I’m going to tell you something you already know!!
Women are bearing the brunt of the Covid Stress.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession have negatively affected many people’s mental health
Recent reports show that COVID-19 has socially, psychologically and economically affected women because of their primary caregiving roles as parents and family caregivers.
Many reports globally reporting women are 10% more likely to report symptoms of worry , stress, anxiety and depression
These reports show us that women are at increased risk for stress, burnout, and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. These negative outcomes are triggered by individual factors such as lack of social support; family status; organisational factors such high workload; and systems-level factors such as prevalence of COVID-19, rapidly changing public health guidelines, and a lack of recognition of the increased stressors.
The Signs of Stress
Poor food choices
Increased alcohol or substance use
Chromic anxiety and depression
Me and Covid Stress
Writing today’s blog is a very personal one ….because I am writing about me!
Me, Juls, the Women’s Wellness Coach, the therapist, the stress and sleep “expert”…. I am currently working my way back to health after recognising that I wasn’t coping.
When we closed The Body Retreat back in March after a weekend of tears and tantrums I came back to meet with Julie with a fighting spirit as we planned how The Body Retreat could survive this pandemic.
I have probably never worked as hard in my life those next couple of months as I designed, tested and delivered the Retreat@Home programme. It felt like I was doing something positive, taking control of a very shitty situation. We briefly reinstated the Healthy Hampers as a way of gaining some cash flow. Next we worked hard on planning how we would reopen retreats post lockdown. I was a very busy and productive woman.
Then, just after we reopened our residential retreats the wheels fell off.
I won’t bore you with all the details but suffice to say that my sleep started to become disturbed then disappear altogether, I started to obsessively watch the news, I could feel myself getting a few palpitations from time to time, I found it difficult to concentrate for any real length of time, my mood was deteriorating, I started to speak to friends less and less.
One morning I spent a long time looking at a bottle of vodka thinking how a couple of Vodka and orange would make me feel better… I pulled back from that but put the kettle on and had a chocolate bar and tea instead. I then went on to have chocolate and tea every day…so I put on almost a stone in weight.
The whole thing became a ghastly nightmare. It was a dark and scary time.
Fortunately for me I reached a point where I knew that I needed help.
I am now taking it one day at a time and I can feel myself regaining my strength.
How to cope with Covid Stress
Trust How You Feel
Pay attention to what you feel you need. If someone is telling you you’re wrong or trying to shame you by saying you’re not right that you “should” be doing more of this or less of that try to back off from that and take care of yourself.
You know yourself better than anyone, you know when things don’t feel right, when changes are going on too long. Be honest with yourself.
Stay Well Informed
It is important to understand what is going on in the world right now, ostrich behaviour will only prolong anxiety symptoms. However be choosey and balanced about your sources…. 24 hour news is not your friend.
Ask questions from professionals, trusted colleagues to keep as informed as possible, and look at valid and reliable websites, so you’re not ramping up your stress level due to false or misleading information.
Back of Social Media
Don’t get me wrong I do love social media but there is a real danger that you can fall into the comparison trap very quickly. As everyone presents their “best self” on their posts it can feel that you are the only one who isn’t coping. It’s a fallacy, if scrolling is starting to make you feel bad take a break.
A favourite breathing exercise that I share with clients is inhaling through the nose for a count of four, and then exhaling through the mouth for a count of six,…If counting is not your thing, that is okay. You just breath in to fully expand your tummy and then exhale longer than the inhale.
This exercise can help calm the nervous system, so you can relax and move on to the next task of the day
Don’t be ashamed to Get Help
There really is no shame in seeking help.
It might that you need help to understand how “the new normal” is going to affect your life, your finance, your career. It might be that you need to speak with your GP about exploring medication or therapy. It may be that you need to prioritise your physical health and join a gym or fitness class.
Remember …you know you better than anyone. SO back to point one… listen to how you feel and what you need and then trust yourself to act upon that in whatever way feels right for you.
How we might be able to Help
Stress doesn’t only impact your mental health …it has many implications for your physical health too. Very soon, as they all start to merge together it can be hard to differentiate.
I’m one of the lucky ones, I recognised what was happening and was able to get the support I needed. I can feel myself slowly regaining that sense of balance, my sleep is returning and so is my waistline.