As part of our campaigning and research into how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting women and women's work, we've invited women across the country to share their experience through a series of weekly diaries. Below is a snapshot of some of the concerns highlighted by our participants, as they share how they spend their days and what's been on their minds.

Last week, many reported having had a more difficult time than in previous weeks. The colder weather didn’t help, and was mentioned by a number of women:

Until the rainy weather arrived on Tuesday I've been working in the garden for many hours, now I'm indoor most of the time and have started to feel 'down' in my general mood although I've lots to do indoors.
The warm sunny weather has reverted to cold, grey and darker days, so my mood has darkened with it. I'm not anxious, just entirely unable to motivate myself to do anything much.
This is our first rainy week in lockdown, which is proving a new challenge - the house is a complete mess with the kids constantly getting new toys out/making dens/ colouring in and potty training on going…I am really missing time to myself.

As lockdown continues, some women wrote about their motivation to work taking a dip:

But still this feels like the hardest week. Started off feeling that work deadlines were pointless. Two nights didn't even change to get into bed, just sat watching rubbish TV kidding myself that was thinking things through.
I have felt this week the pressure of working from home, without the support of co-workers or my employer, and have felt the inequalities in each of us with what we are expected to do, coming from different home circumstances and varying resources at home to work with.
My mental health this week seems to have taken a real nose dive. I’ve been managing my depression pretty well I thought but these last few days I’ve just been struggling so hard. My partner has been really supportive and kind but I am just failing to have any motivation at the moment.

This reflects the findings from our recent survey with the Women’s Budget Group, the Mile End Institute at Queen Mary University, and the London School of Economics (LSE). The survey reported on the pandemic having a significant impact on women’s wellbeing – with the proportion of women reporting a high level of satisfaction with life falling from 32% to 12%.

The survey also found that 36% of women are reporting high levels of anxiety, compared with 27% of men. Mothers of young children are among the most anxious. Nearly half (46%) of mothers of under-11s report anxiety above a 7 on a scale of 0-10, compared with 36% of fathers. This compares with 32% of women and 24% of men who are not parents of young children.

This was clear in responses to the diary last week, which mentioned the stress of home schooling, concerns about schools reopening, and concerns about other family members:

The homeschooling has seriously deteriorated. There is no longer any structure aside from meal times, I've left the educational elements to BBC Bitesize because it buys me enough time to get a meeting done. There is a lot of Pokemon, especially today as the rain has come to town in a big way.
This is the week that home schooling has taken its toll. The kids have lost their motivation for it…so everything, every single task is a struggle to get them to do it.

But for some of our diarists, reopening school is not necessarily an easy solution to this stress. This may be because they have a member in the household who is shielding, or because of the practicalities of getting to school, or how to make staggered hours work when there is more than one child in the home:

I can’t imagine a time that I will feel ok about going outside again. I know the virus isn't going anywhere and I don’t think I'll be able to choose a time when I'll be ok with my daughter getting it… feeling increasingly concerned about when lockdown relaxes what we will do as a family - will I send my son back to school? Will I allow therapists into the house for my daughter?
I'm worried that the schools will reopen soon. I wouldn't be able to drop off my son (as I'm pregnant and staying at home)… If the schools reopen, my husband's work might ask him to return to the office, and then I will have to take my son to school… If my son goes to school soon, we will be at higher risk of getting the virus, and I worry about what this means as I'm in the third trimester.
I'm starting to feel really anxious about going back to work- if there's going to be staggered school hours, I don't know how I'd make it to work and back, with one child at home at any given time…So every time they mention easing the lockdown in the news my anxiety spikes.

But some women reported a better week, finding solace in routines or in time spent with family:

I realised was beginning to become depressed so I decided to stick to a daily routine…Before breakfast I am doing a daily 10 minute workout for seniors with Joe Wicks…and then another 10 minutes yoga for seniors. It is amazing how 20 minutes a day has lifted my mood and made me feel a lot better.
I have mostly felt fine. I'm spending really valuable time with my 10 year-old doing gardening and stuff we wouldn't normally do.
This last week things have actually calmed down, and I am feeling much more level, relaxed and calm…I am making the most of the positive parts of the lock down which is the time and space with my son, we are really tuned into each other and he is blossoming. He is engaging with the school work, and the routine. We love our walks…

This week, those completing the diary are sharing their thoughts on the end of the lockdown. Our diarists are recording how they will feel about doing a range of activities over the next month. 

We’ll let you know what they’re thinking – and what this may tell us about the changes to lockdown announced by the Government this week. Our sincere thanks to everyone who has taken part so far.

We want to hear from as many women as possible. If you would like take part in the diaries, please sign up below.

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Photo credit: Gabe Pierce on Unsplash