According to the Los Angeles Times on 1/11/21, “over the last seven days, [California] has averaged 44,795 cases per day.”
Numbers like that can be discouraging. It can be really hard to continue quarantining, social distancing, wearing a mask, and taking other precautions set out by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) – we are all tired! But there is reason for hope!
With the rollout of vaccines, there is hope for a better future. We just have to keep being patient. For the future of our families, our communities, and our country.
Now more than ever, you might be feeling the effects of “caution fatigue,” which is another name for what happens when you end up showing less motivation to comply with safety guidelines.
"[Caution fatigue] is reflected when we become impatient with warnings, or we don't believe the warnings to be real or relevant, or we de-emphasize the actual risk," said Jacqueline Gollan, who holds two professorships at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "And in doing that, we then bend rules or stop safety behaviors like washing hands, wearing masks, and social distancing."
Caution fatigue has been observed in previous or everyday life situations, such as when you ignore an alarm of some sort and do not take it seriously because you've heard it before. This mental state happens for a few reasons, including chronic stress, decreased sensitivity to warnings, and the inability to process new information with others.
You can combat quarantine fatigue with self-care, conversations with loved ones, and shifting your mindset so following guidelines seems rewarding instead of dreadful.
Shift Your Mindset
You cannot usually reproduce the initial survival instincts that kicked in at the start of the virus outbreak now that we are well past that first wave of awareness. Making smarter decisions involves rearranging how you perceive risk and reward so that safety precautions no longer seem dreadful. Fear is no longer the motivation, so you need another source of inspiration.
Ask yourself, "What's the reward I get for the choices that I make relative to what I'm giving up?"
Maybe the reward is your health, or altruistically the health of your family or others. Or it is that you've mastered staying safe during the pandemic. Figuring out how you can safely do some part of your normal routine can give your brain something else to control besides limiting your reactions to threats. And you can still feel in control of your health.