The COVID‑19 pandemic has created a profound shock worldwide, with different implications for men and women. Women are serving on the frontlines against COVID‑19, and the impact of the crisis on women is stark. Women face compounding burdens: they are over-represented working in health systems, and continue to do the majority of unpaid care work in households, face high risks of economic insecurity (both today and tomorrow), and tend to face increased risks of violence, exploitation, abuse, or harassment during times of crisis and quarantine. The pandemic has and will continue to impact the health and well-being of many vulnerable groups according to (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2020).
Because women, in particular, are among those most heavily affected, it is necessary to learn about coping up with these troubled times. Mental sanity is the need of the hour. Women – who are at the forefront of this fight against the Virus are most susceptible to physical and emotional stress. And with age, managing the stress levels becomes a dreaded task.
Read about the ways that will help you cope with the current situation. And remember – we’re all in this TOGETHER.
Stay physically safe from the Virus:
In this case, safety behaviors (physical distancing and hand-washing) which decrease transmission of the COVID-19 Virus, are also an integral part of anxiety management. Stay home when you can. When outside the home, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
To help us make thorough hand-washing a new habit, try this: “Wash as if you just chopped up a jalapeno pepper (without gloves).” Do not forget the sides of every finger, the back of hands, palms, creases and nail beds, and the back of nails. Wash for at least 20 seconds – as long as it takes you to silently hum the Alphabet Song, Happy Birthday, or recite the Loving Kindness Prayer. If you are a speedy hummer, say it twice.
Limit media to reduce anxiety:
You may have heard this recommendation many times, and there is research behind it: Watching or scrolling through the media makes us even more anxious. An excess of news and visual images about a traumatic event can create symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and poor health years later, according to research by UC Irvine’s Roxy Silver, Ph.D., and others.
Try to limit COVID-19 media exposure to no more than twice a day (e.g., checking for updates in the morning and before dinner) and avoid reading about COVID-19 before bedtime. Do not forward (and thus propagate) alarming headlines to friends and family.
The media often creates an exaggerated impression of global panic. The reality emerging from research data in Seattle, an epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., is that most people are dealing with this very well and rising to help others.
Get and provide warm, comforting, social support by video, phone, or text:
It is critical! Taking time to share your feelings and to listen and support others will go a long way. Talking with others who have our best interests at heart makes us feel safe. Use phone, video, text, or email. Fortunately, these new highways of social contact are unlimited resources. More than just providing social support about the current crisis, it is a good idea to use these connections to talk about the things you normally would – host your book club online, for example – which can create feelings of connectedness. Host a dinner using FaceTime or Zoom so you can talk while you eat (and talk about some positive things, not just this crisis). Loving and caring for our pets can be a phenomenal stress reduction for us too!
Social distancing – is a misnomer. It is physical distancing while we work hard to stay socially connected. Let us switch to that phrase!
Find ways of expressing kindness, patience, and compassion:
But more importantly, be extra kind to yourself. It is a hard time for everyone. Humans across the world are sharing this experience with you. We are all in this together, and we may all emerge with a renewed appreciation for our interconnectedness. And, it is in this spirit that I as CEO and founder of 50plusshadesofus, use this platform to Shine a Light on everyday people like us – doing extraordinary things. So, helping others in need is critical to getting through this. Not only is it fulfilling and good for our well-being, but it will also give us a sense of purpose!