This unintentional phenomenon is called "caution fatigue" - and you have your brain to blame. After months, that sense of imminent fear may have faded. Caution fatigue can result from a decreased sensitivity to repeated warnings says Jacqueline Gollan, who holds two professorships at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Information over load is to blame as well. An excess of information can make it hard to adequately read the environment, understand what is a true threat and whether you're doing enough to address it. Caution fatigue also comes from cognitive challenges. As Eric Zillmer, a professor of neuropsychology at Drexel University in Pennsylvania. explained it. We're trying to manage new, competing and ubiquitous information we haven't yet internalized, like we have driving a car through traffic. It doesn't help that the rules are always changing, or that rules and reopening phases are different on the federal, state, local and personal levels. Or that we really don't even like rules in the first place.
Here are some things you can try to combat quarantine fatigue:
Reduce your stress by practicing self-care: When you can, exercise, cook a warm meal for yourself or meditate.
Shift your mindset by asking yourself, What's the reward I get for the choices that I make relative to what I'm giving up? Maybe the reward is your health, or altruistically the health of your family or others. Or it's that you've mastered staying safe during this pandemic.
Develop visual cues to help develop safe habits. Leave a mask with your keys and attach a small hand sanitizer to the key chain too. Think body lengths to envision social distancing.
Have conversations with friends and loved ones. Share your fatigue, voice your concerns, and compare your habits and reasoning. Validate your new norms. Manage your risks and be good to yourselves too as we make a new path.