Mental health experts are telling the public to look towards more bright days ahead. KDKA's Nicole Ford has more on how to push through the pandemic wall.
KRISTINE SORENSON: Almost one year into the pandemic, and people are going stir crazy. Add in this weather, many people are really struggling, emotionally and mentally. Nicole Ford's live with advice on how to handle what's being called "the pandemic wall."
NICOLE FORD: Kristine, at the start of this pandemic was referred to as a marathon. Well, you know, when you reach mile 20 of a run, you start to lose energy. That's the point mental health experts say the public has reached.
Work, school, home, repeat. It's the new normal for most of the public.
NOAH DAVIDSON: I was worried about getting it or, like, giving it to somebody else. Because, like, I'd seen, like, what it does to people.
NICOLE FORD: Noah Davidson is a student at Slippery Rock. He's followed the guidelines to stay safe, but is looking forward to the end. He's not alone.
GARY SWANSON: In the last several months, I've seen many more people experiencing depression, anxiety, burnout, frustration.
NICOLE FORD: Dr. Gary Swanson says more people are hitting this metaphoric wall, as 2021 has brought nothing new, but rather the same pandemic stresses.
GARY SWANSON: The wall that we're hitting, there are a lot of bricks in this wall. A lot of different things. And trying to figure out for you, which brick is the most important one to pull out, trying to deal with first, is where talking with somebody may be helpful for you.
NICOLE FORD: Swanson tells me having a conversation helps people evaluate the best COVID techniques.
GARY SWANSON: Yes, it's cold out, but there are places you can go and walk still. Some days are nicer than others. You can, if you want, listen to music in your house and dance like nobody's watching.
NICOLE FORD: It may take getting creative, but getting outside the four walls of your house is key.
GARY SWANSON: Restaurants are open, you can go to them. And I think taking the time and energy to make a reservation and go gets you out and gets you into a different routine. Some of this stuff is new, but there are so many places that are in need of help or support. You know, serving somebody else in some capacity can also be helpful.
NICOLE FORD: It's something Davidson has found helpful in the last year.
NOAH DAVIDSON: I hike. I like to hike a lot. So that's a really good thing to do to, like, help clear your mind. And like, you know, if you're worried about being too close to people, like, getting away.
NICOLE FORD: One thing doctors want you to know is that this pandemic won't last forever. Don't be afraid to start planning a trip for the summer or the fall. Plan a party to celebrate the missed events. It's OK to get excited for the future. Reporting live in Market Square, Nicole Ford, KDKA News.