances, it is hard to study/work and make sure not to stay in front of the computer for too long. Even if we need to spend extended number of hours in front of our screens, we should not forget to take care of our bodies and minds, so here are some quick tips for how to be healthy in front of our screens.
Get up and move around regularly
Make sure that you take regular breaks from your screen and move around a bit. You could set an alarm every hour or so to walk around, go make so tea, do some squats (that`s how I managed to keep myself awake during long hours of revision through exam period) or do any other type of physical activities. If you don`t feel like walking around, try deskcercise! There are plenty of fun videos how you can move a bit without leaving your desk, so definitely check it out!
When spending long hours in front of the computer, not only you muscles and back needs a break – eyes need rest as well. Make sure that you take a few extra breaks for your eyes – close them for longer periods of time (five minutes or so) so your eye muscles rest. Studies have shown that additional four five-minute breaks a day for your eyes reduces eye and muscle strain and also improves your overall efficiency!
Set up your computer properly
Setting up your computer correctly can prevent eye strain, backaches and neck pains. NHS suggests to:
- Support your back – reduce your risk of back pain by adjusting your chair so your lower back is properly supported. A correctly adjusted chair will reduce the strain on your back. Your knees should be slightly lower than your hips. Use a footrest, if it feels necessary.
- Adjust your chair – adjust your chair height so you can use the keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and lever with the floor. This can help prevent repetitive strain injuries. Your elbows should be by the side of your body, so your arms form an L-shape at the elbow point.
- Rest your feet on the floor – place your feet flat on the floor. If they are not, try using a footrest (can use any flat object), which lets you rest your feet at a level that`s comfortable. Don`t cross your legs, as this may contribute to posture-related problems.
- Place your screen at eye level – your screen should be directly in front of you. A good guide is to place the monitor about an arm`s length away, with the top of screen roughly at eye level.
- Have the keyboard straight in front of you – place your keyboard in front of you when typing. Leave a gap about 4 to 6 inches (100mm - 150mm) at the front of the desk to rest your wrists between bouts of typing. Keep your arms bent in an L-shape and your elbows by your sides. Some people like to use a wrist rest to keep their wrists straight and at the same level as the keys.
- Keep your mouse close – position and use the mouse as close to you as possible. A mouse mat with a wrist pad may help keep your wrist straight and avoid awkward bending. If you are not using your keyboard, push it to one side and more the mouse closer to you.
- Avoid screen reflection – your screen should be as glare-free as possible. If there`s glare on your screen, hold a mirror in front of the screen so you know what`s causing it. Position the monitor to avoid reflection from overhead lighting and sunlight. If necessary, pull blinds across the windows. Adjusting the screen`sbrightness or contrast can make it much easier to use.
- Avoid wearing bifocals – if you have bifocal spectacles, you may find them less than ideal for computer work. It`s important to be able to see the screen easily without having to raise or lower your head. If you cannot work comfortably with bifocals, you may need a different type of spectacles. Consult your optician if in doubt.
Make objects easy to reach
Position frequently used objects, such as your phone or stapler, within easy reach. Avoid repeatedly stretching or twisting to reach things.
Water is your best friend when helping to reduce headaches, staying healthy and hydrated! Increasing your water intake also means that you will get up from your desk more regularly to use the bathroom so you will also take a break from the screen and move around a bit! If you find it hard to remember to drink water, place a glass or a bottle next to your screen and you`ll see it more often and remember to drink.
We hope that you incorporate at least a few of these tips into your daily life and stay healthy and well!
Love, your SU x