The New “F” Word

Jul 13, 2020
prevent caution fatigue

While we’re not talking about the latest four-letter expletive, we are talking about an “F” word that will make life miserable: Fatigue. Fatigue is something we’re all familiar with – weariness, exhaustion – but since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, fatigue has, for many, become an inherent part of daily life.Let’s face it, we’re all dealing with a pandemic crisis that most of us have never encountered, so it stands to reason that caution fatigue is a very real by-product. What is caution fatigue? According to Jacqueline Gollan, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, caution fatigue is low motivation or energy to observe safety information.

In the early days of COVID-19 when “quarantine” became the name of the game and fear of the unknown was prevalent, most were hyper-vigilant about disinfecting, social distancing and all-out avoidance of public gatherings. We wanted to do everything we could to ensure we didn’t contract the virus. And while we still want to avoid the virus, the barrage of warnings and mandates over time, coupled with a gained sense of confidence, can challenge our minds to choose riskier activities that set us back on a course toward our perceptions of normal – such as socializing with friends and becoming lax about regular hand-washing.

Here are a few ways you can stay the course and prevent caution fatigue:

  1. Reduce your stress. These days, it’s easy to say but not so easy to do for those out of work and figuring out how to forge ahead. Small steps like deep breathing, listening to music, organizing and taking frequent breaks for a walk or stretch can make a big difference.
  2. Find a new source for inspiration. Try a new hobby, recipe, or create something. Find a new way to reward yourself for making choices that are hard but allow you to stay on guard.
  3. Focus on your health. You can still steer your own ship, but in a safe way that helps ensure your ongoing health. The key is to remind yourself you’re in control and focused inward on your reward and not so much on overriding the pandemic precautions that remain front and center.

When it comes to insuring your ongoing health, Nevada Health Link is the resource Nevadans can turn to for navigating health insurance options for both the interim if you’ve lost your job, and the long run, even outside of open enrollment through a special enrollment period. You can also visit our blog for healthy tips and to learn more about insurance-related resources.