*Post by Emily Graham
While most people would argue that the pandemic is in its dying stages, the coronavirus crisis has had a profound and lingering effect on women. Not only did lockdowns disproportionately affect industries dominated by women, but school closings meant that the women who were still employed had to find a way to care for children while also earning an income.
Today, thisisyourbestyear shares a few ways that COVID continues to affect women and offers hope and advice on how to reclaim your health, income, and confidence as we move forward.
The Lingering Effects Of COVID-19 On Women
According to the US Global Leadership Coalition, women globally lost more than $800 billion in income in 2020 alone. While many women have gone back to work, others continue to struggle to find balance in a world where things can change in an instant. Negative effects of the pandemic on women go beyond income and include:
- Females were more likely to drop out of school during the height of the pandemic
- Low-income women may have lost access to free contraceptive services
- More than 245 million women of childbearing age were physically or sexually abused in 2020
- Couples in their 50s and beyond are more likely to divorce now more than ever, a trend triggered by the pandemic
None of this even begins to address the psychological impact of living through a pandemic. Baylor University Reports that post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression, and anxiety have skyrocketed among women since the start of the crisis.
Improving Your Income
If you are a woman still trying to reclaim your income after the worst of the pandemic, you may still be struggling for ideas on how to get back on solid ground. Fortunately, there are many ways that you might be able to improve your financial position now. These include babysitting, cleaning houses, and even starting your own business, none of which require a huge investment.
When you choose to jump into the world of entrepreneurship, take the time to get prepared before you become a full-fledged business. This might mean establishing your business structure or investing in the best accounting software available to help you organize your receipts, invoices, and other Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable documents for tax time. An easy-to-use accounting program will help you lay a solid financial foundation for your business so that you can be a more effective entrepreneur.
You can also use your accounting software to help you look for areas where you can save money that you can then funnel back into your business. One idea here is to implement a social media marketing plan so that you can capture your share of the market. Remember, marketing is how you get your business in front of your potential customers, and doing so effectively will help you grow sustainably so that you can weather the next major global crisis without fear of losing your income again.
Reclaiming Your Health
Even if you have yet to contract the virus, you may have found that the pandemic impacted your health. The American Psychological Association reports that more than four out of 10 adults reported weight gain of 29 pounds or more. This is due to a sudden change in our health habits, including overeating and missing out on sleep.
An obvious first step here is to evaluate your diet. If you’ve been relying on drive-through foods for the last two years, stop. Cooking at home – you can cook your favorite take-out meals with fewer calories and preservatives – is healthier, less expensive, and more convenient. Snacking is also a problem for people working from home, and many of us keep office snacks handy so that we don’t have to leave our desks when we are hungry. Instead of chips or crackers, keep air-popped popcorn nearby, which is a high-fiber, whole-grain snack that gets a thumbs up from the American Heart Association.
One positive impact that the pandemic had on people’s health was that it encouraged us to get outside more. If you have yet to hop on this trend, plan to take a walk every day after work. Time outdoors is linked to both better physical and mental health.
Regaining Your Confidence
If you’ve not realized it already, another major way that the pandemic likely influenced you over the last 2 ½ years is in your interactions with people outside of your immediate family. We have become conditioned to maintain distance from strangers, and this can take away from the “friendly” feel of doing simple activities, like going to the grocery store or visiting the gym.
Before you head out the door each day to resume “normal” activities, try to let go of self-doubt. While you’re driving to the store, for example, tell yourself two or three positive things about you. You should also avoid comparing yourself to others when you’re in a crowd. If you’re still masking, don’t feel ashamed just because others are not. Likewise, if you’ve dropped facial coverings altogether, be kind to those who are still taking extra measures to protect themselves. Remember, we are all in this together, and judging others only puts stress on you.
Huffington Post UK also recommends practicing deep breathing and giving yourself new confidence-boosting challenges as ways to reclaim the confidence that the pandemic may have taken from you. It can also help to keep in mind that everyone else around you is also re-learning this new world and is proceeding cautiously when getting back to normal after more than two years of living anything but.
The COVID-19 pandemic showed that, globally, the world has much to do to ensure female equality. However, it is ultimately up to us as women to take control of our own lives, despite whatever obstacles are put in our way. Whether this means starting a business so you no longer have to worry about layoffs or simply relearning how to hold your head high in public, every day is a new opportunity to move beyond setbacks and move out of the pandemic with a whole heart and a healthy body.
Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–be safe out there.
*Emily Graham is the creator of Mighty Moms. She believes being a mom is one of the hardest jobs around and wanted to create a support system for moms from all walks of life. On her site, she offers a wide range of info tailored for busy moms — from how to reduce stress to creative ways to spend time together as a family.
Images via Pexels.