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Friendly Reminder To Be Kind To Workers This Holiday Season

The holiday season is here! It's a time for decorating, baking cookies and sipping way too much eggnog. But as festive as the season is, it can also bring out the worst in people.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, people have become increasingly impatient with the essential workforce. Now, as we head into our second COVID Christmas, here is a friendly reminder for us all to be kind to workers this holiday season.

Another December is upon us, which means the holiday season is finally here!

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The holidays are when friends and family gather to celebrate the festive season. It's the one time of year where we all try to be a little kinder and more patient with those around us.

However, for the last two years, we've all been dealing with an uninvited Grinchy guest — COVID-19.

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Many of us were unable to gather with loved ones last year due to lockdown restrictions. Now, in the wake of the Omicron variant, it appears that this year could look very similar.

One area of society that has remained relatively constant since the first case of COVID-19 has been the essential workforce.

These essential services include things like frontline healthcare workers, grocery store employees, as well as retail workers. Suffice it to say that the last two years for these fine folks have been a living hell.

In order for essential services to remain open, they've have had to adapt to a new way of doing business.

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For some, this means putting restrictions on the number of people who can enter the store at any given time. While others have been forced to only offer delivery or curbside pick-up.

You'd presume that these unprecedented events would spark compassion in the populace at large — but you'd be wrong.

Customer service industries and jobs have always been thankless to some degree, but with the possibility of another lockdown looming on the horizon — things have gone from bad to worse.

More and more workers are reporting issues of abuse and blatant disrespect.

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"I work a retail job that has been forced to only offer curbside pickup," Reddit user unbirthdaygurl said. "They told me my job was [expletive], I was [expletive], and I would only ever be as [expletive] as I am now while I desperately tried to explain it was government mandated[sic]."

These types of behavior are having an increasingly negative impact on essential workers overall mental health.

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According to an article written by the American Psychological Association, 54% of essential workers claimed to have relied on unhealthy habits, such as drugs and alcohol, to get them through the pandemic.

On top of that, essential workers are nearly three times as likely to be diagnosed with a mental health disorder, post-pandemic.

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Among the many mental health disorders, acute anxiety, as well as depression, are the two main culprits. As a result, experts have cautioned that this could result in an increased suicide rate.

So how can we as a society help to stem the tide of mental health issues that are currently running rampant?

In a recent article published by Columbia Magazine, a sample pool of Wal-Mart employees were asked what changes, if any, would make their working lives better. They echoed the immortal words of Aretha Franklin, saying that it all comes down to respect — R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

For most workers, money doesn't ever enter into the equation.

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Although sociologist Adam Reich is quick to point out that many Wal-Mart employees are barely making ends meet. “But more fundamentally," he says, "there is a baseline of human dignity that associates feel they’re being denied.”

So the next time you're stuck waiting in line or your pick-up order is running late, do your best to be patient and kind.

If you're feeling frustrated, you had better believe that the 18-year-old kid at the checkout is feeling that tenfold. Essential workers aren't the cause of COVID-19, and we'd do well to remember that without their hard work and tenacity — we'll never find a solution.