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Brain Breaks

Are you feeling overwhelmed or easily distracted? During this time of COVID, many of our meetings, classes, and work takes place over zoom or other virtual programs. This can put a strain on your eyes as well as your mental health and wellbeing. A study conducted in June 2020 by, reports that screen time for teens (ages 11-17), has increased by 30%.

According to The Minnesota Department of Health, “excessive or poor quality screen time” is correlated with poor sleep habits, obesity, behavioral challenges, and weak or underdeveloped social skills. Sleep habits can be affected by blue light (a specific wavelength) which is emitted from electronic screens (phones, laptops, tablets, and handheld video game consoles). Blue light causes you to become alert and can cause digital eye strain, and damage to your retinas. A study at the University of Toledo reports that your photoreceptors can be damaged or killed by blue light. Click here to read our previous article on tips for healthy sleep habits. Obesity is likely affected by screen time because it can be caused by mindless eating. If you are eating or snacking during a movie, TV show or meeting, you are more likely to not be listening to your body and when you are “full”. Click here to read our previous article on easy, healthy, diet swaps and recipes. In addition, obesity is likely an effect of virtual work because of the lack of physical activity. Click here to read a previous article on working out during a pandemic.

So what can we do about it? In addition to implementing a healthy diet, mindful snacking, and an exercise routine, we can all take brain breaks.

Here are 3 examples and ideas for “brain breaks” that you can adopt as part of your daily routine, especially during virtual work in a pandemic. I would suggest adopting some of these brain breaks and do them once every hour that you are sitting/using a screen.

  1. HeadSpace: (Download the app). HeadSpace is a free app that includes free guided meditations that range from 5 minutes to 2 hours and cover a variety of topics. These topics include stress management, sleep, focus, and more!

  2. Office/Workplace Friendly Yoga: Click the link to be directed to to read and see 5 different yoga poses that are appropriate for the workplace. Take 5-10 minutes to do these stretches to take a break and to redirect your rejuvenated focus back to your screen.

  3. Doodling: Set a timer for 5-6 minutes and just take a pen and start doodling on a piece of paper. You can draw stick figures, animals, geometric shapes, a scene of nature or anything else your heart desires. The idea is just to step away from your work and to do something creative!

These are just a few tips on how to take brain breaks during life in a virtual world. If you have any questions, or concerns click here to book a free 30-minute consultation with clinician, Danielle Feerst, OTR/L. In addition, you can connect with us on our Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Written by Madison Gies, Peer Mentor/Coach

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