In our monotonous routines, how long do we find ourselves staring at the screen? Be it for online classes, meetings, calls, or for the sake of socialising- we are stuck. Everything is virtual. With increased screen time, our physical health and mental health have faced severe backlash. In times that require physical distancing, we have left ourselves easy prey for addiction to gadgets for our daily dopamine hits. Technology has woven itself into all our routine functions, that it sounds delirious to even look for an escape from something that is making our lives easier, but at what cost?
Impact of increased screen time
With huge shifts in our lifestyles after the spread of coronavirus, increase in screen time has started posing problems. It has brought positive changes such as- things have become more accessible online and new avenues have opened up. But along with the positive changes, the negative impacts of screen time have started to become apparent now like headaches, irregular sleep habits, moodswings, poor posture, chronic neck and back aches, strain on eyes, vision problems and difficulty while focusing are some of the symptoms. Increased exposure to screen has also been associated with an increase in anxiety and depression levels. The blue light emitted from the screen can cause a delay in the release of melatonin and cause sleep deprivation. The feeling of not being in control triggers our overworked coping mechanisms to look for escape. We look for instant gratification online and after finding it, we start relying on it. This becomes a never ending cycle of screen addiction. It causes immense stress on the body and mind.
The role of Social media
Social media advantages and disadvantages make a long list. Social media has definitely helped with the lack of connection that started with the spread of coronavirus. It has helped to connect, to recreate old bonds, it provides a space for expression. Some of its adverse effects include cyber bullying, spread of fake information, feeling discouraged after looking through other’s achievements. The social dilemma has been a household concern. We have to realise that the social media is an instrument, how we use it and with what level of control, yields the results.
How can we take care of ourselves
Find entertainment away from screens- invest time upon oneselves and find hobbies that bring one joy. Pursuing different interests would yield to more personal satisfaction and lead to successful self introspection.
Take care of your eyes- because we cannot escape from screens or commitments like online classes or meetings; invest in eyedrops, lubricate your eyes. Wash your eyes with cold water two-three times a day. Take breaks from the screen and remember to blink more. Use blue light filters on electronic devices or use glasses with blue light filters to combat the ill effects of long term exposure to blue light.
Take care of your posture- before backaches and neck aches become a daily complaint, find time to stretch your body and increase flexibility. Sit straight and keep the screen at a respectable distance so that your eyes are not strained while looking at it and your back remains straight.
Exercise- our lives have suddenly been limited to screens and all kinds of activities have been on an indefinite hold. Why is exercise important? Healthy lifestyle requires proper nutrition and exercise for us to function at our best. We have to fight the sedentary lifestyle and take care of our physical health too.
Self-care- practice mindfulness techniques like, S.T.O.P. — stop, take a breath, observe and proceed, take care of your personal needs. Have breaks where you indulge yourselves a little bit into hobbies or what works for you. Exercise, meditate, or simply start dancing as if no one’s looking.
Care for your mental health- be vigilant about how you feel and your thoughts. Mental awareness is of immense importance and monitoring changes in yourself leads to an active solution based approach from your side or from professional guidance. Do not get trapped in stigmas, if you feel that you need help, reach out to professionals.
At SKCF, we not only educate parents of our students about the importance of physical and mental health, but we actively make sure that no student misses out on education or suffers in silence. There is open communication among all volunteers and students. Our virtual classes are based on the availability of students and their conveniences are addressed as top priorities so that they are not under any undue stress or pressure. Focusing on the pros of internet accessibility, we made sure that all of our students were fully equipped to explore the virtual world, we arranged internet packs and smartphones for those who could not afford them, in order to bridge the divide. Educational and inspiring seminars are held on a regular basis, to motivate as many minds as possible. Our activity days, that is, sundays are reserved for recreational activities and fun. In all we are trying to make virtual learning as accessible as possible and also fun.
Also, read- The role of teachers in online classes.