You may have noticed it among your family, friends, or even co-workers. It may be happening to you. We’re talking about “caution fatigue.” It’s when people start to have low motivation when it comes to following safety guidelines. We’ve seen it before and during hurricane season. We spoke to an expert about why it happens and how to overcome it.
We’re told now that more places are re-opening, caution fatigue, also known as quarantine fatigue, can be a concern because if we let our guard down we can be more susceptible to spreading the virus.
Frequently wash your hands. Stay at least 6 feet apart from others. Wear a mask. Guidelines we are all too familiar with. The message has settled in but so has caution fatigue.
“I absolutely think that caution fatigue is happening now. I think we’ve seen some of that in the news with the big parties that were happening at the beach,” said Sondra Leiggi Brandon, Queen’s Behavioral Health Services Director.
Leiggi Brandon tells us when news of the virus first came out, many became hyper-vigilant.
“But that physiological response is only meant to be short term. So as we have been exposed to prolonged stress or over this time we have more stress depression and anxiety and that weakens our response. So we become desensitized to repeated warnings,” she said.
So how can we overcome caution fatigue? Leiggi Brandon explains since fear is no longer the motivation, we must reframe the way we think about the virus or safety precautions.
“One way is not thinking about what’s the reward, what am I giving up for following these safety precautions, but think about the reward as your health for protecting the health of your family members.”
Aside from caution fatigue, Leiggi Brandon says she’s also seen an increase in people who have more anxiety and depression during this pandemic.
“So I think it’s important to remember that people need to develop positive coping skills and really find ways to take care of each other and take care of themselves and if you need help to get help,” she said.