‘#160/365’ (Andrews, 2010).

For most students, study inevitably means spending time using screens of one type or another. When you’re not reading email, there’s Minerva to check, assessments to complete and reading to catch up on. You’re juggling a lot of tabs, documents and priorities and now that much of your teaching may be taking place online, how do you make sure that you get away from the screen regularly? 

Take it day by day.   

Whether you have a really busy timetable, or very few contact hours, make sure that you plan your day. It doesn’t have to be a minute-by-minute list, but plan when you’ll take breaks and what you’ll do with them, and that they are activities that don’t involve using screens!  

Plan off screen leisure activities. 

Something that we often lose when our normal routines are thrown out is a sense of purpose. Having some mini projects which don’t involve using screens are ideal for this. If you produce something nice at the end, so much the better!   

Just a few examples of absorbing off screen activities are cooking, baking, drawing, knitting, running and yoga. Ideally, you should aim to keep yourself busy and involved in a task that you enjoy.  Many people tried making bread for the first time during lockdown (with various degrees of success!), to develop a new skill and do something positive. Baking and cooking also have the added benefit of making your home smell delicious! 

Use your bubble. 

If you’re living in a shared house or are in a bubble with others, you can use this to encourage one another to take time away from screens. Doing something with someone you like has so many benefits even if you just take a walk or play a board game together.  

Get into podcasts. 

With our social circles being reduced right now, it can feel as though we’re disconnected from the world around us. One way of reconnecting and discovering something new is through radio and podcasts (okay, podcasts need a smart device so we’re not strictly stepping away from screens here, but at least your eyes get a break). Both podcasts and radio open your ears to new voices, stories and experiences, ideal for a moment when we feel that our world has shrunk. 

Monitor yourself. 

This is our last tip and it’s one that I hope one that you won’t resort to because you’ll be so busy baking cakes, knitting yourself a scarf or listening to a really epic podcast. But if you want to find out how much time you’re spending on screen, you can monitor it with apps or software. There are lots to choose from, but using these won’t get you away from your screen – to do that you’ll have to turn off your device…

References

Andrews, K. 2010. #160/365. [Online]. [Accessed 27 April 2021]. Available from: http://www.flickr.com