The first few months of the pandemic have ultimately shut down the ordinary lives we used to live every day. With strict quarantine protocols to combat the coronavirus, Bay Area experts revealed that this epidemic is taking degrading effects on people’s mental health, especially during this year’s holiday season. However, even without a global crisis, the holidays can be a vulnerable threat to our mental health conditions.

Bay Area mental health professionals acknowledged that we need to put extra effort into taking care of ourselves to make it through the end of this year. Dr. Carl Fiesher, head of clinical at online therapy, ‘Reflect’ commented on his insights concerning this situation. 

“People have been saying that this is a marathon, not a sprint,” Dr. Fleisher said. “It’s a marathon that you didn’t sign up to run. It’s a marathon you got stuck in,” he added.

According to him, people are used to withstanding short-term calamities such as hurricanes or famines. Human beings have a hard time coping up with unexpected and long-term crises such as a worldwide pandemic.

ABC7 News disclosed that two women contacted them to share stories of their struggles during the epidemic. They did so with the hopes of letting other people know that they are not alone, and others will find the strength to survive much longer in these difficult times.

Interviewee Rashim Mogha openly admitted that she suffers from sleeping problems, hair fall, and acne breakouts due to stress.

“Part of me reaching out was to let people know that it was okay not to be okay,” shared Mogha.

Owner of Urban Body San Jose Shannon Bynum Adams expressed to ABC7 News that she “lost almost 20lbs just trying to figure out how to keep my business alive during the pandemic.”

The American Psychological Association alerted the nation by releasing its latest psychological report for this year. According to the transcript, 8 out of 10 surveyed that the pandemic is a serious stress factor in their lives. Due to the survey results, the APA concluded that we are currently facing a national mental health emergency.

In response to this alarming plight, Dr. Fleisher shared an easy-to-remember checklist to monitor your mental health during the holiday season, including your loved ones’.

According to Dr. Fleisher, the first thing to observe on the list is to check on yourself.

“Am I okay from the outside? Am I going to work or school? Am I present and engaged with my relationships?” shared Dr. Fleisher. “You can monitor yourself by taking a stop and see if you can come up with measures to help you cope with your mental health,” he added.

The second thing to tick on the listicle is to check in on other people, such as your family members and friends.

“I always tell people to look out for others whom you haven’t heard from much in a while to see how they are doing,” expressed Dr. Fleisher, adding “when people aren’t doing well, they isolate unfortunately and so for us to reach out to them can make a big difference.”

The third action you need to monitor on the list is not forgetting to do small things daily. Dr. Fleisher suggested that picking up on habits such as taking a 15-minute nap or playing guitar for one hour could ease one’s nerves.

The fourth but most powerful deed on the list is to catch up on sleep.

Several people have also shared their tips for coping up with holiday stress during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Adams’ best advice is to “move every day, get outside if you can, even if 30 seconds a day, do it, and make sure you’re breathing.” She applies this tip to her customers daily.

For Mogha, ‘Hope’ is the four-letter word she would use to describe 2020. According to her, she sees 2020 as a year “of opportunity, time to reflect, how we want to shape our lives and shape up our businesses.”