From the headquarters with Rachel Endecott, Ph.D., Director of DNA Research Management and Youth Development |
Recently, I scheduled an appointment for my annual eye exam. My role here at the American Simmental Association has evolved to become more computer-intensive, and I wanted to learn more about managing headaches from eye strain. After my doctor completed the exam, he smirked and said, “Let’s talk about this.”
I wasn’t sure if that was a sign of good news or bad news. Long story short, I apparently — and I quote — “over-focus” — on my screen when I’m doing computer work. Of course. Leave it to me to overachieve while reading my computer screen! So what kind of approach does one take to manage over-focusing? Blue-light glasses? Bifocals? Eye drops? Lasik surgery?
Turns out the answer is awfully straightforward — just look up. For every 20 minutes of screen time, take a break and look up, preferably as far away from you as possible. Well, now. Isn’t that simple?
It’s becoming harder and harder to just look up in the course of our busy lives, and unfortunately, it’s often bad news that forces us to take that break. Like my barely over-30 friend who went in for an emergency C-section at 38 weeks because she’s been diagnosed with breast cancer and needs to start intensive chemotherapy as soon as possible. Or knowing that the recent shooting in El Paso, Texas, happened in a shopping center I frequented regularly when I was in graduate school in nearby Las Cruces, New Mexico.
On the other hand, sometimes the reason for just looking up and taking that break is joyful: a gathering of old friends who haven’t seen each other in a few years at a Montana Stockgrowers Association summer meeting followed by the ranch rodeo in Miles City, or the wedding of two of my former students that feels like a slightly dysfunctional, yet hilarious and entertaining family reunion.
During some seasons in life, it feels like the only thing we can do is just keep our heads down and put one foot in front of the other. Everyone is going to have those tough seasons. Let’s try to just look up one time and check on each other. It could make all the difference in the world. That’s my challenge to you. Just. Look. Up.