By: Thomas G. Bognanno, President and CEO for CHC;
– Over the past three months we have heard repeatedly, from every conceivable direction, that the times we are living in are “unprecedented” and “uncertain”. If I could, I would retire both words from our vernacular or at least embargo them for the foreseeable future.
Now, as the shock waves still reverberate and the old normal is fast becoming the new normal, we must survey the landscape, assess the damage, and begin emerging from the bunkers to build what that new normal will look like. The reality is that many of us will be doing pretty much the same as we did before this situation – but just doing it differently.
It will not surprise anyone to know that seven in ten Americans (72%) say their lives have been disrupted “a lot” or “some” by the coronavirus outbreak. The changes to your daily routine, along with the 24/7 onslaught of coronavirus news has drastically increased the stress in our lives. A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 45 percent of Americans feel the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health.
In a recent Fortune Op-Ed, LeanIn.org co-founders Sheryl Sandberg and Rachel Thomas suggest that many women are working the equivalent of two full time jobs (what they deem a “double double shift”), spending 71 hours every week on housework and caregiving, including the new responsibilities of these challenging times. Meanwhile, men in the same situation are doing 20 fewer hours of labor every week.
Even though many states are taking steps to reopen businesses and communities, it will take some time for life to return to the “normal” we knew pre-COVID-19. For some, mainly those who are more at-risk and need to maintain social distancing, there will still be the hidden risk of social isolation, even as states move through reopening phases. For those returning to work, it will still be important to follow health guidelines, while also taking steps to maintain your mental and physical health.
If you find yourself obsessing over the news or wrestling with anxiety and stress caused by recent changes, here are some tools available to help: