Tired of COVID-19? Here’s How to Deal with Pandemic Fatigue
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It’s been more than eight months since the coronavirus pandemic began and it’s still affecting hundreds of people in the United States and millions worldwide. As we are growing more and more accustomed to living with the coronavirus threat hanging over our heads, many people are also getting tired of practicing all the coronavirus safety measures like working from home, wearing masks and so on.
It’s understandable. We all want this to be over. But neglecting basic precautionary measures is not the way to end the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s important to remain focused and committed to protecting yourself, your family and others from this vicious virus. Here’s what you can do to dodge the coronavirus “fatigue” or “burnout,” according to Carisa Parrish, Co-Director, Pediatric Medical Psychology and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Why it’s difficult to keep up with coronavirus safety measures
The year 2020 brought new rules to the game: wear face masks when in public places, practice social distancing and wash your hands every step of the way. They might not have seemed that hard to keep at first, especially when many people frequently washed their hands anyway, but with time, everything became overwhelming.
“Trying to adhere to anything extra is always a challenge,” said Parrish. “Sustained behavior change is hard. Especially when no one around you is sick, and you just don’t feel like wearing a mask or saying no to things you like to do. But the fact is, the precautions work,” the psychologist added.
COVID-19 risks and consequences
It might feel strange and frustrating to adjust our lifestyles to an invisible virus and live our lives with a threat that seems surreal. For many people, the coronavirus risk doesn’t feel real enough because they still don’t know any sick persons. Unfortunately, because “some people get a bit of a thrill from doing something risky and escaping consequences”, the circle is getting tighter and there’s only a matter of time before all of us will know someone who is or was infected with COVID-19.
How to make it easier to stick to coronavirus safety measures
Stick to your decision
The best way to adjust your behavior to the new normal is to make a commitment and stick to it. Wearing a seatbelt in the car, a helmet when you ride your bike or looking both ways before you cross the street have one thing in common: to keep you, and others, safe. It’s the same thing with wearing a mask or staying about 6 feet away from other people. It might seem inconvenient, but it’s based on the same principle: safety.
Keep up with recommendations
SARS-Cov-2 is a new virus, that’s why information and recommendations made by health specialists can change overnight. One minute you need to disinfect your groceries, next thing you know, the risk of contracting the virus from groceries is exceedingly small. One day we are told we have to wear a mask inside the car, the next day, wearing masks behind the wheel is considered dangerous.
As confusing as it may be, you need to stay flexible and keep up-to-date with all COVID-19 information and recommendations. More than that, “sticking with reliable, trustworthy information is essential,” says Parrish. On that note, see 6 Coronavirus Symptoms From CDC – Cases in U.S. (UPDATED).
Practice safety measure until they become second nature
Practice makes perfect. It might not seem like the best mantra when it comes to dealing with a worldwide virus, but it can save your life and the lives of the ones you love. It might be hard to start a new habit, even a simple one like flossing, but if you commit to it, it will eventually feel like second nature instead of a chore.
“So, when it comes to COVID-19 protection, you just commit to it, and then over time, you find you’re putting your mask on or washing your hands without thinking,” said Parrish. Children, for example, get accustomed to repetition easier and thrive on a predictable routine. Speaking of children, Get the CDC’s Halloween Safety Guidelines for COVID-19 Here.
Provide your children with choices
According to The World Health Organization (WHO), children over the age of 12 should also wear masks to protect themselves and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. In order for kids to feel ok with wearing face coverings, they should be allowed to customize them and be given time to practice wearing them. The same goes for hand sanitizers. Let your kids pick their favorite scent and make handwashing a fun but responsible habit.
You might also be interested in Are Children Coronavirus Super-Spreaders? Recent Studies Explain.
Keep essential supplies at hand
According to Parrish, it’s important to keep necessary supplies such as face masks, hand sanitizers and other items that could help you stay safe, close at hand. To avoid rummaging around the house for face coverings or hand hygiene items, keep several of them in various places to make sure you get a hold of them whenever you need it.
Use real stories to understand real risks
A lot of people still have doubts about coronavirus, questioning the virus’s transmission, severity and even existence. But the virus is very much real, going from just a flu to a very deadly disease that has already affected millions of people around the world. If you don’t know anyone who’s been infected with COVID-19, read real life stories about people who’ve been through this awful situation “so, it becomes personal to you,” Parrish suggests.
You might also be interested in reading this post: Eating Out Puts You at Bigger Risk for COVID-19, Study Says.
Adapting to the new normal
Everyone is tired, bored and weary to continue abiding by restrictions. We just want to see the end of 2020. Unfortunately, health experts warn that the end of 2020 does not mean the end of coronavirus. Things will not drastically change on 1 January 2021.
This doesn’t mean we should just give up. There might be no end in sight but that’s all the more reason to accept this new reality, stay strong and continue practicing safety habits that can prevent the spread of coronavirus.