A lot has changed in the months since Donald Trump was sworn into office, both on a political level and a personal one. Bustle’s State of Our Unions series looks at how millennial women's relationships with their friends, family members, and romantic partners have been affected since the 2016 election. Today's topic: millennial women on how they're coping now that Trump is president.
Between our Facebook and Twitter feeds — not to mention the news and constant push notifications — it's hard to escape hearing about what Trump is doing every second of every day. Some people are de-friending actual friends, while others are taking a break from Facebook altogether. Overall, many people seem much more stressed out than comforted by social media.
"We're constantly bombarded by the same news story told from 20 different angles, which can make it seem more critical and dire than it is," Licensed Psychologist Erika Martinez, Psy.D.* tells Bustle. "Instead, consider the sources through which you get your news. Do some make you more anxious? If so, eliminate those outlets and identify three to four reputable news sources (whether print, TV, or online) that don't trigger as much worry in you." *Editor's note: Erika Martinez, Psy.D. remains politically neutral and offers advice as a mental health professional.
In addition to consuming news more mindfully, there are many different strategies that millennial women are using to cope with Trump as president. Read on for a few techniques that people have been using, and that you might be inspired to use yourself.
I moved to Canada. Technically, I was already moving there for family reasons, but good timing, eh?
1. Watching a lot less news (specifically Fox) — it's too heavy, and I find it really draining. I'm even trying to cut back on Twitter, too. 2. Really trying to take "me" time — the gym, meditating (using the Calm app religiously), and making sure mental health is utmost.
I am an immigration attorney, so this inauguration took a toll on all of us in the office (my coworkers' ages range from 28 to 36). Wine and yoga help put things in perspective. And the conviction that we are fighting for American rights above all helps to ease the pain of watching the decay of American democracy.
The fact that the 45th president's inauguration is seen as something to "cope" with is unbelievable, but I understand why. As a young Black woman, this country has become even scarier than before. Therefore, to cope, I have decided to resist. Before you think resisting means rioting and protesting, my way of resisting is more than that. I am resisting by refusing to fold under pressure and not sitting back as rights and safety are being stripped from Americans. Resisting also includes increasing my knowledge on rights and laws to share with my peers. So, that is how I cope, refusing to "go with the flow," questioning everything, and holding my head high.
To be honest, I've had to limit my news consumption since the election and inauguration. I used to watch the local news every morning, but now I skim daily newsletters and social media sites, such as Twitter, to stay abreast of current events and read longer articles once I'm in a mindset to take in what's going on. Truthfully, I cannot stand the sight of Trump's face or sound of his voice, so I try to avoid it as much as possible. I know it may seem a bit drastic or dramatic, but I need to guard my energy. I've also started meditating more regularly.
I try my best to stay informed without dwelling over the sensationalized news cycle. I think it is important to remain focused on staying forward-thinking, the way we did before we had a new president. It is even more crucial now to be proactive about personal health and wellness, educating others, and trying to be a positive influence within my own community.
When the Trump train comes barreling through my social feeds, I tend to scroll past his debauchery, put my phone down, and remind myself that while he may be ruining everything in the present, his regressive actions can and will be undone by the resilient leaders of my generation. I have full faith that my generation will change the future for the better, particularly in the political sphere. We are far too self-aware and educated as a generation to let these unethical atrocities keep occurring due to politicians serving themselves over [the needs of] the greater population. The best way for me to press reset on the political stresses of the day is to reflect on how I can change my surroundings and reality for a better me — whether it's logging off for a few hours and getting outside, visiting with close friends, or sitting down and educating myself on a topic I'm unfamiliar with and improving my ability and capacity to do better.
Marching, writing letters, calling public officials, and sharing on Facebook are just a few of the ways that I have made it clear that I do not approve of the current political climate. I blog and am also a professional working in a school setting; as a result of the latter, I am far too aware of how high the stakes are. All of these coping methods are great, but my favorite one so far has been joining a local Facebook group called "Feminist Moms Raising Feminist Babies."
I reach out to my senators and representatives, I contribute to organizations on the front lines, I share information that feels right to me. It's a time to mobilize and for everyone to do their part to help change what wasn't working with our political structure. That's what has helped me cope through these uncertain times.
I try to cope by filtering my news whenever I go on social media. Anything regarding the Trump administration is too disappointing to read about.
Now more than ever, I join the marches, I advocate for causes that are not getting enough attention through seminars and my blog, and I focus on my local community. The presidency is temporary, but the viewpoints and values that brought [Trump] that title are longstanding. This is why women get grabbed as if their bodies do not belong to them, why rapists can get away with only a few months in jail, why women make less than men for doing the same job. I cope by educating and advocating as much as possible, working toward a grassroots movement for true equality.
The day that Trump took office was the day that my eyes finally opened to politics. When I was 18, I registered as an Independent, voted in the presidential elections, but didn't really think about politics aside from that. Even when Trump was running, I genuinely didn't think he stood any sort of chance against other candidates, and was floored when he won the election.
Now, I cope by staying as informed as possible. I follow political news as much as I can, voice my opinion about causes that I stand behind, and try to understand those who oppose what I believe in. I come from a town that is mostly Republican, and many people that I grew up around are Trump supporters. Talking to these people about why they voted for Trump in a non-confrontational way creates an open dialogue, which is what could possibly stop this kind of election turn-out from happening again. I took the time to be sad, angry, and disappointed. Now, I want to focus on how I can do my part to look forward and foster understanding, education, and openness.
I'm a college student who works and goes to school fully online, so I often don't have friends around for a support group. So, in an effort not to get too worked up over political news, I typically choose to get my daily update in small doses from Twitter or via memes, but sometimes even that's too much. The best way I know to cope is to listen to music — not so much to escape my worries, but rather to inspire myself to keep pushing. As I try to find a silver lining in everything, I think hard times can lead to great art, and sometimes my favorite artists or bands can say the words I've been dying to say for me. Taking the news in stride and letting myself plug into (occasionally rebellious) tunes is the best way I know how to cope in these times.
It seems like many people agree that unplugging from technology has been an effective way to cope with this administration, but so is also getting active, and engaging more.
"Find causes that you care about and participate in organizations that support them," Dr. Martinez says. "Write and call your local, state, and federal representatives. Let them know about the issues you care about and why you care. They are your representatives after all."
Nikki Leigh, love coach and host of Ready for Love Radio, has similar advice. "I highly recommend limiting your time on social media," she tells Bustle. "If you check your Facebook timeline and start complaining or commiserating, it will certainly make you feel worse."
Actions may speak louder than words, after all.