Navigating Work and Family Life as a Woman During the COVID Pandemic
December 21, 2021
Women have always faced intense pressure to prove themselves and prioritize the needs of others. While it may be more latent these days, the burden is still very much alive.
“I really do think that it’s worth recognizing that we still, in many ways, live in a patriarchal society,” says Blair Bishop, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. “A lot of us have internalized that we’re supposed to be the perfect worker, the perfect caretaker to our aging parents, the perfect housewife, the perfect mom.”
Working mothers can get the brunt of this, but all women feel it to some extent. And the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated long-standing gender-based adversity. Nearly two years into this global event, women continue to navigate increasing demands at work and at home.
Blair joins us on this episode of Deal Us In to discuss how women can tune into their needs and learn to ask for help during this time. She shares advice for handling relationship conflict at home, accepting our imperfections, and expressing personal feelings in the workplace.
On this episode, Blair also talks about knowing when to apologize and gives tangible suggestions for embracing self-compassion.
Name: Blair Bishop
What she does: Blair is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles who specializes in guiding teens and twenty-somethings through the challenges of young adult life.
Where to find Blair: LinkedIn
Top takeaways from this episode
Address the problem, not the person — If your relationships have suffered as a result of pandemic-induced stresses, adopt a “me versus the problem” mindset. Whether you’re butting heads with a partner or a colleague, you’ll be more likely to reach a mutual agreement if you stay open-minded and compassionate.
Give yourself permission to mess up (and admit it) — Accepting your mistakes, and owning up to them, are important components of self-empathy. When you let go of the need to be right, you can more easily connect with others and resolve conflicts.
The world still puts extra pressure on women — Cut yourself some slack if you feel anxious about keeping all of your proverbial balls in the air. Most women have internalized the unfair societal message that says we must be perfect in all areas of our lives.
[02:31] Shift your mindset when it comes to conflict: Relationships at home and work can — and will! — result in conflict sometimes. Since parents have been experiencing extra stress during the pandemic, couples with kids may be especially prone to it right now. Blair recommends getting curious about a problem together, rather than resorting to blame.
[06:55] Rupture and repair: Look at your relationship as the balancing of three entities: you, your partner, and the relationship. Things will go off-kilter, but Blair says knowing when to apologize will help you “get it right,” instead of holding onto the need to be right.
[9:45] Prioritize self-care: During such stressful times, Blair says it’s particularly important to pay attention to your own needs. Self-care can look different for everyone, but it’s crucial to figure out what works for you.
[11:22] Try acceptance and commitment: If you’re overwhelmed — a perfectly valid feeling –– use Blair’s mental model of acceptance and commitment. Accept your stressors for what they are, then identify small commitments you can make to yourself each day.
[16:51] Your body informs your mind: Mental health professionals used to think the body and mind were completely separate entities, but it’s now clear that they couldn’t be more connected. Powerful physical techniques — like practicing deep breathing or adopting a power stance — can positively impact your mental health.
[18:05] Be human at work: In a professional setting, some women avoid addressing their feelings for fear of coming across as weak. But work relationships are human relationships, too. Even if it feels taboo, try using an “I feel” statement next time you’re having one of those days.
[22:30] Take it easy on yourself: It’s reasonable to feel overwhelmed when juggling work and family life, especially if you’re a working mother. Moreover, you might judge yourself for having that feeling. Blair reminds us to treat ourselves as we would treat another woman going through the same things. Try five- or 10-minute self-compassion meditations using an app like Insight Timer.
[25:50] The patriarchy is still real: Though strides have certainly been made for women, there’s still a patriarchal structure in the U.S. Accepting this can help you make changes in areas you can control and let go of the rest.
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