Virtual Overload: 3 Ways To Step Away From Your Screen

Eyes squinting, there’s headache starting in the back of your head… Yep, time to take a break! Just because you work virtually from home, or stare at a screen all day in the office, does not mean you don’t deserve a break. On the contrary, it is healthy to take a step away from your computer.

Learning from experience, I went from a job where I was continually moving around campus and looked at a screen for half of a day to 100% virtual work. As a dedicated employee, I wanted to prove to my boss and myself that I can do 8 hours in front of a screen without a break. I was wrong. 

After about a week or so, I realized that I started getting headaches and was unsure where they were coming from. I also realized that I was not doing our community justice or giving my all to them if I wore myself out so early into my position. 

In order to make our communities thrive as leaders, we need to take care of ourselves first. I understand this is difficult for some leaders to understand; however, if we as leaders are running on fumes for so long or staring at our screens for hours upon hours a day, it could/will affect our team and the communities we oversee. 

To help avoid virtual overload, here are three things you could do to step away from your computer:

1. Go for a mini walk – Go for a walk around the office or your neighborhood, take a break and relax your eyes. It is nice to step away and reflect on your work and possibly get a new perspective on it. If you are able to go for a short walk, it helps get the blood flowing through your body and brings you energy.

2. Take an ACTUAL lunch break – I know I have been guilty of this one several times. It is important for us to walk away and give our brains a break. If you work in the office and it is a nice day, go outside, sit with a co-worker and talk about anything but work. If you work from home, do what I do! I change it up. Sometimes I will do my laundry, maybe wash a few dishes, tidy up one of the rooms in my house, or simply vacuum. It makes me feel productive while getting away from my screen. On really nice days I like to take my lunch outside to enjoy the nice weather.

3. Reflect – Reflecting is always a wonderful thing to do. While you are out on your walk, stepping away from the screen doing whatever you wish, reflect on your job, life, communities, or position. When I go for a short walk around the block, I like to stay in work mode by thinking about what I am doing that is working, what I could improve on in my position, and how am I effective within the communities I oversee? It is a nice way to keep myself in check and keep up the positive vibes throughout the day. 

Here are three things you should NOT do when you are taking a break and stepping away from your computer: 

1. Watch Netflix – I know we all love to binge our favorite show every now and then, and when we have a break from work, it is one of the easiest things to do. However, it is not the healthiest way to spend your break time and will not help with relaxing your eyes from a screen.

2. Scroll on your phone – Again, this is probably the easiest way to take your break; however, you are going from one screen to the next. It is more relaxing for your brain and your eyes to pull away from screen usage and enjoy the world outside of it.

3. Get into a debate with a co-worker – When taking a break from work, sometimes we love to chat with our co-workers about anything and everything. The key here is to make sure that the conversations do not go overboard. Sometimes you could get caught up in a conversation that lasts for over an hour and now you have lost that time. Keeping the conversations short and sweet is key to a good screen break. 

In the end, you are going to do what you wish with your screen time / free time. These are six suggestions to help you become the better version of yourself and how you spend your time working. Remember, you have a responsibility to your communities and your job; make it count!

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