Common Tech Health Issues
By Therese Poon
This term refers to the posture involved in holding your phone in front of you with your neck extended forward, looking down at it for long periods of time. The weight of the head is around 8kg, so all this weight is being held by the neck muscles and over time that can cause strain. To avoid this pain, keep your head up! The best way to do this, whenever possible, is to brace your elbows on a table, bench top or any available platform and hold your mobile in front of you at head height.
Tricking the Eyes
We've already mentioned blue lights and how they can affect your sleep in previous articles, but it's worth mentioning again. The blue light (or even just light coming up towards the face instead of down upon it) can trick the eyes and therefore your 'Qi' field into thinking that the sun is coming 'UP' and therefore it's early daylight hours and one must stay awake. Therefore, at night-time, try making the effort to stop using the phone, or turn on a blue light filter. You might also try using more natural lights (like candle-light - obviously, remember never to leave unattended) if you don't need to be seeing anything clearly.. And finally, if reading, make sure it's on a surface that doesn't shine light upwards at you (like many e-readers), but rather use a light that shines down on the surface of the book or an unlit e-reader.
It's so easy to get lost in a TV program, a web search or a computer project where hours tick by before we notice that we've been in a single, stationary position for way too long and our body has begun to stiffen or cramp. Regardless of how perfectly ergonomic your furniture and posture are - movement is essential as we are not designed to stay in one position for that long. Here are a few suggestions you might like to try.
1. Try any form of movement - just stand up and stretch, do some torso twists or jumping on the spot. You could take a brief 50 step walk. You coukd use the upstairs bathroom instead of the downstairs powder room - and get the benefit of climbing the stairs.
2. You might consider investing in a standing desk so that you can continue working in an alternative posture and change it up at regular intervals.
3. If your evening is the sedentary time, perhaps leave the dog-walking until half-way through the evening and break it up that way.
The point is, we can be creative and think ahead how we can restore more movement into our lifestyles.
Setting alarms & Habit stacking
Sedentary activities like binge watching or internet surfing lend themselves to mindlessness - and a lack of awareness of time. Hence, we can simply forget to move. With fit bits and phones, the modern trend is to set timer alerts but these can sometimes be tedious and inconvenient, though they are also sometimes very helpful.
Aine, our counsellor advises that we can use existing habits to create new habits and in this way we can do what is good for us - in a more effortless way. This is called Habit Stacking and is based on the neuroscience theory that since things like taking a shower or brewing a cup of tea are deeply embedded in our brains, if we want to start a new habit we simply "stack" it on to an existing habit and by association, it uses the same groove to become a new habit. So saying something like "After I make the tea, I will do 5 sit ups" or "After I watch the news, I will take a short walk or do 10 torso twists", makes creating a new good habit so much easier!