A family video chatting rather than gathering in person during COVID-19.
Healthy Living

How to Approach Caution Fatigue with Loved Ones

Nov 19 2020
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Our lives have changed so much since the COVID-19 pandemic hit earlier this year. Not only are we not seeing loved ones as regularly, we are also spending much more time at home.

At first, we hoped this would only last for a short time. But now, months later, we are still working to stop the spread of this virus.

Many of us are currently experiencing something called “caution fatigue.” It is also known as “quarantine fatigue” and “COVID-19 fatigue.” Whatever you call it, it is definitely real, and we have some tips to help you handle it.

What causes caution fatigue?

Simply put, when you are tired of taking precautions to help stop the spread of COVID-19, you are experiencing caution fatigue. The signs of caution fatigue vary from person to person and can include stress, depression, fear, anxiety and impatience. It can also impact how productive you are, how well you sleep and the way you eat. For some people, these are just minor feelings. For others, they are all-consuming emotions.

Caution fatigue is dangerous because it can cause us to make bad decisions. For example, you may be sick of wearing a mask, so you head out into public without one. If you miss hanging out with your close friends, you may invite all of them over for dinner. Maybe you feel like this situation will never end, so there is no point in taking precautions. You may also be tired following instructions every day.

When experiencing these feelings, it is important to take a deep breath, center yourself and remember that we are all in this together. Another way to cope is to take your focus off yourself and work to help support your loved ones during this time.

Here are some tips on how to approach caution fatigue with your family and friends.

Stay connected

Since most of us have limited in-person interaction these days, staying in touch with loved ones through technology is one of the best ways to curb caution fatigue.

Set up weekly calls with your parents or grandparents. Use different technologies, such as video chats, to see their faces on a regular basis. If you need an activity to pass the time, consider helping an elderly neighbor by raking their leaves or picking up their groceries for them. Little acts of kindness always go a long way.

Stick to the plan

Even when you don’t feel like it, it is still important to follow all health precautions pertaining to COVID-19. Be a role model for your family and friends when it comes to these precautions. Plus, the longer you practice precautions consistently, they will start to feel like your normal routine.

Encourage exercise

Exercise can turn your mood around while also helping you stay physically healthy. Remember to stay active during this time and encourage your loved ones to do the same.

Get together with them for exercises like kayaking, hiking, biking or tennis where you can socially distance. You can also set up a daily step challenge for your entire family to compete in virtually. Have you come across a new workout during quarantine that you love? Share it with your siblings, cousin or a friend.

Send a care package

We all have at least one extremely extroverted family member who is really struggling with social distancing right now. Consider sending them a care package to brighten their day. It could be as simple as flowers and a note and as elaborate as a meal from their favorite restaurant. Whatever the gesture, your loved one will feel better knowing someone is thinking of them.

Don’t overshare bad news stories

It is very easy for us to focus on all the negatives during this time. However, watching a lot of news is a major contributor to caution fatigue. So, instead of sending your family members articles about the skyrocketing COVID-19 case numbers, send them a funny video of a dog instead. Try to spread positivity on your personal social media channels as well.

Be understanding and kind

Most important of all, be understanding and kind during this time. Maybe you aren’t on the same page as some of your loved ones right now. Maybe you feel they are being reckless or overly cautious during this time. Continue to have open dialogue with both your family and friends about everyone’s comfort levels. Don’t dismiss anyone’s concerns. At the same time, don’t feel pressured into doing something you are not comfortable with.

Caution fatigue is serious because it can lead to depression. If you or a loved one is showing symptoms of depression, seek professional help right away.

Learn about the behavioral health services we offer at Mercy Health and find a provider near you.


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