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'Quarantine Fatigue' and what to do about it

What initially seemed urgent and necessary, now might feel less important and more aggravating.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — As the pandemic and associated restrictions go on, many people tend to be less likely to adhere to recommended guidelines for health and safety.

One of the terms for this is “Quarantine Fatigue," and it simply means that over time people are exhausted with the restrictions, isolation, and life changes that have been imposed on them. 13 ON YOUR SIDE spoke with psychologist Dr. Nicole Beurkens about how to handle it.

"What initially seemed urgent and necessary, now can feel less important and more aggravating. This happens because our brain has now adjusted to the presence of potential dangers related to pandemic, so it stops responding as much as it did initially," explained Dr. Beurkens.

"We’ve all become more acclimated to the situation, so feel less anxiety and vigilance about distancing, hand washing, and other safety precautions. Fear has also reduced over time for most people, which makes us less likely to continue with major changes to our routines and activities."

Some things that can help people continue taking recommended safety measures:

  • Don’t overload on information – stick with 1-2 credible sources of information about the pandemic, rules, and recommendations
  • Set up routines to make it easier to follow recommendations – keep a mask by the door, in your purse or backpack, and in your vehicle; have hand sanitizers out in plain sight
  • Engage in lower-risk social activities – it’s easy to feel lonely and isolated, but we need to consider what is safe. Instead of avoiding all social activities, consider which options may be safer – outdoor activities, fewer people, masks when in groups indoors, etc.
  • Use helping others as motivation – You may not have a high level of fear for yourself at this point, especially if you don’t know people who’ve been really ill. Finding motivation to stick to guidelines can be more difficult when you’re not as anxious, so find motivation in doing things to help others stay safe and healthy.

For more insights like these from Dr. Nicole Beurkens, visit her website.

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