The Covid-19 pandemic which spread across the globe has altered life as we know it and the likelihood of life remaining the same is very slim. Indeed, people can see without doubt that the pandemic has affected their lives in many spheres; women especially seem to feel the disruption in every area of their lives especially in relation to work and family.
Many women have been overwhelmed by the pandemic as a result of overload of new information, long work hours at home, caring for self and family, fighting to hold things together in enclosed spaces and the fear of the unknown. And while they are learning to cope with the new curve, another challenge has risen for them in the form of the gradual relaxation of the lockdown.
While many have to start work, they have to contend with the challenge that school is still closed; how do they keep their children safe and protect them from infection, which caregiver would be available, do they leave their home open for caregivers or take the children there, how will they ensure they don’t take the virus home and infect their family?
The questions are many and the emotional and psychological stress can be something difficult to manage. But this is the time to pause and take it easy so that decisions are not made with emotions and hurriedly. This is indeed a taxing period and it is important to remain calm despite the fact that making this kind of decision can be overwhelming and stressful.
The likely emotions in response to the uncertainty of this period can be complex; anxiety, fear, anger, sadness, helplessness, lack of control and desperation among others. These not only affect the decision taken but also affect the mental health of women involved.
In times like this, women need to relax, calm down and gather their thoughts. The first step is to ensure that your health; physical, mental and emotional are balanced else, you can’t take decisions that will help your family. By taking care of yourself, you equip yourself to be strong to take care of your family through this period irrespective of the situation. A major decision is how to go out daily and avoid catching the virus and taking it homer to the children. This may look difficult and almost impossible because you mix with people that do not hold same belief at work and often, in the course of moving around, the basics of social distancing is ignored by many.
But no matter how difficult it looks, it can be done. The important measure would have been to stay at home but since many have to start work with the gradual easing of the lockdown, it is important to follow good hygiene practices and basic recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). There is a need to wash the hands with soap and water regularly, sanitize the hands often, clean frequently touched surfaces as often as possible, cover coughs and sneezes with face masks, desist from touching ears, nose and mouth and ensure social distance is maintained as much as possible.
Also ensure that children are left in hygienic environment, ensure they have all they need so they don’t leave home and more importantly, sensitise them and the caregivers on the necessity of washing their hands often.
Ensure children maintain healthy nutrition and sleep habits to boost their immune system. Give them appropriate amounts of fruits and vegetables, limiting processed food and minimise sweets and sugary drinks. Also ensure children do not open up to visitors in your absence to protect them from getting infected.
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