Women and the pandemic: finding work-life balance and mitigating the damage

Los Angeles, June 01, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Women are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis – in both the workplace and at home, according to a study conducted by McKinsey & Company. Maintaining work-life balance has always been challenging, but it’s been made even more difficult by the pandemic, explains Dr. Michele Nealon, licensed psychologist and president of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

“Women often carry a disproportionate burden in the workplace. This is in terms of both physical workload and emotional labor,” said Dr. Nealon. “It’s usually the same at home. All of this means that when the most impactful global health crisis of our generation hit, disparities increased, as did women’s stress.”

When the pandemic forced Americans home to work and learn, women took on a greater share of responsibilities, including facilitating online learning for their children, and taking care of household duties. The McKinsey study also found that during the pandemic, women were most likely to feel pressure to work more, and to consistently feel burnout and exhaustion.

“It is particularly difficult to find work-life balance during this time, but women must be intentional about achieving it,” said Dr. Nealon. “The alternative leads to overstress, burnout and an undermining of our physical and emotional health. The goal is not to achieve perfect balance, but to actively and continually cultivate healthy work-life balance.”

Dr. Nealon offers the following advice for help in creating work-life balance.

Change your mindset. Recognize that no one is perfect, and be okay with doing your best with your given resources. Know that if you always think you’re not being productive enough, you’re likely underestimating your level of productivity. Finally, when you make mistakes, don’t belabor them. Forgive yourself.

Share the workload. You can’t do everything and be all things to everyone. Ask for help and share the workload.

Set boundaries. Determine what you can and can’t do, will and won’t do. Establishing boundaries and sticking to them lessens the possibility of becoming overburdened.

Make room for flexibility. When creating your schedule or ordering your tasks, give yourself room for flexibility. Structure doesn’t negate flexibility.

Engage in self-care. Be intentional and do things that are just for you, or that relax you or take you away from your responsibilities.

“Prior to the pandemic, many women in the workforce often felt they worked two shifts – one at work, and one at home. There was still a need to create work-life balance. It’s just more urgent now,” said Dr. Nealon.

For resources on mental and behavioral health, go to http://www.thechicagoschool.edu/insight/.

About The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Integrating theory with hands-on experience, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology provides education rooted in a commitment to innovation, service, and community for thousands of diverse students across the United States and globally. Founded in 1979, the nonprofit, regionally accredited university now features campuses in iconic locations across the country (Chicago, Southern California, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Dallas) and online. To spark positive change in the world where it matters most, The Chicago School has continued to expand its educational offerings beyond the field of psychology to offer more than 35 degrees and certificates in the professional fields of health services, nursing, education, counseling, business, and more. Through its engaged professional model of education, commitment to diversity and inclusion, and an extensive network of domestic and international professional partnerships, The Chicago School’s students receive real-world training opportunities that reflect their future careers. The Chicago School is also a proud affiliate of TCS, a nonprofit system of colleges advancing student success and community impact. To learn more, visit www.thechicagoschool.edu.

CONTACT: Lisa Riley
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
(312) 646.9130