There is no doubting the fact that the pandemic has vividly transformed daily life around the country. While the year 2020 will be reminisced for the pandemic, the country will also remember it for the rise of the female breadwinners whose physical and emotional resilience stood out all through the crisis due to the dual responsibilities they played with much élan.
The traditional view demanded for a division of responsibility between the hunter-gatherer-man and the caregiver-nurturer-woman. But women today have moved beyond these outmoded frames, acing the multi-tasking game all the more. The pandemic further brought the women on the frontlines forcing them to deal with the challenge of working from home and working for home. While the male counterparts have stepped in and are sharing responsibilities shoulder to shoulder, the accountabilities towards home and children tends to disproportionately fall on the woman. This has given rise to the ‘double-burden syndrome’ where-in they tend to be more accountable for performing dual responsibilities although they now have a helping hand. In spite of this demographic shift in gender roles, women have emerged as the real warriors by building an emotional and mindful resilience to the crisis.
Combatting collective trauma with emotional resilience: Alongside the lockdown, the pandemic has also imposed upon the female counterparts, what is known as a collective trauma. The uncertain trajectory of crisis tends to put our nervous systems into a zone of mild to severe restlessness. Women can combat this situation, through 'mental resilience', an ability to acclimatize to tough situations, and adversities. This practise helps to cope with this phase of vagueness and gain skills to be able to bounce back as a warrior. Our brain keeps constructing new neural pathways, so it is important to retrain it accordingly to safeguard ourselves against the desolation. Mindfulness activities facilitate in retraining the brain to spring back from impediments.
Dealing with the 'double-double shift’: This phenomenon is nothing but the additional layer of work on top of the double shift of job and domestic responsibilities that women have been compelled to shoulder during the pandemic. Having more to do than they could possibly handle has stressed on the importance of achieving a proper work-life balance. Although it was hopeful that the pandemic would bring back a normalization of gender roles, it has been researched that while men stepped in with regular chores, the mental load was still falling on women unduly. Women can overcome this challenge through ‘mindful resilience’, which implies the leveraging of positive emotions over negatives. Such practices help in strengthening the logical and emotional centres of our brain. This upsurges our consciousness of and attention in the present moment, through which we experience emotions without judgment and adjust our behavioural response to attune them.
Redefining gender roles and norms: We have always resided in a society where-in male identities are still tied to being a provider. The pandemic has brought about a change in these gender norms and realities. The requisite for everyone in the household to pitch in has never been greater than particularly now. The crisis witnessed many women continuing to bring home a pay check alongside equally highlighting on their other responsibilities. This shift in the breadwinning role has been increasing and will continue to grow — and with it, other traditional roles too are deemed to be changed.
(The writer is Mental & Emotional Wellbeing Coach, Founder - Let Us Talk)
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