The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on women’s mental wellbeing, both at work and at home. Over 25% of women in the United States reported increases in stress, anxiety and other mental health challenges since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic; and 83% of women reported increased depression, compared to 36% of men.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is sharing expert insight from National Trainer Jen Cox on how women can help reduce stigma, build a culture of nonjudgmental listening and support community members that show signs of needing help.
The kate spade new york foundation believes that when a woman’s mental health is supported, she is able to make positive change for herself, her family and members of her community – including her coworkers. With this in mind, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing hosted a webinar series focused on four domains of wellbeing – life, mind, social and body – and exclusively for women, girls and those who support them in New York City and New Jersey.
We invite you to learn more about how to help empower women – yourself or others in your community – by viewing the recorded webinars below.
Life – Shifting Sands: Standing Tall Through Changes and Challenges
The trauma, grief and guilt brought on by the pandemic has greatly impacted our wellbeing. This webinar discusses the many effective ways to cope. For example:
Mind – Finding Your Flow
Languishing – the sense of stagnation and general blah we’ve all experienced over the past two years can be hard to bounce back from. Languishing can look like fatigue and burnout, apathy, feelings of detachment or loss of interest in passions and hobbies.
This webinar outlines a three-step plan for post-traumatic growth that allows you to move from languishing to flourishing – when you feel generally positive toward life, even when bad things are happening:
To put this plan into action, make a list for yourself of the things you want to leave behind (e.g., toxic relationships, daily commutes) and a list of things you want to keep (e.g., increased family time, working from home), then strategize how you can make it all happen.
Social – Please Hold: I am Connecting
This session focuses on how social isolation and loneliness impact our mental wellbeing. Loneliness is a common human emotion; it’s a subjective experience in which a person feels solitary. Social isolation on the other hand is the absence of social interactions, support structures and engagement with wider community activities. When people voluntarily isolate to support their wellbeing, it is referred to as solitude and can be a very positive thing. But involuntary isolation like what we’ve experienced as a result of the pandemic can be detrimental to our wellbeing if we don’t take care of ourselves.
A few warning signs of unhealthy social isolation include:
To combat loneliness, fill your cup with self-care strategies like these:
Body – Women Rising: From burnout to burning bright
While often discussed as a pair, stress and burnout are different experiences. While stress can cause over-engagement and hyperactive, urgent behavior, burnout causes disengagement, detachment and lack of productivity.
Women are 1.5 times as likely as men to suffer from burnout in the workplace and are more likely to develop physical and emotional symptoms of burnout. This disparity has many potential causes, including heavy workloads and gender exclusion in male-dominated industries, pay gaps and poor work environments.
Women can help limit this stress by prioritizing work-life balance, creating healthy work climates and taking advantage of the existing support structures at work and at home, participating in stress management programs, utilizing time off and mental health days – as well as encouraging those around you to do the same.
Remember: you are on a journey. It’s OK not to be OK.
To become a Mental Health First Aider, visit MHFA.org and schedule your training today. Thank you for choosing to #BeTheDifference!
Corporate Wellness Magazine. (n.d.). Workplace stress hits women harder than men. Corporate Wellness Magazine. https://www.corporatewellnessmagazine.com/article/workplace-stress-hits-women-harder-than-men
Grant, A. (2021, Dec. 3). There’s a name for the blah you’re feeling: it’s called languishing. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/19/well/mind/covid-mental-health-languishing.html#:~:text=Languishing%20is%20a%20sense%20of%20stagnation%20and%20emptiness.,it%20might%20be%20the%20dominant%20emotion%20of%202021.
Van Ness, M. (2021, April 1). COVID-19 and women’s mental health: the impact on wellbeing, disparities and future implications. Baylor University. https://www.baylor.edu/communityconnection/news.php?action=story&story=222809