Tired of feeling cooped up? You’re not alone. So what is quarantine fatigue and how do you know what activities are safe to resume? Dr. Herbert “Buddy” Coard, psychologist at Renown Health, shares his expert advice.
Quarantine Fatigue is Real
The weather is warming up and let’s face it, you want to get back to the things, and people, you love. Chances are, you are having wistful feelings about the way ‘things used to be,’ by now. You are missing friends, family members, clubs or social groups. You could also be thinking about your typical spring or summertime fun – going to barbecues, camping with friends or going to the lake.
As the state opens up, assessing what is in your control and determining your comfort level with going out in public in advance, can help you feel more at ease.
Start by determining your risk for exposure, or “mitigation risk,” to understand your comfort level about the chance of catching COVID-19 (coronavirus).
What is Mitigation Risk?
Certainly almost every decision we make in life involves risk. Even avoiding an opportunity because it seems too risky – that decision in itself can still be hazardous. For example, being afraid of going out in society could lead to negative effects, such as loneliness or severe anxiousness – called avoidance anxiety.
In contrast, being too lax and allowing disease exposure without proper prevention could be a unfortunate misstep for you, and those around you.
How Do You Safely Join Society?
The following three steps will help you determine your risk plan:
- Focus on the “here and now.” This means staying up-to-date with the Washoe County Health District COVID-19 case report, then read and assess the level of precaution you should take.
- Let your imagination guide you. Depending on how you view “here and now,” you could be feeling hesitation to enter society, or you might be eager to get out of the house and back to life. Using your imagination in a positive way will help, regardless of which state of mind you are experiencing. Thinking about the places you are going, the experience you might have and your plan before you go out in public, can help reduce anxiety while ensuring you are prepared.
- Start slow and practice safely. If you are experiencing hesitation to go out in public, start slow and build on that comfort level. Ask yourself what is the reason for your doubt. If it’s because it’s too risky, don’t do it or find another way to accomplish the task safely. And if you are not worried about going out in public and feel good about society opening back up, think about reasonable steps for limiting your exposure. Remind yourself what is reasonable and realize not everyone feels the way you do. That’s okay.
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Public Outing Guidelines
- Wear a mask in public spaces. Show social solidarity by wearing a mask – even if you feel silly. We all know this protects others from potential exposure and it’s better for everyone. Public places such as grocery and retail locations, restaurants and anywhere you are within close quarters with others are places where masks should be worn.
- Research where you’re going. Before you head out the door, look at the business website to learn what precautions and restrictions they have in place.
- Maintain distance. Make it easy for others to keep their distance from you. Limiting face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread. That means, stay 6 feet apart (about 2 arms’ length) or wear a mask. Seeing you behave this way might make others feel pressure to be more responsible.
- Practice frequent hand washing. Continue to practice good hand hygiene. Learn to wash your hands properly from our experts.
- Don’t gather in large groups. Staying out of crowded places and avoiding mass gatherings is recommended for the time being.
Everyone has their own logic on COVID-19 risks. Regularly practicing the preventive measures listed above, is crucial to going out in public and also reducing the spread.
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