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We all know that it is important to limit screen time for kids, but how about adults?
An increasing number of us are using screens for business and pleasure and at times it can feel as if they are taking over our lives and health.
It sounds silly, and even a bit nanny state, but it is important that you develop a healthy attitude towards using screens, big and small, so we have looked at some of the issues and how to get around then.
Spending too much time posting on Facebook and tweeting on Twitter means you could be adding inches to your waistline as you build your friends online. Sitting on the sofa is comfy, and warm as the nights draw in, but it can also lead to weight gain, which in turn can increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease. If you are going to use your phone for something, upload an exercise app, get on your trainers and jog around the park and smile at your increased in activity rather rather your increased number of ‘friends’.
Believing the hype of social media could make you feel depressed. It is really easy to look online and see other people on holiday, looking tanned, with their ‘amazing’ husband, but remember this is only what they want you to see. Real life isn’t just what is posted online so don’t get blue if you aren’t in Barbados and are single – the grass isn’t always greener.
You might also want to remember that from time to time it is good to get out and talk to people face to face. Social media certainly brings people together and can be a great way to keep in touch, but nothing beats real life interaction. Set dates with your partner, lunch with your family and nights out with the girls. You can post photos after the event, but going out will do you the world of good and bring you back to reality.
Spending too much time looking at a screen will increase the blue wavelengths your brain receives and this can really affect your natural circadian rhythms and mess around with your melatonin levels. The consequences of this is that your mood can be disrupted as can your sleep, neither of which will do you any favours. Try to turn screens off at least an hour before you go to bed, longer if you can and this way you can really switch off. Don’t keep screens in your bedroom and instead of using your phone as an alarm, go back to basics and get a clock.
There is no getting away from the fact that many jobs involve spending a lot of time at a computer screen, but this doesn’t have to lead to aches and pains. The main thing is to set up your workstation correctly, and many companies have an HR or IT department that do this for you, so check if yours does. Ensure your screen is big enough and is set at the right level. You need to have a good chair that offers support and as you work make sure your hips are square and your your feet are flat on the floor. It is vital to take regular breaks from your computer as this will not only to rest your eyes, but gives you time to stretch your legs and reduce the risk of neck, shoulder and back pain.
Remember your mum saying you would get square eyes if you sat too close to the telly? You might have laughed at her but it is possible she could see into the future and was right. Look after your eyes and make sure you have them tested on a regular basis. If you start to suffer with headaches or blurred vision, this could indicate you are using your screen too much and can be a sign of possible issues with your eye-sight.
Go screen free at some point in the week – that doesn’t mean when you are asleep. We aren’t talking about a complete detox but maybe turn your phone off at work, don’t use social media on a Sunday and certainly don’t be flicking across social media when you are in the company of others.
Have a think about this and we think there are a couple of easy to make changes that could have a big impact.