There’s no denying that the pandemic has affected almost everyone in some way. Now that there is an end in sight, however, we are seeing a different sort of pandemic start to rise up – the mental health effects of COVID-19. Studies have already shown an increase in depression, stress, anxiety, and loneliness throughout the pandemic. Unfortunately, we’re just scratching the surface. It’s likely that the mental health effects will last for years to come. It’s also already been found that while the pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health, women have been hit the hardest. Why is that, and what should be done about it?
Let’s look at how COVID-19 is still affecting women, and why it’s so important to act now if you feel your own mental health is suffering due to the pandemic.
A Bigger Hit From the Job Market
It’s no secret that the pandemic impacted the American workforce. In April 2020, we saw the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression. Since then, some businesses have had to completely shut down. Others have cut back or had their employees work remotely.
Roughly 1.8 million men left the workforce during the pandemic, compared to 2.5 million women. This was largely due to women taking on more responsibilities at home since most kids across the country had to make the switch to remote learning and virtual school. Not only did that mean some families took a financial hit, but it could have affected the way many women view themselves, including their confidence and self-worth.
The Stress of Being at Home
Because more women left their jobs to stay home, the stress of a new family dynamic has taken its toll, too. For about a year, most parts of the country were told to stay home, social distance, and wear masks. Some people even had to quarantine for several weeks if they were exposed to COVID.
Because of that, families had to get used to being with each other 24/7. There were no sporting events to rush off to. There were no extracurricular activities to worry about, and it may have even been hard to connect with friends and other family members in person. That largely means no time for self-care or a “break” from reality. The stress of being at home and trying to get used to everything was undoubtedly overwhelming for some. Today, that stress is still impacting families, and women who have been dealing with the brunt of that change.
Dealing With Inequalities
If this pandemic has taught us anything about the imbalances within families, it’s that there are still many inequalities to address. You can see by the numbers that more women left their jobs to spend time at home than men. On top of that, the women who kept their jobs may have felt extra pressure to be the only “breadwinner” of the household. Unfortunately, income disparities are still very real. In many cases, women simply don’t make as much money as men, adding to that pressure and stress.
Thanks to the vaccine rollout, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel with this pandemic. But the added stress and anxiety associated with it can have a lasting impact, especially on women who feel like they’ve had to carry everything on their shoulders.
If you feel as though your mental health is suffering from the pandemic, you’re not alone. Feel free to contact me to set up an appointment. Together, we’ll work through the underlying cause(s) of why you’re struggling. Then, we’ll focus on getting on track so you can start to feel more like yourself again.