In the current situation with people being advised to work from home where possible and socialising mainly taking place via the likes of Zoom, time away from the screen is getting less and less – which is a problem if you suffer from migraines.
Too much screen time can strain your eyes, raise your stress levels, but most importantly, help to trigger a migraine attack. But what can you do? Most work that people are doing is now via a computer screen, and unless you want to become completely cut off from the outside world, chances are you’re going to be spending some time on Zoom staying in contact with friends and family.
There are things you can do to limit the effect which all this extra screen time is having on you and your migraines though.
If you haven’t already, try and get hold of a screen filter that you can put on your computer screen which will block the blue wavelengths. Blue light can mess with your circadian rhythm and aggravate light sensitivity, even in migraine patients who are blind. So blocking out these blue wavelengths should help you. Alternatively, or additionally, software called F.lux is a blue light exposure protection app which is available as a free download for Windows.
Space out your screen time
Or, at least, try and spread it out if you can. If you’re part-time, talk to your boss about spacing out your time with flexible hours, perhaps across a greater number of days, so that you don’t have to be online for such a long uninterrupted period. Taking breaks will help so take them if you can.
Turn off your video
When you’re on a Zoom call, use the option to be audio only and turn away from the screen. Maybe not always (you’ll want to see the faces of your friends and family from time to time!).
Find screen-free fun
Netflix is tempting, but if you’ve spent all day on a screen, finding something to do that you enjoy that doesn’t involve a screen will help. Audiobooks are one suggestion, or colouring (which some people find relaxing – so could help reduce the migraine trigger of stress), or puzzle books – essentially something which won’t strain your eyes any further and will help you to wind down.
Be honest and look after yourself Tell people why you can’t make every Zoom meeting they plan (yes, even when you’re stuck at home with no prior engagements) and don’t just try and battle through it. Explain to them that it’s important for your health not to go over a certain number of hours of screen time in a day. Your health has to come first.