The COVID-19 time has been tough for everyone, but it has been particularly stressful and strenuous for women, especially homemakers. The reason, I believe, is that traditionally and by nature women consider home their domain and resting place. While men prefer to unwind outside the home with their friends, a woman’s nook of refuge is her home. Like a bird that seeks its nest to rest, a woman makes a beeline for her home. That’s why when buying or investing in a house, women seem to be finickier and more demanding than men, insisting on a certain way the house should be since it is going to be their corner in this wide world. Nothing rejuvenates or restores a woman more than a quiet house when everyone else is away and she gets her time to de-stress!
But with the pandemic confining families to home, women have found it difficult to find a place to loosen up. More than ever, women—primarily homemakers—have found their realm invaded and inundated by people as well as an unending list of chores and duties. They feel lost as they find no place or space for them to recover and be restored. There is no time or occasion for peace and quietness. And, if the family is insensitive to her need for rest and lacks the understanding of what truly refreshes her, it is an added stress.
But there are ways to adapt to these pandemic-induced changes in our day-to-day life. Here are some tips for finding rest:
Plan your day: It is my observation that many women, specifically homemakers, do not plan their day. They don’t take hold of their day, but meet it as it comes. They allow themselves to go with the flow. This has been more so during pandemic causing them to feel like a stick tossed by the day. Chalk out your day and lay claim to it so that you are not at its mercy!
Find your daily rhythm: Womenare flexible and adapt to any situation easily. However, during the pandemic, with all the family members at home, this flexibility has worked against women. Unless and until they set a routine and everyone in the family sticks to it, women cannot combat fatigue. Make your day both flexible and rigid, which will bring order to your life.
Start your day with rest: Prayer and meditation is the key to rest, for the quietness you seek will be found in God’s presence. Nothing can make a woman feel more refreshed than singing praises to God and lifting up His name. Women tend to be devoted and often take time to worship. Most men in the family do recognize this stellar nature of a woman and encourage their prayer time, for they recognize its role and importance. So, make time to rest in God as well as to pray for strength and grace for the day.
Value your time: Women at home do not really schedule their home chores as women who hold a job do. This is because they do not view their home duties the same way as a working woman does. Another reason is that homemakers don’t get paid and the chores they do are taken for granted. But if a woman herself learns to value her time and work, she can prioritise things, plan her chores and follow a schedule. Women, put your to-do list in order and plan ahead—even things like your meals for the week. This will help you prepare in advance and give you a head start. Moreover, your husband and kids would be more willing and happy to help you if you don’t pester them often to run to the grocery store for an ingredient. Planning avoids clashes too!
Regulate your time for work and rest: A prime need for women is to mark out rest hours amidst work. For instance, you can catch your breath and carve out a moment of peace after breakfast and before lunch work begins. Do the same in afternoon between lunch and teatime, as well as between tea and dinner. Go to bed on time so that you can rise early to have your quiet time before the day begins. Don’t wait till the end of day to rest, but find pockets of time to rest.
Cordon off your time and space: Many women don’t communicate their thoughts firmly and effectively. Once you have planned your day and marked time for different things, make it known to your family. Teach them to respect it. Request help from your spouse to care for your kids during this time. Our problem is that we don’t admit our weakness and our need, but try to be superwomen!
Do something you really love: Women should develop a hobby or pastime and do something beyond housework. Most women are slack in this. Instead of evolving by learning a new skill, igniting passion to do something that is close to their heart, many end up spending time in watching soaps and serials. Learn to do gardening, tailoring, crochet, knitting or beadwork, etc. Learn driving, baking, even electrical work or earn a degree. Upgrade and encourage yourself in this season by doing something new.
Define yourself: Most women are clueless as to who they are and hence, allow others to define who they are. Sometimes in the twilight of life or during menopausal stage or after children have moved out, women feel adrift, having lost themselves in the milieu and myriad roles taken up in the course of life. Women, you are more than your roles (daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, cook, caregiver, daughter-in-law, etc). You are a human being with distinct gifts, abilities, strengths, weaknesses, personality and character. You have the ability to define yourself. Understand this and keep your uniqueness secure, guarding it as treasure. Then, even when everyone in your life has passed on or moved on, you have your being intact to evolve to a new level!
Live in peace and tranquillity: Rest and quietness must first be felt inward before it can be realized outward. Harbouring resentment, bitterness, malice and so on, will harm you more than others, since it won’t allow you to rest even though you may be doing it physically! Inward equanimity will go a long way in finding rest. More than men, women need to let it go. Forgiveness and forbearance works much to ensure rest, for we are emotional beings and when our feelings are in turmoil, we can wave goodbye to rest!
Reach out to make friends: Women need companions and that’s why women are more invested in marriage than men. Communion and companionship is at the heart of a woman’s being, which makes her a team worker. So, reach out to cultivate friendships and do not isolate yourself. Communicating with a community of friends does much for mental health. There is a sense of oneness in knowing that others also have the same problems and strength in encouraging another. Sisterhood should be a way of life if we are to maintain our sanity during the pandemic.
Ladies, let us face this time of unprecedented happenings with zest and vivre, as we always do, by developing a new pattern and way of life. It is no use complaining about what has been lost. Let us make do with what we have, thankful in the midst of it all, coming out with flying colours. Remember, this too shall pass.