As freelancer writers and editors, our screens are our co-workers. Without a computer (and a back-up one just in case), we’re out of job.
However, staring at screens frequently is not good for your eyes. And in our screen-saturated culture, we need to remind ourselves of that on a regular basis. So, here are some self-care tips if you find yourself in front of a screen a lot:
1. Take Frequent Breaks
This should be a no-brainer, but I need to remind myself frequently. It’s so tempting to keep racking up hours and pushing yourself, but too much screen time can really affect your energy and motivation levels. I try to set goals for myself with every project I start—“Once I proof these pages, I can take a five-minute break.” Five minutes is a good amount of time to get up, grab a drink, and maybe empty the dishwasher before you get back to work. This is like your “water break” at an office and is a good rest for your eyeballs.
2. Don’t Slouch
Think slouching doesn’t affect your eyesight? Think again! Some studies have shown that bad posture can affect the tension in your body and influence the blood flow between your head and neck. When you keep your posture solid while on your computer for longer periods of time, you are doing you’re your eyes (and spine!) a favor.
3. Dim the Screen
I have a MacBook Pro, so the screen dims and brightens easily. However, that backlight can be pretty harsh on the eyes, especially at night. At the suggestion of a friend, I downloaded f.lux, a free software that softens your computer screen to adjust to the time of day. So while in the morning my screen looks fairly average, it has an orangey tint to it at night. It also allows me to adjust the tint if I want more or less of it.
This has made an extraordinary difference in my eyesight at night. The orange tint gives my eyes more rest so I can feel a little more comfortable when doing night work.
Taking care of yourself is vital, especially when you’re always in front of a screen. As my mom always told me, you only get one pair of eyeballs, so take care of them!
What kind of self-care tips do you have?