The Covid Pandemic has created an extra 6 hours per day of work in the home for households dealing with children, social isolation and school closures.
Of those 6 hours, 4 hours are being done by women, and 2 by their male partners.*
But, we know there is more to it.
We are not just complaining about the extra workload, our experience runs deeper and has broader implications for our confidence and our sense of belonging in a very uncertain world.
A Crisis Of Confidence is currently sweeping the world and it’s clear that women, in particular, are carrying a heavy load of self-doubt as a result. Our normal roles and responsibilities have shifted, our outlets for stress management and social support have been taken away and we have lost our access to the things that anchor us to our identity.
Prior to 2020, many of us had a pretty good understanding of who we were and where we fitted into the world. Our roles were relatively clear – we were partners, wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, confidantes, leaders, professionals and mentors. We enjoyed the security of knowing our place in the world, especially when we had a choice about those places. We knew that day to day, month to month, there was a level of predictability in the expectations of us and the way we needed to show up for those around us.
But then this shifted.
Some of us lost jobs, many of us lost opportunities and any form of certainty about the future. Many women needed to pivot or completely back-flip professionally and many of us needed to step up for home-schooling and additional parenting responsibilities. For many of us, our understanding and expectation of who we are moved from one of clarity to one of confusion.
Before Covid, we knew what we needed to do in order to maintain balance and to nurture our mental health. We had access to our gyms, pools, massages, cafes, clubs, churches and support systems. We knew that if things got too tough during the week, we could meet our girlfriends for a coffee/cocktail/walk on the weekend to let off steam, debrief and decompress. We had access to regular ‘pressure valves’ to make sure our stress levels didn’t build to the point of explosion.
But then, this was taken away.
Not only is uncertainty fuel for anxiety, added to this, we have a lack of access to our normal stress management strategies. Every week, I talk to women who have reached their limit when it comes to coping and being the dependable lunch-pins of their families. There is an overwhelming sense that we have used up all our reserves and depending on which Aussie state we live in, our access to pressure values ranges from zero to average.
Prior to Covid, many women had a strong sense of professional identity, a core part of their sense of self was securely anchored to their careers, volunteer efforts or community contribution. When asked what they did outside the home, it was easy to say “I’m a …..”
But now, this has become blurred.
Whilst some women have kept their jobs, they may be working remotely or in a reduced capacity. Other women have lost their jobs completely. Professional dreams and goals have been put on hold or even squashed, as we are forced to adapt to a new career landscape that is less about empowerment and more about survival.
So, How Are YOU Going?
I wonder if any of these changes feel familiar to you:
- You doubt yourself in areas that you’d typically sail through
- You are making less effort to ‘show up’ and present yourself in a positive way. As a result, your personal brand is suffering
- Your world view and vision for the future have shrunk and you are thinking too small
- You’ve started defining yourself by lower standards – suddenly making your bed deserves a high five!
- You are questioning the validity of your previous goals – Can I really do this? Do I really deserve it?
- You’re less likely to take risks and being overly cautious
- You don’t trust your judgement the way you used too, you feel rusty in your decision making
- Everything feels uncertain so you’re thinking small about your career and relationships
- It’s like you’re constantly in survival mode, doing what you can to stay healthy and keep your family safe, with little room for YOU TIME
If any of these changes are playing out in your life, you may be experiencing the Corona Crisis Of Confidence. Over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing tips and advice for managing this and very soon, you’ll have the opportunity to access my free mini-course called BACK TO ME which will help you re-boot your confidence and get back to yourSELF.
* (Research by Professor Lyn Craig and Brendan Churchill, University of Melbourne. Sample of 2000 households, heterosexual nuclear families)