Regulars and Shorts

Body, Mind and Wellness: The click factor

By Lucy Beale

Detoxing and decompressing from all the clicks in our daily lives.
by Lucy Beale

Have you ever counted how many clicks you make in a day? For most of us, it could be thousands. Clicking. You need just one, claims, to purchase your books, but you’ll need many more clicks to do some research on Google, check your email, or send a text message. Beyond that, millions to develop a website, and millions more to maintain one.

Clicking is everywhere. It’s moved beyond the privacy of your home or seclusion of your office to the TRAX, ballgames, the lunch counter, the car, and, oh, yes, public restrooms. In our super high-speed information age, the click drives commerce, communications, relationships, parenting, and booking a ticket on the airlines.

Clicking is far more than keying, although keying is included. It’s using the “mouse” to navigate—around the world. It’s become the sound of life, just like your heartbeat or breath.

After emailing in my manuscript in June to my editor in Indianapolis, I had click fatigue. I was weary of hearing clicks, of doing clicks, of all the sitting in front of a screen so I could click and click, and… click. No, I didn’t have the desire to revert to snail-mailing in “typed manuscripts”; I just wanted a week of no clicks, which I found is virtually impossible.

A week later on vacation in Paris, I found myself addicted to checking email and my iGoogle page. I didn’t want to leave my iPhone in the apartment because its Maps feature is superb for walking directions. But, the urge to “check in” a couple times a day was powerful. It was as if I had let clicking become part of my fun. It may have interfered a bit with my ability to experience the ambience of the food, the people, the cafés and the stunning views.

Back home, I decided to find ways to decompress and detox from all the clicks. Don’t laugh—the following activities work to balance your body, mind and hunched shoulders from all those clicks. They work on the click muscles, posture, eyestrain, and even mental or brain fatigue.

Activities to soothe your weary click muscles

• When working at the computer, look away every 15 minutes. Focus your eyes out the window or at something farther away than the screen, preferably soothing or interesting. This reduces eyestrain.

• Every half hour, take a stretch break. Stand up, wiggle, touch your toes, do side bends, twist to look over one shoulder then the other. Shrug your shoulders to loosen tight shoulders.

• Do eye exercises. Circle your eyes several times in one direction, then in the other. Move your eyes far to the left, then the right. Focus on a close object, then one far away.

• Do aerobic exercise to balance all the sitting in front of the screen.

• Get outside. Go for a walk, eat lunch in the park, or hike. You can also do some gardening, or housework.

• Play games that are not computer games, such as bridge or poker. The WiiFit is on a computer, but you get to move and laugh as you and your friends compete on the giant slalom or bowling.

• Do other games, such as crosswords and Sudoku on real paper with a pencil, or a pen if you are daring.

• Read a book the old-fashioned way – one that’s printed on paper, where you physically turn the pages.

• Pick up the phone and call someone in lieu of responding by email.

• Take a drive on a country road or up the canyons. Better, ride a bike.

• Vacation where there’s no cell phone coverage. You can find many such places in Southern Utah at the fabulous National Parks. Many of the hotels offer free wireless, but you’ll seldom see someone text­ing as they take in the beauty of Zion National Park.

Notice I wrote this column by clicking. Clicking is here to stay. But too much of it can interfere with your fun and wellness. To stay in balance, manage your clicking so you get the most benefit with the least stress and optimal wellness.

Lucy Beale is a health and wellness writer. Her most recent books are “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Glycemic Index Weight Loss (version 2)” and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Well on a Budget.” She lives in Sandy, Utah.


This article was originally published on February 28, 2010.