As you’re no doubt aware, we’re spending more time than ever looking at screens. According to recent research, British adults spend more time staring at mobiles and monitors than they do sleeping. We simply love our screens.
Of course, that puts a fair amount of strain on, well, a lot but particularly on the eyes and in turn can dry them out, which is why taking the time to look at literally anything else is essential.
So, with a nod to the irony of an online article encouraging you to look away from your screen, here’s how to make the most of your next digital break…
1. Do a puzzle
Not only does perching a Rubik’s Cube atop your computer scream ‘lateral-thinking Brainiac at work’ to any passing bosses; it’s also a handy distraction for your next sliver of downtime.
The key to a successful screen break is to get your brain working in a different way. Manipulating a Rubik’s Cube into something approaching completion encourages analytical and abstract thinking, as well as improving your ability to visualise things mentally.
All of which is a welcome change of pace if you’re staring at a spreadsheet all day.
Crosswords, Sudokus, even a word search will do the job – anything to get your brain thinking differently. Go for the Rubik’s Cube, though. Retro science vibes FTW.
2. Write stuff down
Are you one of those people who insists on bringing their laptop to a meeting, and then proceeds to spend the next half-hour typing out notes / sniggering at WhatsApp?
If so, STOP THAT RIGHT NOW.
Not only are you passing up on the opportunity to give your eyes a rest, but the chances are those notes you’re making aren’t actually sinking in.
Writing notes by hand requires the brain to summarise and engage with the information more intensively, with studies showing that those making notes by hand are able to recall the recorded information far better than those using a laptop for the same purpose.
Give your eyes a well-earned rest and let your brain pick up the slack.
3. Reset your eyes
Giving your eyes a rest from staring at a screen is one thing, but what else can you do to give them some serious R&R? Well, according to a host of optical experts, the best course of action is to apply the ‘20-20-20 rule’.
Never heard of it? In a nutshell, this is the theory that, for every 20 minutes of screen use, you should focus on something 20ft away and stare at it for at least 20 seconds.
By gazing at something in the distance, you’ll be relaxing the focusing muscle within the eye, giving it a chance to recover from all that screen time. Keep up the 20-20-20 rule throughout the day and you should noticeably reduce eye fatigue.
Surprisingly, it’s also often hard to keep up with your eyes’ moisture levels. If you want to quickly gauge whether or not you’re suffering from dry eyes, take Optrex’s Dry Eye Blink Test online. It literally takes seconds and you might be surprised by the results…
4. Talk to a human
Sure, you probably don’t want to be doing this on a Monday or Friday when you’ll rightly be trying to insulate yourself from a tidal wave of ‘How was your weekend/Any plans for the weekend?’ banality.
But Tuesday through Wednesday? Time to break away from your inbox and actually do your talking face-to-face.
Nobody ever complained about not receiving enough emails. Indeed, a 2018 study found that the average employee receives 121 emails per day. That’s a lot.
Time, then, for you to reinvent yourself as the office maverick by actually walking over to a colleague’s desk and asking them whatever it is you need to know in person.
Bill Murray famously won’t respond to emails at all, insisting on taking all potential job offers over the phone. Be more like Bill.
Optrex ActiMist 2 in 1 Dry + Irritated Eye Spray repairs the eye’s lipid layer and locks in natural moisture. Wondering whether you might have dry eyes? To find out, take the Optrex Dry Eye Blink Test online. As it’s National Eye Health Week (24th – 30th September) Optrex and Boots are offering in-store blink tests* at White City and Piccadilly Circus on Thursday - Friday (27th – 28th ) and Kensington and Oracle Reading on Saturday - Sunday (29th- 30th ).
*This is not a diagnostic tool.