It has been months since the first few COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States, and if you’re like a lot of people, your “Corona-fatigue” might be settling in.
For example, do you still diligently keep a 6-foot distance between you and other people?
Are you still wearing your mask as often as you once had? And, are you washing your hands, wiping down your steering wheel, and disinfecting everything that you touch, as you might have back in March and April?
“I’ve observed a phenomenon called ‘caution fatigue’” Jacqueline Gollan told the New York Post. Gollan is an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and noticed a striking difference in Corona-related behaviors as media attention continues to pound home the “be cautious” message.
As we keep hearing these relentless messages, our sensitivity to them decreases.
“[Corona-fatigue] occurs when we become desensitized to stress and warnings and then outweigh the valid risks of injury for the benefits of a reward such as human connection, exercise, or the outdoors. The burden of cautious behavior, especially if prolonged, can seem unnecessary and thus people become vulnerable to suggestions to bend safety rules.”
The problem is our collective fatigue can be disastrous.
Arizona, Florida, and Texas are three epicenters of Coronavirus cases. Over 2.5 million people are confirmed carriers of the virus as the airborne killer continues to move throughout the United States – especially those states that relaxed restrictions.
You might be experiencing “Corona-fatigue” if you feel like the worst of it has passed, though infection numbers clearly disprove that assumption.
Or, if you’re just tired of hearing about COVID and ready to return back to normal life, then fatigue is clearly setting in. After all, continuing to practice basic precautions like social distancing and wearing masks might not seem like a convenient long-term solution.
It’s one thing to take precautions for a month or two. But, ongoing?
“There are different ways to improve your motivation or energy to comply with safety guidelines,” Gollan said.
For example, “update yourself with credible safety information provided by medical professionals,” she advised. This might include simply changing up the sources from which you get your information.
Also, start thinking more outside of just YOU. “Assume more social responsibility or an altruistic approach. More we-thinking and less me-thinking. Improving social fitness. See if you can find alternative ways of socializing and getting support.”
Gollan also recommends that we:
- Start a physical fitness routine to help take care of our bodies
- Make it a goal to express gratitude and stabilize your emotions
- Go to the doctor if we feel unwell rather than trying to power through
- Prioritize a full and restful night’s sleep
She suggested that whispering powerful statements of affirmation and support to ourselves can also help tremendously.
“This is very hard right now, but I will make it through.”