Women: Living in Lockdown

Laura Krippner
5 min readMay 20, 2020

As I wrap up my Functional Medicine Health Coach training I’ve been talking to women all over the world about their lives, goals and dreams during this time of COVID-19. I’ve coached women across the US, Europe, Asia and Australia. What’s striking is not the differences between our varied states of lockdown, but the similarities.

Life Goes On…

Talk about stating the obvious. No-one’s personal issues or problems grew any smaller within the reduced mobility of lockdown. As you would expect those who identified as introverts seemed happier than the extroverts. Retaining some semblance of a routine was critical to how people felt that they were coping. For example, those who were working and hadn’t been furloughed seemed to not be as fazed by the impact of lockdown, and perhaps seemed to have a more positive outlook.

We are all in different stages of lockdown with some countries tentatively opening schools, and encouraging parents to send their children back. Not one person expressed the desire to return to ‘normal’. Of course there are elements of normality that are missed like visiting friends and family and spending time outside. For the most part these women had found their Corona-Groove and were approaching this adapted life with positivity tinged with some trepidation.

That said this week I’m very aware of all of the things that I’m no longer doing… I had tickets to the Chelsea Flower show on Friday, I was due to be flying to Rome on Saturday with my husband to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. None of these things are happening. To mark the occasion at home I’ve ordered Italian cheeses and salamis from my local deli, we’ve a Super Tuscan that we’ve been saving for a special occasion. Looks like we’ve found the occasion. This is also a surprise for my husband which means that I’ll be earning some ‘Wonderful Wife’ points to be cashed in at a future date.

There’s no place like home

Then there are all of the things that you begin to notice when you’re home. In general it seemed that the women that I spoke to were noticing their environments in a way that they hadn’t previously. So that dripping tap? It’s been fixed. The clothes that the kids have grown out of? All neatly packaged up and ready for the charity shop. The craft cupboard that was over-flowing? All tidy and organised. The jigsaw puzzles that you never have time to do? They’ve been completed, and are now for sale on eBay. One person had decluttered to such an extent that she was able to park the car in the garage for the first time ever!

While some of the bigger items on to-do lists were getting ticked off, what seemed more of a struggle was the constant shopping, cooking, eating and clearing up of food. The never ending groundhog day of living within the same four walls is wearing. The same person being responsible for emptying and refilling the insatiable dishwasher, and cleaning the bathroom, and doing the laundry. While you could argue that all of this stuff happened every day BC (Before COVID), it wasn’t quite to this degree. In my house there are five of us at home. Usually there would just be me as the kids would be at school, and my husband works in London or would be travelling. That’s twenty extra lunches right there!

Partners and kids and pets

As mentioned earlier I’ve been married for 20 years. I know, Yay Me! On that sunny day in May 2000 I did not envision spending ALL OF MY TIME with him ALL OF THE TIME. Particularly when he’s been based in a different city for the last seven years during the week. This must be what it’s like for retired couples, but at least they used to be allowed to leave the house during the BC days. I now understand a lot more about my parents…

The same thing could be said for my children who I love dearly, but again they are here ALL OF THE TIME. Also, I should add that they are teenagers. Someone’s always in a mood, someone’s always behind on school work and someone’s always not available to help out because they’re chatting online with their friends and ‘this-is-the-only-socialising-that-I-do!’ They pass the relay baton of annoying teenager-dom between themselves almost seamlessly.

It’s even tougher for parents of small children where there’s literally no respite because you can’t really take your eyes off small children. Basically their going to school, and your going to work is the only break to take your eyes off them. For me there’s a slight glimmer of hope on the horizon with a return to school forecast for June for my older two.

We had a new puppy join our family in January. He’s loving having everyone home all of the time. He’s also home ALL of the time, but I was planning on that. I was also fully aware that it would be my job to feed, walk and train him. Lockdown’s not changed that at all.

Mental Load

As you were, there’s no change here! The ‘mental load’ as drawn by the French comic artist Emma continues to reside with women. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept it’s the idea that all of the thinking about how to complete a task or activity of daily living is done by women for the most part. Think of it like project management for the home (but without any fancy charts or stickers). It’s figuring out what’s for dinner and making sure that the chicken is taken out of the freezer so it has time to defrost. Then asking others to help prepare the food, perhaps asking a child to set the table.

All of those little insignificant tasks add up to create a constant flow of work for women. Even asking someone to help involves telling them what they need to do to help! All of that cleaning that I mentioned earlier? It’s still with the women. There’s no easy way to shift the mental load, even though this time when everyone’s home would be the perfect opportunity to figure out how to do things differently.

Then we have the occasion when your partner or spouse actually does do something on their own without being asked. While you might think that this is a cause for celebration, sadly it’s often not because there’s a strong possibility that it wasn’t done in the right way. A common example of this is loading the dishwasher.

Acute Stress

I was in a class a couple of weeks ago led by Robert Biswas-Diener, the positive psychologist who’s written more books than I have space for here, he mentioned three signs of acute stress:

· Difficulty concentrating

· Disturbed sleep

· Minor Irritability

I’m yet to meet anyone who hasn’t mentioned these to a greater or lesser extent, with sleep being raised most commonly. We are all walking around in a state of acute stress, which is crossing international boundaries. Let’s try and be kind to one another as we move through the lockdown process to the gradual easing of restrictions. We are living through history, let’s try to create something that we’re proud of.



Laura Krippner

Board Certified Functional Health Coach working with women to manage hair loss, perimenopause, mental fitness and their dreams.