Women’s Work, Homes, and COVID: Adjusting to a New RealityMay 02, 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic has touched every single person in Canada and affected people in ways hitherto unimaginable. Not since the Spanish Flu outbreak of 19181 have peoples’ lives been altered in almost every conceivable way. Businesses were shuttered, cultural and sports events suspended, and many workplaces migrated from in-person to in-home.
With these unprecedented disruptions have come enormous tolls on peoples’ mental health. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) of Toronto has identified a number of groups that they consider vulnerable to mental health impacts arising from the pandemic. In their report,2 among the many groups mentioned, two stand out in particular: women, and those with children at home.
This likely is of no surprise, given all the stress that women face at home on a normal basis, never mind in the midst of a global pandemic. Home life for women, even those aged 60+, is often dominated by the likes of never-ending to do-lists, and pressures from partners and often, children.
Home life altered by COVID-19
With regards to the latter, an article from CityNews Vancouver published in 20203 reported that over 1.5 million Canadians moved back in with their parents or immediate family as a result of the pandemic (due to financial or other pressures). Another study reported that one-in-ten Canadians found their living situations altered due to the pandemic.4
And, add on top of this having to work at home, as many women have done during the pandemic. Statistics Canada states that a full third of women aged 55 to 64 worked from home through the outbreak.5
COVID’s impact on working professional women
All of this combines to make for a large disruption in life and routines. For many people, work is not just a place to perform and thrive, but to escape from the day-to-day ordinariness of home life. It’s a chance to spread one’s wings, and to have some needed time away, even from loved ones. COVID-19 upended that for countless professionals, and professional women, who made up the majority of those who worked from home. StatsCan reports that those working in finance, insurance, and professional, scientific and technical services constituted about 70% of those who worked from home.6
Professional working women were thus faced with a trifecta, perfect storm of forces beating down on them: from partners/spouses; from work; and oftentimes, from returning children. Learning to adjust and cope with these multiple pressures is a skill few women can afford to do without. Fortunately, there are ways to further those skills, with many opportunities online, and, offline.
Finding support during COVID-19
Growing a supportive social network of peers, female or male, is but just one way, and that’s why I created the social community platform Amintro. I’ve designed it specifically for those 50+ to network and grow. It’s so important that everyone, including professional women, get the support they need through these tumultuous times.
Amintro can give women (and men) the opportunity they need to grow a caring and supportive network of other women who understand the stresses they are going through, and at no cost to do so. And while it’s great to be able to talk to family or loved ones about they the pressures of work and life, and maybe even kids moving back home, sometimes it’s best to have the ear and care of an outside, third party. They can provide a new point of view, and can be a great source of empathy. And you can absolutely reciprocate, and be that person’s ear, and friend, too.
Tips for self-care during COVID-19
In addition to growing your social circle and support group, self-advocating throughout COVID is fundamental in protecting your spiritual, physical, and mental well-being. Still finding time to have time for yourself, partaking in that needed self-care will do wonders for your state of mind. Make sure to be mindful of these other things too:
- Ensuring enough good, quality sleep
- Eating a health diet with sufficient vegetables, whole grains, while being mindful of calcium and iron intake, and other vitamins/minerals essential for women’s health
- Getting exercise on a daily basis; walking in nature can do wonders for the mind and body
- Avoiding excess caffeine and alcohol, both of which are depressants
Working professional women have always had their hands full, and that’s only been exacerbated by the pandemic. Being in close quarters with family, spouse/partner, and perhaps even returning adult children, have only added to the burden. But know you’re not alone in any of this. Reach out, talk, make your voice heard, make a new friend, and be your own best advocate.
Together, we’ll get through this.
Written and contributed by Charlene Nadalin, Founder of Amintro. Amintro is the online social platform and information hub exclusively for those 50+ interested in expanding their circles of friends and staying involved, informed and connected. Another great thing about Amintro is that it’s FREE and easy to join! To learn more about Amintro, please visit https://amintro.com/
- Encyclopedia Britannica, Influenza pandemic of 1918-19.
- Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Mental Health in Canada: Covid-19 and Beyond, CAMH Policy Advice, July 2020.
- CityNews Vancouver, 1.5 million Canadians moving back in with their parents, immediate family due to pandemic, July 26, 2020.
- Canadian Mortgage Professional, Study estimates over 2 million Canadians have moved home because of COVID-19, August 17, 2020.
- Statistics Canada, Table 1: Percentage of workers working from home, by selected characteristics, April 2020 to June 2021.
- Statistics Canada, the Daily, Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, April 2020 to June 2021, August 4, 2021.
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