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Healthy Habits for Effective Online Learning

Take active steps to maintain your mental and physical health and to help you learn effectively.

  1. Working at a computer all day can lead to eye strain. In order to avoid this concern, be sure the lighting on your electronic devices is set to an appropriate level and you take regular and frequent breaks from your screen. When you are required to spend a lot of time at a computer, the Mayo Clinic staff suggests blinking frequently and using artificial tears (eye drops). Consider using one of the following free apps that will remind you to take an eye break: EyeCare, ProtectYourVision, Awareness, or TimeOut.
  2. To avoid neck and back discomfort, be sure your computer screen is level with your eyes; avoid looking up or down at a screen. Be sure to include stretching in your daily routine; our bodies are not used to sitting all day, so relieve tension by stretching every hour or two. If possible, try to work while standing. Consider using a kitchen counter or book shelf for your computer; if that’s not high enough stack books or a box under your computer. But be aware of your line of vision.
  3. Schedule time for exercise. After spending the majority of your day in front of your screen, even more so if you are sitting at a desk or table, it’s important to get moving. If you have the ability to do so, take a daily walk or jog outside (but be sure to practice social distancing). For those who cannot leave their house try lunges, planks, knee-lifts, jumping jacks, or squats. There are many online resources for free exercise now as well.
  4. Sitting at a computer all day often leads to unhealthy snacking. To stay healthy, we need to eat healthy. Research shows that improved nutrition leads to heightened cognition, so be sure to choose healthy snacks and get the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Remember to stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.
  5. In addition to working on your physical heath, remember to plan time to support your mental health. Engage in activities that you enjoy doing and spend time with loved ones. Since most of us are currently isolated from those outside of our households, take the opportunity to learn new online platforms that will allow you to video chat and interact with your friends and family members. YouTube and other streaming services offer many free guided meditation and yoga videos. And take a break from screens! Spending some quiet time each day, especially away from your computer, can lead to an overall sense of wellbeing. And don’t forget that getting adequate sleep is an essential part of social-emotional wellbeing and effective learning.