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  • Writer's pictureSarah Fraser

Women Health Warriors

During the pandemic and its various stages of lockdown, I've heard more than a few times that women are feeling more stress than men. According to Stats Can, 57.0% of females polled reported their mental health is “somewhat” or “much” worse since the pandemic began. This makes complete and perfect sense to me and honestly, I suspect that number is underreported. Women, particularly those in the paid workforce, have had the added stress of trying to work from home, manage the daily functions of keeping the house running, deal with constant interruptions from kids and spouse (if they're also working from home) for meals and unscheduled homeschooling all while trying to maintain her own physical and mental health. It is A LOT. Statistically, women spend more time than men on unpaid work. I know this personally. I had high and admittedly delusional hopes that, during this stay at home order, all 3 of my children would become masters of their domain, doing their own laundry and learning to cook. It lasted for a brief moment in time but ultimately, the bulk of the load (literally, laundry load after load!) falls on me.

I was recently contacted by a media person informing me of the launch of a new online plant based show featuring two female athletes, one of whom used a plant-based diet to help her overcome her battle with breast cancer. A true female health warrior. It got me thinking about the importance of women, not only in family, but in the realm of overall health. My husband has mentioned to me on more than one occasion in this past almost year and half that the family can not afford for me to go down. Women are the caregivers. We are the glue that hold things together. This is not, by any means, to undervalue the role men play. I could easily say the same about my husband. Our family can not afford for him to go down either. But in the context of just health, women are the queens. From the females I know and the ones I see out there, it is women who schedule doctor's appointments, advocate for their family's health and aging parents and notice when their children are exhibiting "abnormal" behaviour or symptoms or aren't getting enough sleep. It is often women who read up on alternative health methods, look up healthy recipes and feel the moral responsibility of putting healthy meals on the table. How often is it women who have to remind their spouses to call the doctor or go get that check-up because it's been 7 years since his last appointment?

When it comes to my husband's health, especially since his kidney disease diagnosis, I'm the one listening to health and wellness podcasts, researching books, scouring pinterest recipes, tweaking what we're doing and yes, sometimes nagging him to not eat or do certain things! Jim, often in jest but also in all seriousness, tells people that he just does what I tell him to do when it comes to nutrition. My kids roll their eyes whenever I start a sentence with "I was listening to a podcast" or "I heard this doctor say" but they know, or at least I sincerely hope they know, that I do it for them. Women worry about their loved ones and will do whatever it takes to protect them.

The pandemic has been challenging in so many ways and for so many people but I want to take a moment to recognize women. The women health warriors. I see what you're doing for yourself and your families and I know you're doing the absolute best you can for them. Hang in there. You're fierce.


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