Does Your Technology Effect Your Health?
I’ve been talking about buying a tablet. I do early morning writing called Morning Pages every day. If you’re not familiar, it’s kind of like a first thing in the morning brain dump. I like to write these long hand, but after a paragraph or two, I write quickly, and my handwriting gets really sloppy. So sloppy, in fact, that I can’t read my own writing. I was hoping that a tablet with handwriting recognition would solve this problem. Buying a tablet was in the back of my mind, but not really a big enough priority for me to intentionally go shopping.
Last week, while my husband and I were browsing and window shopping, we ran across a used HP tablet/laptop convertible computer for a really good price. After several minutes of discussion, we put the computer on lay-a-way. When we had an unexpected check come in, we decided to pay the tablet off, and bring it home.
I’ve been playing with it since Monday. I decided that if I was going to carry a tablet, then I should give up the paper calendar and task management system I use and switch to electronic. I didn’t want both the tablet and the small binder I keep my planner in both in my purse because of the weight. So, I set out to find an electronic planner system that I like. I had just about decided to make the tablet my main computer and turn my laptop over to my son when I noticed that the tablet wasn’t having good effects on my health and well being.
- My vision wasn’t as clear, and I needed my glasses every time I used the tablet. I don’t need to wear my glasses when I use my laptop, or my paper planner.
- I was experiencing increased dizziness. I get dizzy spells once or twice a month, but in the couple days I was using the tablet I was experiencing dizziness a couple times a day.
- My eyes hurt, and I kept getting headaches directly behind my eyes. The tablet was causing eye strain.
- My left wrist started to hurt. My hands obviously don’t like the size and positioning when I use the tablet keyboard. Sure, I can use the handwriting recognition for everything, but the my index finger gets tired.Besides I like using the keyboard for some things.
- I noticed that my neck muscles were becoming tighter than usual from putting my head down to see the tablet. My laptop screen doesn’t require me to lean over in order to see it.
I realized that even though the tablet is a fun tool, it’s not the right tool for me because it was having an adverse effect on my body. That got me wondering how many other tools or toys, electronic or otherwise, do we use even though they negatively impact our health?
I started looking around my house and office and realized that the tablet isn’t the only thing I use that causes pain, headaches, or discourages me from being more active. I do try to be intentional in my actions and habits, and I try to arrange the house and office to discourage a lot of sitting, but there are a few things I could do differently to maximize my health and minimize negative effects.
Passing on the tablet is only the start. What if I moved my favorite books reference books to bottom shelves so that I have to bend over to get them? I could also make it a point to stand instead of sit when I play Wii games with the kids. I’ve already gotten into the habit of standing when I use my computer. I can store often used items on higher shelves so I have to stretch to get to them. We don’t watch much tv, but when we do I sit or lie on the floor to stretch. I could use that time to lift hand weights, or use my exercise bands. Anything that gets me to move more is a good thing.
As for the tablet, I’m giving it to my son and sticking to my 17 inch screen laptop. I do like the portability of the tablet, but it’s not worth sacrificing my vision, or developing carpel tunnel over. I’ll have to start typing my Morning Pages instead of handwriting them. The last couple days have been a reminder that my tech should support my health as well as my writing.