Clean up your phone space to clean up your head space!

(This is an excellent post from our guest blogger: Nikita Rishton)

In 2021 there is no doubt going to be very little escape from technology. Although technology is a useful tool; especially whilst living through a global pandemic, it can also have negative impacts upon us.

To maintain a healthy relationship with technology it is important to draw boundaries and avoid becoming consumed by it.

The term technology covers many bases from phones and computers to gadgets we may find around our home. This is going to focus on arguably the most used piece of technology today… the smart phone!

Problems arise from technology when items that are designed to make our life easier actually start to have the opposite affects. If this happens it could be time for us to take a step back and re-evaluate our use of technology.

We have our phones with us almost all day so it is important that we do not create a toxic relationship with them. At times we can get so wrapped up in our virtual lives that we forget to live our real lives!

There is a phone application for everything these days; for working, studying, socialising, gaming, the list goes on. The problem with this is that every time we look at our phones there are so many apps all grabbing our attention with their notifications. This can become chaotic and even stressful when we are trying to manage different aspects of our lives through this little screen.

Now could be the time to clean up our phones!

To do this we can: Have the same attitude to your phone as you would your living space. If its messy and chaotic we can feel overwhelmed and stressed. If it’s clean and tidy we feel calmer and more relaxed.

  • Look at every app and think about how it makes you feel.
  • If there are any that bring stress then evaluate, do you really need it?
  • If you do really need it can it be on another device?
  • Are there any that haven’t been used recently? If so then delete it!
  • Can we condense our social media to one platform? Maybe the one we enjoy the most or the one that is a calmer happier place to be!

Screen-time and Your Eyes

Smartphones are now ubiquitous, and can be a very useful tool for learning and communication. There are however a number of potential issues from a wellbeing perspective, these (and how to minimise problems) will be considered in a few separate blogs. Here I want to focus on eye health.

LED/LCD/AMOLED screens are everywhere, (TV, desktop, laptop, tablet computers, smartphones, and gaming devices). We know that there are potential problems with overuse of these screens. Spending too much time staring at a screen can lead to eye discomfort, eyes feeling tired or strained, dry itchy eyes, difficulty focusing and headaches.

These screens also produce blue light which is associated with additional issues. And with phones, the closer proximity and length of time looking at them adds to the potential problems. There is emerging evidence of damage to retinal cells and increased risk of macular degeneration. It seems that these risks can be significantly increased by looking at your screen in the dark. Many people report using their screen device in bed at night. Of course there are multiple things to consider with this pattern of use, for now just from an eye health perspective, this might of particular concern.

Here are some things you can do to reduce eye problems.

  • Pause now and again and look into the distance or stare out of the window
  • Blink your eyes now and again
  • Stretch your head and neck
  • You should also take frequent short breaks away from the screen.
  • Make sure you’re working in well-lit conditions but without light reflecting off the computer screen.
  • Completely avoid using screens in the dark
  • Use blue light reduction settings if available (but this doesn’t solve all the problems so don’t rely on this as your only measure)
  • Reduce overall screen time

Sources

http://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/eye-safety-at-home-and-work/#

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21600300?report=abstract

http://www.preventblindness.org/sites/default/files/national/documents/fact_sheets/FS104_BlueLight_1.pdf

http://www.nature.com/articles/srep11325

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jun/23/smartphone-users-temporarily-blinded-looking-screen-in-bed

utnews.utoledo.edu/index.php/08_08_2018/ut-chemists-discover-how-blue-light-speeds-blindness