take a minute

What is Digital Fatigue?
15 Mar 2022
by Bev Dela Cruz

Please take a minute to check in with your current physical and mental state. Ask yourself:

  1.  Are your eyes feeling strained?
  2.  Does your back, shoulders or neck have any sort of discomfort?
  3. Do you sit in front of a screen but nothing sparks that productivity?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then that’s a clue for you to close your digital screens and give your eyes a rest from all that blue light. All of these signs are your body and mind’s way of telling you that you’re digitally fatigued.

There are many definitions of digital fatigue but quite simply:

Digital fatigue can be a state of mental and/or physical exhaustion caused by the uncontrolled use of digital devices.
(Harley Therapy, 2021)

Digital fatigue happens more frequently than anyone wants to admit. In the last 2 years, as employees worked from home, the problem has become increasingly acute.

It all starts physically. Common physical changes include:

  • Strained eyes
  • Increased headaches or greater migraines for sufferers
  • Discomfort and aches in your upper body
  • Numbness and aches in your lower body, especially knees

But what we’re not taking into account is how digital fatigue can also affect you mentally. This often manifests itself as:

  • a lack of motivation
  • a feeling of indifference or detachment
  • anxiousness

When we begin to experience these feelings then we see the negative impact that our digital lives have on our mental health. No one should feel like they can’t control this.

So how do we deal with digital fatigue?

Take. a. break!

Realise when too much of something is happening right in front of your eyes - literally. Unless you find ways to change the situation, nothing will change. In fact, things are most likely to deteriorate further.

3 key tips to avoid digital fatigue

Tip 1

Reduce your screen time by scheduling breaks into the day. During those breaks do something active - go for a walk, play the guitar, chat with a friend. An improvement in mental and emotional health will naturally follow after.

Tip 2

Assess your work space! It should motivate you rather than become another obstacle as to why you seem to lack productivity.

Tip 3

Reach out and support each other by sharing your concerns. Get your company to consider digital wellbeing practices! Share this blog with them to raise a conversation!

Owe it to yourself to start recognising when you’re digitally fatigued. Days will differ but at the end of the day, you’re not some robot automated to work straight for hours… you’re human. Technology was made to work for you - you are the master and not the slave. So at the end of the day, switch your devices off!

For more support on tackling digital fatigue take a look at our techtimeout10 challenge. Thousands of people have already participated and are enjoying a better and healthier relationship with technology. In March 2021, Shropshire based PR company, J&PR, set themselves the techtimeout10 challenge - 10 days of tech-free activities - and it made a huge difference. To find out more click here. To read more about digital fatigue read their blog, click here.


Useful Links:

https://bausch.co.uk/news/blink-rate/

https://www.harleytherapy.co.uk/counselling/digital-fatigue.html

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/why-lack-of-sleep-is-bad-for-your-health/