Reducing women’s stress and burnout in a pandemic-influenced world

woman smilingThe past two years have been stressful on everyone, but the pandemic has placed unique stress on women as many found their dual roles as caregivers and professionals upended.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the adult women’s employment rate hit its lowest point since 1988. That translates to a loss of 2.3 million women who were no longer working or looking for work. Much of this shift is attributable to women being the ones in a family who left jobs or cut back on hours in order to care for children and loved ones.

As a result of this shift, many have felt stresses of trying to navigate career goals with the parental desire to be the caregiving glue of the family. This has led to increased reports of burnout and use of substances such as alcohol as they try to cope with pandemic life.

“Women have been juggling many labels and duties for a long time,” said Rosecrance Regional President Carlene Cardosi. “With the pandemic, it has been very hard for us to balance the extra tasks of caring for children learning at home while we have been working from home, on top of our daily lives. Women are super-social, but it has been hard to stay connected, and that is taking a toll on us.”

While everyone copes with stress differently, burnout is a natural sign that someone needs help. Warning signs may include: Exhaustion, feelings of hopelessness or uselessness, an unusually cynical attitude toward life, or difficulty sleeping.

If you are feeling stressed out, Rosecrance experts suggest several ways to relieve the pressure:

  • Re-prioritize your activities and responsibilities. Remove ones that don’t need your attention. This will help give you the needed margin to handle the most important things.
  • Prioritize you. Intentionally make time to read, relax, meditate, or do other activities that refresh your mind, body, and spirit.
  • Connect with friends who can help carry your burden. Find ways to intentionally be with a few trusted supporters with whom you can be “you.” Vulnerability in the tough times will develop strength to face challenges.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek help. There is no shame in calling a religious leader or a professional counselor. Rosecrance’s caring counselors would love to walk with you on the journey.

“Deep down, we all know when we hit the breaking point and things need to change,” Cardosi said. “Know that you are important and worthy enough to make changes. Any of us could be in that situation where we just need some help to rediscover the best person we can be.”

Rosecrance offers specialized treatment for women that enables women to take the first steps in recovery together with a supportive group of peers and staff. Rosecrance Jackson Centers in Sioux City, Iowa, also offers residential treatment for women with children so that women can stay united with their families. If you are interested in treatment for yourself or a loved one, please call 888.928.5278.