As we continue to move forward in an era of virtual jobs and education, constant digital interaction can wear us down and stress us out.
Stress can cause irritability, anxiety, headaches and a lack of motivation or focus. All of this can impact our productivity, work and general quality of life. When this happens, it’s important to implement some small but impactful changes to your daily lifestyle.
Whether it’s trying to combat Zoom fatigue or attempting to deal with the strain and stress that comes from staring at a screen all day, here are three tips to help you de-stress in an age of virtual living.
1. Schedule Breaks
It may be tempting to hunker down in front of your laptop and plow through all of your work in one sitting. Perhaps you’re even attempting to fit in more course work between online classes so you have more free time in the evening.
Consider this: Instead of speed-running all of your work, try scheduling a 20 to 25-minute break as soon as you notice yourself becoming restless or unproductive. Remove yourself from anything digital. (And no, this doesn’t mean it’s time to pick up your phone and start scrolling through Instagram). Take a short walk outside to get a change in scenery and give your eyes a break from staring at a screen.
If you’re unable to go outside, try doing another task that involves little concentration. Go grab a small snack, have a quick chat or call with friends and family, stretch or perfect your next TikTok dance. After sitting hunched over a computer for hours a day, your body will thank you! You will find that giving your mind a quick pause will make you more productive in the long run.
2. Eat Healthy & Stay Hydrated
When we get over-stressed, it’s normal to resort to comfort food as a way to cope. Most of the time, it’s easier and less time consuming to satisfy that craving for Cup Noodles instead of taking an hour out of your schedule to cook dinner. However, stress can consume large amounts of energy, so it’s important to consume high energy foods, such as fruit or eggs to make up for that deficit.
As mentioned previously, it’s important to schedule breaks where you completely disengage from your computer or phone. Taking a small break to have a healthy snack can improve your focus.
And of course, it’s most important to stay hydrated. Stress can cause tension headaches, and if you’re dehydrated, you’re more susceptible to getting one. Make sure to always have a bottle of water on hand and to drink regularly—even if you are not feeling thirsty.
3. Do Things for Yourself
As long as you’re not as financially self-destructive as Tom and Donna from Parks and Rec, it’s important to “treat yo’ self” every once in while!
Make sure to set aside time that is solely dedicated to you and whatever makes you happy. Binge-watch a show on Netflix, buy something you’ve been eyeing for a while or gather a group of friends for a virtual game night.
School and work should not consume your life. Try removing yourself from your source of stress and do something that’s fulfilling for you. After all, the most important thing you can do is to take care of yourself first over all else.
Now more than ever it’s important to take care of both our minds and our bodies. With the ways that we learn and work rapidly changing, it can be difficult for us to adapt and keep up. In turn, this can cause us to easily feel stressed out or lost.
If you find that daily digital interaction is having an impact on your mental health, don’t fret! Take a deep breath, then try one of these tips to help shake it off!