Sick of COVID-19 restrictions? Ways you can fight 'caution fatigue'

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Hasty reopenings, mass protests, and sheer defiance could all be contributing to the rise in COVID-19 cases across the nation.

But now, some psychological experts think there could be another factor.

A psychiatry professor at Northwest University is calling it "caution fatigue."

One Triangle psychologist said it could come in a couple of different varieties.

"You're so comfortable and casual that you forget safety measures. But I'm also hearing caution fatigue as people getting so tired of their routine and so caged-in that they want to go out at all costs," she said. "They want to go to bars. They want to go to events where they're crowded. And they're letting their emotions take over."

Orenstein said that in addition to the risk of physical illness from virus, there are mental health risks as well from anxiety about contracting it to depression over being isolated.

"We, as psychologists, are very concerned about people's health and safety. It's not political. We just want to make sure everybody is emotionally and physically healthy and following basic safety guidelines," she told ABC 11.

Orenstein said the key to not falling into the trap of "caution fatigue" is to have a plan to ward off boredom and resisting the temptation to get out into crowds with others who are ignoring health mandates like wearing masks and social distancing.

"For emotional health to prevent depression it is important to have things to look forward to, to have new activities, all those things are so important, but we have to get more creative," she said.

She suggested finding new hobbies such as baking, gardening, and painting.

Also, adopting a new pet, going on nature hikes, reading books and magazines, anything that will occupy your mind are good strategies.

"That will go a long way in helping prevent caution fatigue," she said, and she added that she just hopes people will remember that what they do could affect others.

"My concern is that people won't take basic safety measures into play and think that they're invincible," she said. "And that's scary for everybody because we're all impacted by each other's behavior here."
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