After a few weeks into the semester, I realized online classes are a bit more taxing than staying in my bed all day, and after not using my brain for six months, motivation is at an all-time low. To keep me from zoning out, sometimes I scroll through the people in my Zoom class and stare at video profiles. Creepy, I know. 

My eyes hurt from staring at a screen all day. My upper back gets this weird ache from sitting in a computer hunch. Constant screen time is a reality of our online world. The Washington Post reported that in quarantine, iPhone screen time reports went through the roof. I know my averages have been disgustingly high, but when you aren’t going to class in person and doing normal activities, it’s hard to stay accountable. 

Studies have shown increased screen time can lead to mental health issues, such as depression, and have major health consequences. Since we have to be online during a global pandemic, it’s imperative students stay on top of their health this semester. Recognizing the impact constant screen time can have on your body and mind is the first step. 

Here are a few ways to fight screen fatigue:

Designate time away from screens. If you don’t, you could easily end up looking at your computer or phone all day and night. Incorporating even an hour into your daily schedule is necessary. Yes, you need to be online to stay connected, but carving away time for yourself is more important than ever. I use an app called Flora which helps me stay off my phone.  

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Try taking notes on paper. I’ve always been a big Google Docs girl for class notes, but now that everything is virtual, I’ve been making more of an effort to put pen on paper. Taking physical notes helps me stay focused and stop zoning out during class. It’s also a nice change when your fingers get tired from typing. 

Adjust your computer’s display brightness and warmness. I recently discovered the night shift option on my laptop, and it’s life-changing. Setting the tone of my computer even a little bit warmer is instantly relaxing on my eyes. Especially at night, this helps my eyes not feel like they’re going to fall out of my head.

Try blue light glasses. These glasses are said to help block high-energy light from your computer. Personally, I’ve never tried them, but a few of my friends wear them religiously. If your eyes ache and you get a headache from screen time, try these out. You also get extra points for looking studious on Zoom.

Make an effort to stretch and exercise. Even taking the time during class or work to roll your shoulders back, relax your neck and fix your posture makes all the difference. Since the majority of students aren’t walking to class, make sure you get your exercise and steps in. This helps your body and mental clarity.

Do work outside. I feel the fall air is creeping upon us. Lately, I’ve seen a ton of kids doing work outside. Get out of your stuffy apartment or house and watch class outside! Take advantage of the crisp autumn air coming our way. If you need a change of scenery, the outdoors are your friend.

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