The truth about lockdown for women is a story of strain and embracing a slower pace of life

Research from Instagram and Grazia shines a light on the lived experience of women in lockdown.

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director


Learning to bake a sourdough, making your side hustle your full-time hustle, taking craft activities with your children to the next level. If brands relied on the veneer of social media to measure the impact of lockdown on women’s lives, they would be left with only half of the picture. Research from Grazia and Instagram reveals that far from this picture perfect ‘great life you aren’t living’ on social media, the impact of lockdown on women’s lives has been profound. 

The Life After Lockdown study reveals that three quarters of women aged 25 to 54 want help and advice for anxiety, depression or loneliness caused by lockdown and the coronavirus crisis. Nearly half (47%) said that lockdown has had a negative impact on their mental health, with 49% stating that they found being isolated and feeling lonely particularly challenging.

The research, which is part of the Where’s Your Head At? campaign, spoke to women across the UK to understand their feelings about their mental health, relationships, sex, work, fashion, hobbies and money. 

of women want people to be kinder to each other
1 in 10
women turned to social media for mental health support during lockdown
of women are reassessing their approach to work and life

The kindness reset

As the country begins to take tentative steps out of lockdown, the research reveals an interesting shift for brands: a kindness reset is top of the agenda. Over half (57%) of women noted that they want people to be kinder to each other and over a third (35%) plan to take greater care of their mental health when whatever constitutes ‘normal life’ resumes. 

The research also underlines the positive role of social media in women’s lives. One in ten women (11%) said they turned to social media for mental health support during lockdown and over a third (37%) said that social media was their greatest source of inspiration during this time. Figures that suggest that while social media is undoubtedly a source of huge pressure for consumers, this does not prevent it from, somewhat paradoxically, being a source for inspiration and supportive communities.

The future of work

Another area that has seen huge changes for many women since the start of the pandemic is in their working lives. More than half (54%) noted that lockdown has led them to think about making a big change in their working life, with almost two thirds (63%) reassessing their approach to work and life, otherwise known as that dreaded term: work life balance.

Notably, while being an incredibly challenging time economically and emotionally there are shifts in life which women plan to extend long beyond lockdown. Almost half of respondents want the current slower pace of life (46%) and the increased sense of community (47%) to carry on after lockdown lifts. 

Lucie Cave, Creative Editorial Director at Bauer Media, explained: “Lockdown has meant our Where’s Your Head At? campaign has become even more important in finding ways to support and become the mouthpiece for our audience. Their worries about finding a better work/life balance and managing their mental health by maintaining a slower pace of life are crucial insights to helping shape the sort of content they want and need from us across all of our brands.”