About 33% of women have experienced increased anxiety since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Household pulse survey.
As the world continues to change rapidly, surveys like this help us understand how people feel in the workplace and in their personal lives today.
They also show us how we can help.
Not surprisingly, women experience increased stress.
In the United States, women do “an average of four hours of unpaid work per day, compared to two and a half hours for men … in addition to their full-time work,” according to a recent article. The New York Times.
After more than a year of living and working in a global pandemic, a year of back-to-back Zoom meetings or living with constant apprehension as a frontline worker, a year of balancing virtual school with daily household chores with your own work, it’s more important than ever to slow down and take the time that we need so much for ourselves.
Mental health is just as important as physical health.
Brigid Schulte, author of “Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time,” points out, “When you’re cheerful, happy, and in a positive mood, you’re actually more productive and innovative. Creativity triples and your productive energy increases by 31%. “
But how do you find joy? Schulte recommends finding a real leisure time.
Do not take your work with you on a trip. Don’t accept the idea that “occupation” buys you status.
“It’s in those times… when you have long uninterrupted stretches… that you can see outside the box and make connections that you might not otherwise have,” Schulte writes.
Taking inspiration from Schulte, here are some steps we can take to find joy and feel better mentally.
Start a time log
COVID-19 has disrupted most of our routines. You may have increased childcare responsibilities or you may be looking after a parent. Perhaps you changed jobs or moved because of the pandemic.
You’ve probably spent a lot of time with just a few people. And you probably feel more attached to work when it’s always a wrench.
To reassess work-life balance, add a time log. Track when you work and when you play. Play and relaxation increase oxytocin – the happiness hormone – and dopamine, which helps you clear brain fog.
Try to commit to making time for yourself each day, whether it’s a hot bath or extra time outdoors with the family.
Walking to work
How can I walk to work if I am working from home? Good question.
Reframing your morning walk as a walk to work helps reduce any guilt you might feel about taking that morning time for yourself. A walk, with its dose of fresh air and sun, will help you start your day on the right foot.
Learn a new skill
Adding something new to your already busy life seems a little silly. We know. But remember when everyone on your social media feed simultaneously learned how to leaven on the first lockdown?
Cooking lowers stress levels and helps your day – then dinner is served!
Isn’t cooking your thing? The key is to find something that interests you. Something where you can start small. A few minutes a day of reading, gardening, or yoga can help improve work-life balance.
The key to take away? Finding time for the things that bring you joy creates a physiological response that will help you feel less anxious and ultimately be more productive.
So sip your coffee on your back patio. You deserved it.