We’re spending more time than ever on our screens; working away on our computers, peering at our phones as we scroll through social media, or binging the latest shows on TV. I think it’s fair to say that the combination of sitting and screen time can take its toll, presenting unique challenges to our physical and mental health. So with that, it’s important to have a plan in place to support our system during these sedentary times!
Here are a few suggestions to support your system so you can feel your best.
Schedule “stretch time” into your calendar
Sitting, believe it or not, takes a heavy toll on the body. More than ever, it’s important to take the time throughout the day to get up from your chair and stretch. This can be something as simple as l am leaning over and slowly rolling your body up, finishing by reaching your hands to the sky and making yourself as tall as possible. Or perhaps consider investing in a foam roller and using the “stretch time” to physically roll out some physical tension; this is especially useful for the shoulders, hips, and lower back.
From practice, this concept works best when you physically enter an hourly alarm into your phone’s workday schedule. That way, you ensure that you won’t unintentionally sit for three hours without getting up!
Keep Arnicare on hand for screen time aches and pains
Working at a desk all day and glancing down at our phones on a regular basis doesn’t make for great posture. As a result, posture-related aches and pains like sore shoulders, a tense neck or lower-back discomfort can really interrupt our workday. 1
My top recommendation, that I always keep on hand in my office desk, is Arnicare Gel or Cream, which can help soothe both muscle pain and joint discomfort. Simply rub in a thin layer to the affected area as soon as discomfort hits. For me, Arnicare has come in handy a lot during lockdown computer time!
Increase your exposure to Nature
Wherever you work, be sure to include a view of nature within your line of vision. Whether it’s positioning your desk to face the outdoors, or placing a plant on your desk, looking at nature has been found to both reduce stress and help restore attention. 2
Support your eyes
Staring at screens all day can take a toll on our eyes. Wearing a pair of blue blocker glasses goes a long way to filtering out some of the blue light emitted from our screens that causes eye fatigue (these glasses are now widely available online).
And if you do experience itchy, burning or fatigued eyes, Optique1 is a multi-symptom eye drop formula that can help soothe and comfort!
“Warm up” your computer screens
If you’re one to work on your computer late into the night, consider installing a program called flux on your computer. 3 This free program helps warm the colours of your computer screen as the day gets darker, which puts less strain on the eyes and subsequently supports a better night’s sleep. Personally, I use both flux and blue blocker glasses, as I’ve found that’s what works best for me.
Practice mindfulness when you do take a break!
Whenever you get up from your desk to go grab a glass of water, or use the bathroom, or stretch your legs – really immerse yourself in that experience. Mindfulness can help counteract some of the worrying and rumination that a day sitting at your desk can elicit, in addition to reducing overall anxiety. 4
What does mindfulness look like? Let’s say you took a quick unscheduled break to grab a cup of tea. Be present with yourself as you make it, feel your hands as you pluck out the tea bag, as you grip the cup and as you pour the water. Then when you do drink it, imagine you are being filmed for a nice quiet moment in a movie. Wrap your hands around the mug, smell the tea, and take a long romantic sip. It might feel a bit silly at first, but you just might find yourself feeling calmer after the experience; so much so that you’ll want to apply this mindfulness to everything you do!
Eat a diet rich in Magnesium
Magnesium is the mineral that helps promote physical relaxation in the body, something that can come in handy when we’re stressed from staring at screens all day. 5
To enhance that relaxation response, ensure your diet is full of magnesium rich produce like spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli and avocado. Magnesium is especially rich in green-colour foods, so if you’re eating something green, well done!
Exercise to counteract the sitting!
Exercise is key for a healthy life. It can also balance out all of the additional time we’ve spent sitting at our screens. And with the weather getting warmer, we might be even more motivated to get outside and move, which is fantastic! Whether it’s outside yoga, jogging or playground pull ups, find the exercise you enjoy and go for it.
Just a word of caution – if you are exercising for the first time in a little while, don’t go from zero to one hundred right away. Always make sure to take the time to warm up and cool down so you don’t strain or overload your joints. And if you do happen to tweak or pull something, make sure you have Arnicare Gel or Cream on hand to help soothe muscle pain and get relief of pain. Be sure to apply it to the affected area as soon as possible!
As a side note, I’ve been asked before if you can use both topical Arnicare Gel or Cream and Arnicare tablets at the same time, and my answer to that is a resounding yes. In fact, after an injury, I personally use both to relieve both local and systemic symptoms.
Technology has been such an incredible gift during times of lockdown, helping us all stay connected with one another. However, it does bring its own unique challenges that take a toll on both the body and mind. As with everything, remember balance is key. Consider incorporating some of the tools mentioned above to support your system as it adapts to this new screen time landscape!
Kyle Buchanan is a registered nutritionist, speaker, actor, and the Resident Wellness Expert on Canada’s “The Morning Show.” He has a passion for spreading holistic health and wellness advice to as many as possible; from television audiences and conference attendees to online readers and video watchers. He also has his own private practice, working with clients worldwide on their journey to feeling their absolute best. For more information, check out www.kylebuchanan.ca or his Instagram page!
Note: These homeopathic medicines may not be right for everyone. Always read and follow the label.
1 Improve Posture & Stop Slouching at Work | Relax The Back
3 f.lux: software to make your life better (justgetflux.com)