Back in August of last year, I agreed to try my hand at writing an article for International Women’s Day for this newsletter. I was going to focus on “wellness.” As I sit here now, in the winter of 2021, reflecting on what “wellness” and International Women’s Day means to our many members and to me personally, I can’t escape all the ways that this pandemic has changed things for women, changed the world we experience, and changed for me in particular.
It has been one week since I have slept properly, and so it feels ironic to now be writing this article about “wellness.” I do not feel “well.” Anxiety comes right when I should be winding down, and instead of resting, my body and mind awaken and become impossible to turn off. I am tired all day, and alert all night, grabbing only a few fretful hours of sleep at a time. This is the second time during the pandemic that my anxieties have taken over the precious rest I need to push through. The second time that a whole week has gone by without good rest. If it is anything like the last time, this will go away soon, and I will get to rest again. Unlike so many others, I have been very lucky. The sleep has always come back eventually. It is comforting to know this won’t last forever.
It is also comforting to know that I am not alone.That many women in our profession, in our social groups, and in or communities are experiencing similar things. Many experiencing situations (both psychological and physical) that are much much worse. As just one example, the employment trends during this pandemic have shown that when re-openings and job gains have occurred after lockdowns and job losses, women were less likely to jump back into the work force (at least that is what happened last summer). Women shoulder more child-care responsibilities, are working fewer hours, and it’s projected and feared that the many gains women have made in the work force over decades will be erased by this pandemic, and difficult to re-capture. I am grateful I have my job – but so many others don’t, and worse - may not again soon. To say there are many people struggling is a profound understatement.