Think you could go without your smartphone for 24 hours? The yearly challenge starts Friday

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March 2, 2022

We are so used to using our phone for everything. It is our map, calendar, camera and messaging lifeline.

Even the thought of going without it for a few minutes is painful.

But every year, the National Day of Unplugging challenges us to do just that – 24 hours without screentime.

The problem is, we’ve gotten so used to relying on our screens – especially over the past two years.

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“Some people are experiencing depression… anxiety, isolation, because they’ve become accustomed to spending so much time online and communicating online,” said Kim Cavallo, who runs National Day of Unplugging, which is now in its 13th year.

“We just want everyone to elevate human connection over digital engagement over those 24 hours,” said Cavallo.

The challenge runs from sundown March 4 to sundown March 5, 2022.

The idea is to put your phone, tablet, and computer away so you can focus less on social media and scrolling and more on the people and things in your life that make us feel real.

The National Day of Unplugging website has a list of over two hundred activities you can use to ease your mind.

“Anything from painting rocks with positive messages… or going on a nature scavenger hunt,” said Cavallo.

Of course, putting the screens down is not always easy – especially for kids.

“We have this technology, we have to use for good…we have to figure out what’s healthy what’s unhealthy and teach our kids to do the same,” said Dr. Tracy Dennis-Tiwary, a psychologist and advisor to The National Day of Unplugging.

“So when we’re using screens it’s crucial to think about what is it keeping us from doing that is a part of a full and healthy and active life,” said Dr. Dennis-Tiwary.

The benefits of swapping screentime for actual facetime have long been documented: better mood, better sleep, and even better posture.

“I think it goes to your physical and mental health all the way to your relationships with your family,” concluded Cavallo.

I participated in the event last year and gave up my phone for a full 24 hours. It was definitely a challenge, but well worth it. You have no idea how many times you reach for your phone, not just to check messages, but to look things up, check something quick and just otherwise mindlessly scroll.

My advice: plan ahead – including lots of activities – to help you get through the day and accomplish a challenge our great-grandparents would laugh at.

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