Over the last eight months we have been hearing from women across the UK about how their lives have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Below are some responses from the November diary.

Some diarists are having to home-school again:

My 6 year old daughter has been self-isolating due to a case in her school year and overseeing her home schooling has been a big challenge to manage alongside a busy and demanding time at work. My partner is a frontline NHS worker and although we have tried to share the load, it’s fallen to me to oversee most of my daughter’s timetable.

My son was sent home to self-isolate for 14 days because of the number of positive coronavirus cases in his year at school… It was back to the nightmare of home-schooling, online lessons that left him angry and frustrated and without the support he gets in school for his special educational needs.

One diarist told us that the lack of support from her workplace was adding to her stress:

I'm fed up. Feel unsupported at work - and with limited recognition of the additional strain the caring responsibilities I have for four young children (in a pandemic) place on me. I had 14 days this month with no childcare. There's no option with work except take unpaid leave or reduce my hours. When I had a meeting with my managers about it, they were supportive vocally - but not in terms of action.

Several diarists shared that they felt worried about friends who were struggling:

I’m worried about a few of my friends who aren’t working at all after contracts ending or being made redundant. Having no structure to their days and no prospect of any money coming in is taking its toll and I feel helpless.

I have friends who are about to give birth and I wish I could be more of a support, who knows how old the baby will be by the time we can meet?

Diarists told us how they were feeling ahead of the festive period:

I'm usually the first one with the festive spirit, but this year there doesn't seem anything to look forward to: no long afternoons with friends, no Christmas "do" at work and no visits with my husband's family. I am trying super hard to look and feel excited for the children, who have had such a strange, lonely year.

We're willing to forfeit seeing each other at Christmas with a view that we can enjoy ourselves properly once we're vaccinated next year. As it stands, we all feel that coronavirus still feels very close by, and that we can't afford to let our guard down now.

Many of our diarists said that news of a vaccine had given them hope for the future:

I am feeling much more positive because I have engaged with some new projects and am much encouraged by the possibility of a vaccine on the horizon.

 I'm feeling cautiously optimistic that next year will see a return to more normality with the new vaccines on the horizon. I am missing my parents and my friends dreadfully, but I feel like we are getting close to the world returning to a bit more normality...

Lots of our diarists said that getting outside for walks with friends has brought them joy in recent weeks:

This past week I’ve walked over 30 miles spread over 4 days, all beautiful walks with different friends.

I had some lovely walks with groups of friends. The autumn colours and berries have been amazing, breath-taking.

Thank Goodness for Strictly Come Dancing and other small pleasures. Whatsapping while we watch. A warm autumn with lots of sunshine. The colours of the trees. Friends. My mum's inner strength. Being able to walk in the countryside, even if it is just with one person. We are all digging up reserves we didn't know we had.

We would like to say a huge thank you to all of our diarists for sharing their experiences with us this year. If you would like to take part in the diaries, you can get involved here.

If you feel worried about yourself for a loved one, please do to take a look at our help for individuals page for a list of helplines and organisations offering support.

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels