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?
46 thoughts on “Step Away From Your Screen and Rest Your Eyes”
Yep, get outside, commune with nature. Better still if you can work hard physically in the process. Then shower, coffee, back to screen time.
Or – switch to a digital radio station and go do something else productive for a while. Crochet, origami, cleaning, cooking.
I’ll pass on the eye-palming 🙂
Passing on the eye palming, Roy? Does that mean you prefer crochet instead? You listed it as a screen-free activity, so I had to ask. 🙂
Reblogged this on Jeannie Hall Suspense and commented:
Rest for the weary (and stressed out of your mind) 😊
I have only been on my computer for five minutes this morning and my eyes started to ache and then I saw the title of this post in my inbox! I thought, “Can Britt see me?” haaaaaa. Okay, logging off now 😀
Haha! I’m watching you, Dianne. Take those screen breaks!
Eye-palming! Yes, thanks for reminding me (remember this from yoga class long time ago)
Pff..I have to admit I’m spending way too much time behind the computer when I’m not out teaching. While living in NE t was quite the opposite and I know you’re probably thinking “here we go again, nag nag” haha but yes it was so much easier then to just walk outside and to feel instantly rejuvenated by a brisk walk in the woods. I literally need to take the car to go for a walk here..but I know that’s just an excuse. Well, I do connect with my music and bowls in that way I rest my eyes a bit and practice my ears.. I guess that counts for something, right ;))
No, I completely understand. Thankfully I didn’t have a blog and such to keep up with when I lived in Dallas, or I would have been a complete shut-in. Music and bowls are a fantastic way to rest those eyes!
Eye palming? That sounds very Britt and I’m going to give it a try. 🙂
I have gotten rid of my television. No TV for this girl. And honestly, I don’t miss it. Much. Yes, on occasion, I wish I could turn it on and watch a rerun of some past favorite show, but I can live without it.
Like you, I spend a lot of time at my day job in front of a computer screen. Who knew you’d do that in the jewelry biz? Anyway, I’m always staring at a screen whether it’s a monitor, iPad, iPhone, whatever, I needed a break. The TV was on it’s last legs anyway, so I just let it go.
If I really need to stare at a television, I hop over to mum’s and watch a movie. She has tons of DVDs and she likes the company. :)!
Haha! I’m honored that eye palming sounds very Britt!
For the first time in years, we ended up getting cable back in December…mainly so Mr. H could catch some sports without having to go to the bar all the time. I don’t watch it very much. Just a couple of movies on the weekends, and maybe one travel show or documentary each week. I know it’s more screen time, so I try to focus on other things to relax.
I have noticed in the past month my eyes are becoming extraordinarily tired midday. Not good for someone who works on a computer 10+ hours a day, just like you talk about. I checked out the Yoga site, and I tried the palming exercise as well as the others. I really like!!
Healthy, clear, strong eyesight is really important to everyone, for many different reasons. Knowing there are exercises to help our eyes stay healthy is awesome to me. I’ll try to add these into my daily routine!! Thanks so much for sharing, Britt!!
Midday is the worst for me. I was so good about taking walks, but once winter hit, I started staying chained to my desk more. So glad you guys are all finding the eye palming video useful! My coworkers thought it was a little nuts when I showed it to them, but I suppose you all were better prepared for what was coming in the blog post. 😉
I definitely want to try eye-palming. Sounds like a simple technique that could be very relaxing.
I have a smartphone, but I don’t carry it with me. I only watch a few TV shows a week, though I do love to relax with a movie. My Fitbit helps me get up and move around at work, so I get away from that screen when I can. But you’re right: in today’s world, everything seems to involve some kind of screen.
Here’s my suggestion: put down the Kindle and pick up a book! 🙂 Oh, how I love paper…
But wait. We can’t give up our Kindles completely. Some books are only available in e- form. Guess we should just try to find some balance. We really are screen-dependent…
Eye palming is very easy, quick, and it provides instant relief. I was excited to hear that several people tried it after reading this post and were happy with the effects.
We are totally surrounded by screens! I mainly read print books now, with the occasional kindle for indies who are not in print. I’m a regular at the library. 😉
Awesome Britt, i love to get outside and stretch my view. Tried the eye exercise too and will use it thanks very much.
Awesome, Kath! So glad you liked the eye exercise too.
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