NATIONWIDE — As leaders and health officials work to educate people about the importance of wearing masks and following social distancing, some are working to understand why people are rolling the dice with their health, gathering in large groups despite the warnings not to.
What You Need To Know
- Some of the effects of COVID-19 exhaustion is that people take more risks
- Sociologist says focusing on what can you control in life will be better for you
- Get more coronavirus coverage here
Experts are calling it “COVID-19 exhaustion."
It goes beyond people just being sick of quarantine and wanting to have fun. The effects of the exhaustion are causing people to take more risks.
For the past three months, University of Central Florida sociologist Amanda Koontz says the coronavirus pandemic has made life more complicated.
“We have to think through everything,” Koontz said. “So not only are we in this heightened state, but also we’re unable to connect with others in such a way that we typically do in order to heal.”
But with the pandemic, many of those ways of healing — like getting together with friends, going out for a drink, or traveling — are now considered risky behaviors.
Koontz says the side effect of that is that people feel overwhelmed and shut down.
“The more information we receive can actually seem to be almost threatening or negative, because we’re already almost in this fight--or-flight (mode),” Koontz said.
That's tough territory if you are a public official or health expert, trying to relay the latest information and data on COVID-19.
Not to mention, health experts everywhere are attributing a spike in Florida’s COVID-19 numbers to less mask-wearing and less social distancing.
“Once you start getting drained, you just simply don’t think as clearly, as rationally, as compassionately. So you will start acting out in these forms of risky behavior,” Koontz said.
How can a health official break through this exhaustion and make sure people get their message?
“(We should be) framing some of these discussions around what we can do versus what we are unable to do,” Koontz explained. “That offers a sense of solution in a way of being proactive, instead of in this constant sense of reactivity.”
Koontz suggests thinking of wearing a mask like a second-nature routine, rather than something you have to do. With that mindset, she says you should focus on the factors you can control in your daily life, and you might feel less emotionally exhausted.
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