Combating Eye Strain

Most adults are on digital media for about four to six hours daily. As a remote worker, you may be racking up even more hours than usual in front of a brightly lit screen.

According to the Vision Council, nearly 49% of American adults say they don’t know what digital eye strain is – and nearly 35% aren’t concerned about the impact of digital device usage on their eyes.

Eye fatigue is caused by staring at screens for long periods of time. You may have eye strain if you have the following symptoms.

  • Sore, burning or itching eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light

The simple solution to eye strain is to limit the time you spend in front of screens, but that can be especially tough when working at a computer is part of your job. Instead, it comes down to being mindful about interacting with screens throughout the day. Even if you are a computer-bound worker, eye strain is preventable and manageable. Here are ways to help reduce eye strain:

  • Reduce glare. Try turning down your monitor’s brightness and cleaning the screen regularly.
  • Dim lighting. If possible, dim any other competing light in the room. Try to configure your workspace away from front- or back-facing windows. If that’s not possible, consider applying a removable anti-glare filter on the screen to reduce sunlight glare.
  • Increase font size. If you feel your eyes straining to read, increase the size of the text.
  • Wear computer glasses. Blue-light-blocking computer glasses filter the light from your screen to reduce strain.
  • Blink regularly. Your eyes may feel dry simply because you’re staring and have forgotten to blink.
  • Practice the 20-20-20 rule. Look away from your screen every 20 minutes at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

If you’re experiencing eye strain symptoms and at-home adjustments aren’t working, consult your eye doctor. This is especially important if you’re experiencing prolonged discomfort or vision changes.

Bringing the Outdoors Into Your Work-From-Home Routine

From a stroll through the park to a day spent hiking, general exposure to green spaces has been linked to numerous physical and mental benefits – including improved attention, lower stress and better mood. As such, spending time in nature can help remote employees be more focused, inspired and creative.

You don’t have to go on a two-hour hike or even break a sweat. You can benefit just from being outside among trees and other green spaces for roughly five minutes.

Here are ways some outside time can support your mental health and overall well-being during the workday.

  • Boosts your mood – Exposure to natural light stimulates your body’s production of mood-boosting vitamin D and serotonin. Studies also show that it can lower anxiety and depression.
  • Lower stress  – While going outside can be an immediate stress reliever, the most significant impact comes from spending 2o to 30 minutes outside.
  • Regulates sleep – Sunlight regulates circadian rhythms to align with your body’s internal clock. As a result, going outside for a few minutes helps keep you awake and alert during the day, making it easier to get better sleep at night.
  • Improves mental capabilities – Spending time outside before starting tasks can help improve your memory and your ability to concentrate and focus.

Since outside time can be beneficial to your mental health, consider the following ideas to get started and incorporate the outdoors into your daily work-from-home routine:

  • Mediate outdoors for 10 to 15 minutes in the morning.
  • Move your workspace by a window so you can see greenery or be exposed to more natural light.
  • Add indoor plans or free flowers to brighten up your workspace.
  • Take regular activities outside, such as reading or working on your laptop.
  • Go on a lunchtime walk for a midday break.
  • Have a picnic lunch or dinner.
  • Try an outdoor workout class before or after the workday.
  • Take up gardening to regularly connect with nature.

You don’t have to be outdoorsy to reap nature’s benefits. Find small ways to incorporate fresh air and sunlight into your daily schedule to improve your overall well-being. If you’re unsure how to do it, talk to your manager to discuss options that work for your schedule.