Social media is not worth the stress

Kayla Miller

I watched as the icon bounced up and down on the screen of my iPhone. I took a deep breath and deleted my Facebook app.

This presidential election has been stressful, and when everyone’s opinions and the actions of the candidates are the only thing filling our social media, it can be easy to get a little—maybe massively— stressed out.

As a newspaper editor, it is my job to follow and write the news. It is part of my job to keep up with the election, watch all the debates, and read as much as I can to stay educated on the campaigns and the current events surrounding them. With this comes stress, loads and loads of stress—more loads than the amount of laundry I have to do in a week.

I noticed that politics, or the latest Trump stunt, was dominating conversations with my friends, my Facebook feed and my thoughts. And while it’s important to stay educated and in tune with social and political issues, the effects of watching, probably one of the most heated elections as closely as social media allows us to, can be detrimental to our mental and sometimes physical health.

Getting updates by the hour on that day’s stunts of the candidates and talking about the latest debate made my blood pressure skyrocket, and instead of enjoying casual conversation over muffins with a few friends, I spent my evening yelling about the 2005 hot mic incident.

In this moment, watching myself get so worked up over the treatment of women in today’s society (and apparently some locker rooms), I realized my friends agreed. I wasn’t in an argument, they were nodding along to my angry rant. But yet, I still felt the need to yell, and I knew something had to give.

Social media in an election year is no longer about who just got engaged or your friend’s hike up Sugarloaf. It evolved into this monstrous animal consisting of arguing, name calling, hate speech and realizations that our small hometowns just might be racist after all.

And when it comes down to it, arguing with your family over social media about Trump’s sexist remarks, Clinton’s emails or if voting third party really is throwing away your vote, shouldn’t consume your time, energy or thoughts.

My cellphone is always within feet of me. I am guilty of picking up my phone and scrolling through social media every time I have the chance. To be honest, I’ve checked Instagram about seven times while writing this. And it’s true that what we allow into our minds will ultimately affect how we feel. So I did it. I deleted my Facebook app.

Yes, I still occasionally check the endless feed of news articles with the faces of Trump and Clinton all over them, but I do it so much less often, only when I’m in front of a computer.

With no instant access to the political jungle of 2016, I have found my days to be a little less stressful.