EAP Corner

Digital Fatigue

Remember the days of dreaming about waking up, putting on comfy clothes, grabbing a cup of coffee and sitting in front of our computer to do our work? Many of us have been given that opportunity, but in some situations it includes the pets, kids and spouses at home as well. We are finding ourselves mentally and physically drained while working in the comfort of our home. How is that possible? Working from home sounded so amazing before we had to do it. Consider some ways to change this.

When you reflect on your day, think about how it is structured around electronic devices. The line between work life and home life is no longer clear so your workday doesn’t seem to end. At your office, you had breaks from the computer for meetings and now those meetings are video meetings. Screen time doesn’t end with work because we need to stay connected with family and friends. When your whole day consists of sitting in front of a screen, it can lead to digital fatigue.

This digital fatigue can lead to lack of energy, mental clarity, burnout, and can cause negative psychological and physical effects to our overall well-being as well as to work output. But this isn’t only about our own mental health. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to notice if a colleague is struggling, as our only mode of communication is during a video conference. (Pham, 2020)

We must continue our work but also pay attention to our mental health. Counselors are finding that anxiety and depression among clients has increased since the pandemic. It is important to find a balance that works for us. Here are four daily habits to adopt from The Dangers of Digital Fatigue and How to Prioritize Your Mental Health by Tiffany Pham that can help.

Make the time

Put mental health-focused breaks on your calendar. Set a timer for 15 minutes and get away from the screen. Stand up, get fresh air, go for a walk, or close your eyes for a few minutes.

Set your boundaries

If possible create a schedule that doesn’t include meetings after a certain time of day and no calls or work on the weekend. Set specific times to do your work.

Know the signs

Are you feeling lonely or overwhelmed with a short temper? Do you have physical pain? These are signs that you need to make changes. Reach out to connect with others, take time to complete tasks rather than bouncing between them and check your posture while you are working.

What’s at stake

Working remotely with technology has required changes. During this transition we are learning how to conduct business differently, but we are also forced to focus on human well-being. We have to start with taking care of ourselves for each other.

Recognizing and addressing digital fatigue will help with our overall wellbeing, work performance, and help us live a more fulfilling life.

Works Cited:

Pham, T (2020, November 3). Entrepreneur. The dangers of digital fatigue, and how to prioritize your mental health. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/358112.

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