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You might be feeling very tired, your eyes are hurting, or just annoyed spending many hours on Zoom and studying beyond lecture online to pass your classes. You are not alone and it is completely normal to feel tired of using technology for a long period of time. Due to the pandemic, we are stuck inside pretty much full-time when we balanced going out with friends to hang out or go to school physically. The purpose of this article is to introduce three simple possibilities to make online education less draining each day.

According to research on the impact of the digital surge, the usage of the internet was 40% before the pandemic and increased to 100% when social distancing went into full effect1. This may answer why we are getting more headaches and eye strains more constantly every week. We usually do other activities outside the computer/internet space 60% of the day. This shows the high importance to create a balance and better adapt to the online environment when it is hard to reduce exposure.

Person with purplish nail polish holding a smartphone while having a MacBook on while having a cup of coffee. (Visual of devices that produce blue light).

1. Reduce Blue Light Exposure

Blue light is blue wavelengths found in electronic screens like computers, tablets, smartphones to increase mood, attention, and reaction times throughout the day2. Although these benefits can help us maintain focus throughout the day on our work or studies, it could actually impact us negatively during the night from getting good amount of sleep. There are some methods you can do to reduce the amount of blue light exposure if your sleep is being disturbed severely.

Change Device Display Settings

You can greatly reduce the amount of blue light by changing your display settings on your laptop or smartphone. Make sure to access the correct video link for steps of configuring the setting on the correct device:

Window: How to Enable Blue Light Filter on Windows 10

Mac: How To Turn On Blue Light Filter and KEEP On (Night Shift)

You may be aware of the display settings or option where you pull quick settings to turn the Blue Light Filter on your android or apple device. If your phone does not have a built in filter, you can always install an app on Google Play or App Store. Install apps at your own discretion and judgement on use reviews at your own risk. You usually have control to turn the filter on and off whenever you want or schedule to be on at a specific time in evening everyday.

Pro

  • Free and accessible

Con

  • Manipulates accuracy of color on websites (Makes the screen too yellow)

Invest in Blue Light Filter Glasses

This approach tends to resolve the potential con of using a blue light filter. I personally enjoy using blue light filter glasses for the style attending Zoom lectures. Also, I use psychology and train my brain wearing my glasses means it is time to be productive. I used to use the blue filter, but I do not like the yellowish websites and designing websites need accurate visuals of color. I highly encourage you to invest in blue light filter glasses to increase better sleep and productivity:

Blue Light Filter Glasses on Amazon

Pros

  • No change or manipulation of color on websites.
  • Can help trick your brain in being more productive.
  • Stylish while attending Zoom meetings.

Con

  • Cost money

2. Make Phone Calls instead of Video Calls

Remember, we are trying to reduce online fatigue as much as possible. Since we are encourage to social distance (I prefer to call it physical distance) to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Video calls or Face time have the same effect as sitting on a zoom meeting for 2 to 3 hours in one sitting. It is important to not punish ourselves from social interactions, but to think of alternative ways to practice self-care and talking to people we care about.

If you have your own space for privacy, you have easily have your phone call on speaker with your screen off to mimic an in-person conversation with family or friends. However, privacy may be a major issue for you and holding your phone may result in discomfort. I highly recommend investing in a Bluetooth earphones for a hands-free experience with respecting your privacy with private conversations:

Wireless Bluetooth Earphones with Microphone on Amazon

You can use this traditional method of communicating with friends while cooking or eating lunch and dinner without looking at your screen. The goal is to reduce eye strain and further fatigue without isolating from talking to people. Although we are moving towards a modern society with amazing video technology, traditional methods work really well. Especially internet connections are heavily congested and unstable when millions of people are steaming and connecting through video calls.

3. Spend Time Outdoors

You might be thinking this is a no-brainer to go outside to get away with technology. However, the pandemic has created a fear of exposing ourselves to the coronavirus and stay quarantine in our homes all the time. Practicing social distancing measures to make sure you wear a mask at all times and being distant from people. If possible, try to figure out the best time where it is not busy with too many people so you can greatly reduce the risk of contracting the virus. A number one precaution before going for a walk is to make sure the area does not have more than 10 people! This is considered a social gathering and not recommended to be around this many people at one time.

Possible/Recommended Methods or Locations

  • Walk around your backyard or house.
  • Go walk your local recreational park or hiking trail (be cautious of amount of people).
  • Walk in place in your balcony or near the window with it other to get fresh air
  • Go walk to a local market or store as an alternative to driving.

Going outdoor and being exposed to natural sunlight has very important health benefits which can help battle fatigue. According to research conducted by Mead, being exposed to sunlight early in the day can produce nocturnal melatonin earlier to assist better sleep. In addition, 10 to 15 minutes of natural sunlight exposure can increase some health benefits3.

Key Points

  • Change display settings on our electronics or wear blue light filter glasses to reduce blue light exposure.
  • Make traditional phone calls to keep our connections alive while not making it more exhausting.
  • Make time to go outside away from technology for 10 to 15 minutes a day while staying safe.

Final Thoughts & Discussion

This post is dedicated to helping students and educators enduring the challenges in online learning while struggling to endure a serious pandemic. I intended on keeping the methods to help reduce online fatigue simple where everyone could use to help make online learning more tolerable. These may work for you but are great suggestions to try out for yourself. What method that was not listed in the blog do you recommend other people to use that helped you? Everyone in the world including myself wants to hear your suggestions! We are here to learn from each other and beat online fatigue!

References

Always cite sources when you use information from others! We must respect other people’s work!

  1. Blue light has a dark side. (2020, July 7). Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side
  2. De’, R., Pandey, N., & Pal, A. (2020). Impact of Digital Surge during Covid-19 Pandemic: A Viewpoint on Research and Practice. International journal of information management, 102171. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2020.102171
  3. Mead M. N. (2008). Benefits of sunlight: a bright spot for human health. Environmental health perspectives, 116(4), A160–A167. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.116-a160

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