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National Day of Unplugging: Lynchburg counselor shares how to disconnect in a healthy way

It’s time to power down your phone, computer, iPad, Kindle and all your other technology for the National Day of Unplugging. It’s an intentional 24-hour break from technology.

Bryan Prinzivalli outpatient counselor at Thriveworks Lynchburg said because we are using our screens a lot longer than in the past due to working and learning from home, our brain is taking on a whole new level of stimulation. That may be the reason some of us are having a hard time sleeping and settling down for the night.

Even if 24 hours unplugged is a little too much, Prinzivalli said you can start small. Designate a time of day to unplug or a day out of the week.

Here’s how to start, turn off app notifications and set a time limit or put on a timer for social media to avoid getting sucked in for hours.

Prinzivalli said we need to take a moment to pause.

“We’re constantly taking info in, we can’t have time to resonate with it. So sometimes we just need that space to think ‘what does this mean to me?’ and ‘how do I interact with the world?’” said Prinzivalli.

Prinzivalli said there are apps, like Thrive, that put your phone in a mode where you can’t use certain apps or get notifications, making it very similar to life before smartphones.

During this pandemic, technology has been the key to connecting all of us, but it’s not the only way we can connect.

If you’re an extrovert and really want that connection, Prinzivalli recommended board or card games. For the introverts who like to keep to themselves, he suggested reading a book the old fashion way, not on any screen.

The same for kids. You can get them off their screens with reading or an activity book that get them outside and exploring. For older kids, Prinzivalli recommended writing a letter. The letter doesn’t have to be long, it could be something they would typically text. Lastly, doing something imaginative while being unplugged especially with kids can go a long way.

“One of the things that happens with tech is we kind of lead their imagination for them and so for them to be able to be creative, do some arts and crafts stuff a couple boxes of crayons, watercolors and some paper and help them create,” said Prinzivalli.

Vinton History Museum is celebrating the Day of Unplugging with a display of historic unplugged artifacts and its Little Free Library will have scavenger hunt packets available. You’ll also get paper, pencils, crayons and coupons. When you’re all done, go to the museum to get a prize.

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.