Lockdown and Women's Health

In a recent Guardian article, Baroness Tanni Grey Thomson raised the issue of the unprecedented pressure on women’s health caused by the latest lockdown.

Teaming up with Kate Dale, the campaign lead for This Girl Can, Grey Thomson was mainly focusing on the loss of exercise. But are there other ways that female health has been affected by lockdown?

Mental and emotional wellbeing

It was this issue that was addressed in the Guardian. Grey Thomson argued that over the course of three lockdowns, women have taken on more responsibility than ever. Furthermore, they had even less time to address their own needs.

A considerable number of men have of course stepped up and taken on their fair share of parental responsibilities. But the figures show that on the whole it is women who have shouldered the burden of homeschooling. This, alongside the normal household obligations of washing, cooking and cleaning, often whilst also trying to hold down a job.

For many, this has meant working from early in the morning until late into the night to get everything done. This leaves little time for exercise, which can be key to maintaining our physical, and our mental health.

“Women are facing unprecedented pressure on their health due to lockdown, not least when trying to stay active,” she said. “There should be serious concern about the impact of lockdown on our overall wellbeing, particularly without the same opportunities to stay active for our mental and physical health.”

Sleep

Sleep is an essential part of life, and lack of it can have a far-reaching impact. So although this does of course link in with our mental wellbeing, we thought it warranted a section all of its own.

The lockdown is affecting women’s sleep in a number of different ways. Most commonly, women are having to reduce their sleeping hours in order to fulfil all their professional, household and parental obligations. It’s just not possible to fit a full-time job as well as six hours of homeschooling into a sixteen-hour day. Even less when you factor in time for meals, washing, cleaning and all the myriad daily tasks that so often go unseen.

But then there’s all the hours of sleep lost because of anxiety. Worries about Covid, about our children’s mental health, or about how to achieve everything we need to do the next day.

More urgent health issues

Lack of exercise is absolutely a major concern for women in lockdown. But the pandemic has also raised some rather alarming issues around more serious diagnoses.

As the NHS has been forced to shut down all but the most urgent of non-Covid treatments, women are missing out on ‘routine’ checks such as smear tests and mammograms. And while in many cases this doesn’t cause an issue, sadly for some it means that what could have been an early diagnosis has been lost.

Surescan is still open and offering smear tests, ovarian cancer screening and other diagnostic tests, so if you are concerned about the impact lockdown is having on your health, we are here to help. Please contact us to find out more.