Like many of you, I’m a bit out of sorts and somewhat disoriented right now. Our collective mental health is deteriorating during Covid-19. Recent stats report an increase from 20-40% of adults struggling with mental illness since the advent of the pandemic.
Maternal mental health is particularly at risk. Helping children with distance learning, navigating exposure to the news, trying to keep life a bit “normal”, keeping family members fed and supplied, juggling career and income loss, all while isolated from helpful support. The invisible labor that women do each day requires dexterity for right and left-brain functioning. It takes skill. Some call it multitasking but this complicated brain process is much more sophisticated than the term suggests.
Think of how challenging it is to switch gears when you are concentrating. If someone interrupts, you must go from your task-oriented self to your relational self to pay attention to him or her. Focus is a luxury. If we are lucky, we don’t have to “switch” gears too often during a day. We feel better and produce more when we can stay in one zone (one part of our brain) for a period of time.
The effort for working, mothering, partnering, and surviving in the midst of an enduring health crisis is astounding, and this nimble right to left-brain movement is not feasible. Which explains why many mothers are in a mental health crisis of epic proportions. A current article caught my attention as it relates so I’m sharing it here for you: NYT article, Mothers Are the 'Shock Absorbers' of Our Society.
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