Are you concerned that you are spending too much time sitting in front of your computer or on your devices?

The mounting screen time for children and adults is taking its toll on body and brain, causing problems such as: dry eyes, fatigue, stiffness, tight muscles, poor posture, compromised breathing, lack of circulation, irritability, cravings, brain fog, mental strain and more.

Along with the unprecedented number of hours spent on remote learning and working:

  • Netflix had 10 million new viewers streaming movies
  • Average time on social media jumped up to 2 hours and 24 mins/day
  • 50.1% of mobile use is now spent on social apps

To mitigate the overuse of screen time and the eventual harm it causes to your eyes and vision, California optometrist Jeffrey Anshel created the 20-20-20 rule. This entails taking a 20-second break from looking at your screen every 20 minutes and looking at something 20 feet away.

This is good advice. Not only is this suggestion good for your eyes, but it is also good for your entire system and easy to implement.

In fact, a 2016 research study at Stanford University shows that when people engage in ‘Micro-Bursts’ which are 5-minute walking breaks taken once every hour, they gain incredible benefits such as:

  • Boosting Energy and Creativity
  • Sharpening Focus and Concentration
  • Improving Mood and Motivation

No doubt you personally have noticed positive benefits when you take a break from your computer screen and go for a walk outdoors. The investment into your overall health and wellness by breathing in fresh air, absorbing daylight, moving your body, and circulating your blood, etc., is highly tangible.

Realistically however, is going for daily 5-minute walks every hour feasible? Could you genuinely commit to this?

Most people would say “No”.  As much as there are amazing benefits, it would it be too disruptive to constantly shift their focus during their workday. Other factors may also interfere such as inclement weather or the additional responsibility of managing their children’s remote learning, which reduces extra available time.

Not to mention, as humans we need to have choices. Taking 5-minute walking breaks every hour can quicky become repetitive and boring. It is easy to lose motivation when bursts of dopamine no longer get activated.

Incorporating the 20-20-20 strategy mentioned above will offer a very good benefit.  In addition, if you want even more brain stimulation that provides lots of variety you can try my 30-30-3D solution.

What is the 30-30-3D solution?

  • Every 30 minutes, take a 30 second screen break to activate your 3D brain.
  • You brain is 3 dimensional and needs to move and interact in 3 dimensional ways with people and environments on a regular basis.
  • Flat screens are 2 dimensional and will begin to wire your brain in a more limited way by constant use.

How do you do this?

In my Brain Fitness programs I share a wide range of brain activation strategies that can be done quickly and easily – anywhere, anytime, especially at a desk.

The activities are grouped into 3 categories to stimulate your physically-oriented brain stem, emotionally-oriented mid-brain, and intellectually-oriented frontal lobes.

Based on neuroscience and the brain’s plasticity, these strategies will complement and enhance your personal and professional goals and development.

If you would like more information, you can visit my Brain Fitness Cards page and download your own electronic version. 

7 Additional Screen Break Strategies:

  1. Use a pen instead of a keyboard – Handwriting stimulates different parts of your brain than a keyboard. Take notes, write letters, and keep lists using a pen and paper as often as you can to get more brain stimulation.
  2. Chunk Zoom meetings – Online meetings can be exhausting, especially if we are always on video mode and it is a daily occurrence. Assign certain days and times of the week to schedule your Zoom meetings so you have ample breaks.
  3. Designate work apps and personal apps – This will give you better work life balance and help you to be more organized. For example, use Zoom for work meetings and What’s App or Skype for socializing.
  4. Keep your bedroom device-free – Honouring tech free zones in your home is key to giving yourself quality screen breaks. Choosing your bedroom is a great and obvious choice as sleep and intimacy are essential parts of a healthy lifestyle.
  5. Start your day phone-free – Before checking your phone, take time to fully wake up, stretch, move, look out the window, initiate conversations with people, pets or plants in your household.
  6. Specific downtime hours – Put away or turn off your tech and engage in options such as: meditation, going for a walk, chatting with a friend, engaging in a creative hobby (knitting, painting etc.), cooking food, gardening…  anything that does not involve your device(s).
  7. No-screen nights and/or weekend days – Be intentional about setting specific boundaries on your calendar and stick with them. You will be amazed by all the things you get done and enjoy when you aren’t constantly on your screens.

As you can see, there are many ways to reduce your screen time and simultaneously to invest into your brain health and functioning. Let me know what you choose to incorporate!

To Your Fit Brain & Fit Life,