5 ideas for screen breaks for eyes
Due to the COVID pandemic, many of us are now working from home, leading us to wonder: how often should I take breaks? Hand strain and stress or neckache can be common when working with a computer for a long period1, so it has long been touted that taking regular breaks is an important part of modern working life. But how often should you take breaks, and what can you do when you take them?
How often should you take breaks when working from home?
As a freelance Arabic and French to English translator, I know how important it is to take regular breaks from my computer. Working with a screen for long periods can cause your eyes to become tired2 and even lead to eye strain.
In terms of your rights, under health and safety regulations, you have a right to breaks from work whilst using a computer3. According to the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI), it is better to take shorter breaks more often (e.g. 5-10 minute breaks after 50-60 continuous minutes of screen work) than to wait longer.4
For this reason, many people recommend the 20-20-20 rule as a screen break for eyes. This means for every 20 minutes you work at a computer, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.5 However, in addition to this, you should take the longer breaks recommended by HSENI.
But you might be wondering…
What can I do on my screen breaks for eyes?
Here are my five favourite ideas for 5-10 minute screen breaks for eyes:
- Make a hot drink
Many of us rely on coffee and tea to get us through our working day anyway but make sure you leave your phone in the office and give your eyes a bit of a rest while you make your next drink.
- Play with your pet
If you have a furry little co-worker, give them some loving for 5-10 minutes. Not only will this help prevent eyestrain, but petting an animal can also release a relaxation hormone6 and will make you feel less stressed!
- Do a quick household job
Try taking a 10-minute screen break for eyes to put a wash load on, do the washing up or wipe down the surfaces. Not only will your eyes thank you, but you’ll have less to worry about at the end of the day.
- Take a walk around the block
Taking a short walk will get your blood pumping while resting your eyes. You’ll probably feel more energised after it too!
Meditation can feel a little ‘woo woo’, but it’s actually an effective stress reliever, as it allows you to reconnect with your body and sensations7. Plus, you usually do it with your eyes closed, giving them a well-earned break!
So now you know how often you should take breaks when working from home, and some great suggestions for what to do on your screen breaks for eyes. Let me know in the comments if you have any other thoughts!
And, if you want to take a screen break for eyes by outsourcing some translation or copywriting work, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 “Safe computer use”, nidirect government services, n.d., Source: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/safe-computer-use
2 “Safe eyes”, RNIB, n.d., Source: https://www.rnib.org.uk/eye-health/looking-after-your-eyes/safe-eyes
3 “Safe computer use”, nidirect government services, n.d., Source: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/safe-computer-use
5 “Does the 20-20-20 rule prevent eye strain?”, Rachel Nall, 18 April 2018, Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321536
6 “6 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health”, Lisa Fields, 24 October 2013, Source: https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/features/6-ways-pets-improve-your-health
7 “Mindfulness”, NHS, 20 November 2018, Source: https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help/tips-and-support/mindfulness/