As the results of the election were rolling in on the night of Nov. 8, I felt nothing but panic. I was refreshing my Twitter feed for relatable tweets to validate my emotions. As dramatic as it sounds, watching Trump leading in the polls had me crying for hours. It was one in the morning, I needed to sleep since I wanted to wake up for Fajr prayer and I had class the next day.
Eventually I woke up at 5 A.M. and checked my Twitter—celebrities encouraged the minority groups victimized by Trump to be strong and others tweeted their frustration, including me. Then after school, I could not put my phone down. All I did was refresh, refresh and refresh my feed although it was filled with nothing but negativity. I got bored and that’s when I decided to delete the social media apps off of my phone. No, I was not done with social media for good. I just needed a break until this chaos died down.
It’s really hard to put your phone down, so I would advise taking baby steps while limiting yourself without getting too comfortable. The only exceptions I made were texting, group messaging, and WhatsApp, meant only for discussions that don’t have to do with the election. If someone does bring up the election, just change the subject. Call me a hypocrite, but just because I’m off social media for a while doesn’t mean I can’t communicate. After all, this was my first step.
I asked my best friends how I could make the most out of my social media break. We came up with studying, taking care of mental and physical health and finding unplugged activities, all the while being productive. A great friend of mine who checked in on me invited me to a group chat with her friends that serves to discuss intersectional feminism and, for once, didn’t call for a mass migration to Canada. One of my colleagues even introduced me to a group chat with Islamic reminders in a positive and supporting setting. Through these forms of communication, I found my purpose for this break: A positive outlook during this difficult time.
Deleting the applications off of my phone caused me to unglue myself from its screen. I feel accomplished when I properly planned my day and stuck to it. One of my best friends even reminded me that it’s better to be productive instead of “draining hours watching someone else be productive” although “at most times people are only sharing their highlights making it seem like they are perfect when they aren’t.”
Going back to the election, obviously hate won. How did we Americans react? With more hate. We blamed races, non-voters, green party voters, etc. How can you say “Love trumps hate,” but in reality you act like it’s the other way around? Yes, it’s okay to be sad, angry or scared. You are entitled to your emotions. Let the entire world know that with a hashtag. However, at the end of the day, this is politics. You cannot afford to feel that way for the next four years. Social media might not fulfill that, especially during this difficult time. What should actually matter is taking care and working hard for yourself. That will always be more important.
If you need ideas on how to cope after the election, check out this listicle.