The phrase “screen time” has become a popular addition to our vocabulary over the past year or so. I mentioned it in my New Year’s post about positive intentions, and how I have made many changes to avoid living too much of my life behind a screen.
Quite a few of you had the same goal. I was chatting with a good friend of mine recently, who is a decade younger than me, and she too mentioned she wanted to step away from the screen this year.
It’s tough. And it’s especially tough when you’re a writer.
While it’s wonderful to mix it up and put pen to paper, feel that organic yumminess of scribbling away without staring at a monitor, we can’t escape the fact that computers make our writing efficient as hell.
In today’s world, it’s next to impossible to escape screens entirely. Most of us—yours truly included—have jobs where we peck away at a keyboard for 8-10 hours a day, eyes dutifully trained on a bright screen.
Now we have smartphones. I won’t knock them, because they have given us the opportunity to have technology at our beck and call. But naturally there are downsides to that…even more screen time.
And, if you watch TV or play video games when you’re relaxing. Guess what? More screen time.
Writers who are working on novels and/or blogging and/or keeping up with social media, are even more susceptible to screen life. The majority of us have full-time jobs, and our nights and weekends are spent behind a screen, because this is the tool we are using to move forward with our dreams.
The reality of screen time floors me often. I’ll never forget telling my parents over and over again—as a child, as a teen, and even my early years in college—I don’t want a “computer job.” They were both successful in the aerospace industry, but I only saw what they did as one of those computer jobs I wanted to avoid.
My parents both love to tease me about that, because look at me now—I have a computer job. Actually, I have a few.
This morning I performed my usual Saturday dance…what to do, what to do. I’m usually still wound up from the workweek, feeling behind on anything related to my personal writing that I have abandoned throughout the hectic week—my second draft and my blog, keeping up with my fellow writers’ blogs and social media updates.
Make the choice to step away from your screen. When you do, here are two of my favorite eye resting tips. You can do one without ever leaving your desk.
GET YOUR ASS OUTSIDE
Living in Portland, I know that I am lucky to have beautiful nature nearby to entice me away from my screen. The weather, despite the incessant gloom and rain, is pretty easy to deal with year-round.
Hiking is my weapon of choice for combating too much screen time. But even if you don’t have trails, you can go for a run or walk in your neighborhood or park. Though I live in the city, I find even a run in the urban chaos is enough to clear my head and rest my eyes, versus spending hours working on my computer.
If you can, find some nature to stare at for a while. Greenery and water are especially soothing for your eyes. I often notice my whole body breathe a sigh of relief the moment my eyes meet nature.
PALM YOUR EYES
Yeah, so you might have been wondering about the weird ass picture of me with my hands over my eyes up there. I’m doing something legit, promise. It’s an amazing Yoga move, called eye palming.
Didn’t know there was Yoga for your eyes? Dude, I didn’t either.
The first time I tried eye palming was in a Yin class, and I was so stunned by the immediate results. I showed this to my coworkers at our morning huddle and asked them all to join me. They already know I’m batshit crazy, so they played along.
What’s great about eye palming is you can do it anywhere, anytime. When you’re at work or you’re jamming on your novel and you can’t get away, simply rub your hands together and place your palms over your eyes for a bit.
If you still feel like your eyes need more resting time—or you just feel really damn good and you have another minute—repeat.
I’d love to know…what tips do you guys have for limiting screen time?