Why Aren’t People Following COVID Guidelines?

We are closing in on the one year mark for COVID-19 except now it is 2021.

Wearing masks, staying 6 feet apart and washing our hands should be a habit now, but why aren’t people following the guidelines?

Well, that is a very interesting question and I am sure there are many answers, but the simplest one is that we are all tired. Tired of the restrictions. Tired of following the rules. Just plain tired.

Why Are We Tired of COVID-19?

  • The reluctance to follow the recommended COVID-19 guidelines is happening in part because they keep changing. Changing guidelines are to be expected as we learn more about the virus. Some of the recommendations made nearly a year ago no longer apply. The science behind COVID-19 continues to evolve and as recommendations change, we need to change and adapt with them.
  • “Following the guidelines doesn’t seem to make a difference.” Most of us are doing our part but the numbers keep rising. Imagine if you went on a diet, restricted all the foods you love, exercised like crazy – and gained 20 lbs. It would be hard to continue sticking with that plan when there’s no reward. Following COVID-19 guidelines may seem to some that it is not making a difference and as a result the attitude becomes, “why bother?”.
  • We see people in positions of authority not doing their part. Politicians and medical professionals are travelling internationally when we can’t see our family down the street. The attitude becomes, “if they are travelling then I’m going to visit my grandma, my parents, or friends.”
  • Trusting the government also influences compliance. Mixed messages. Politicians talking out of both sides of their mouths. The constant changing of messages. It’s incredibly confusing.

What the WHO Says…

The World Health Organization (WHO) has labelled the change in attitude as COVID Fatigue. COVID Fatigue is defined as a:

“demotivation to follow recommended protective behaviours, emerging gradually over time and affected by a number of emotions, experiences and perceptions”.

The organization described it is a “natural response” to a prolonged global health crisis, which manifests itself in an unwillingness to follow guidelines and recommendations, whether social distancing with friends or mask-wearing; a decreased effort to remain informed about the pandemic; and, finally, the possession of lower risk perceptions related to Covid-19.” [source: www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/culture/a35205563/why-are-people-breaking-the-covid-rules-psychology-explained/]

Symptoms of COVID Fatigue

Feelings attributed to COVID Fatigue can range from tension, anxiety and anger to confusion and depression. Are you finding it harder to put on that mask and/or stay away from friends and family? How about shopping for non-essential items – do you miss the excitement of seeing what’s new? Do you miss the human interaction at work, the gym, public gatherings, restaurants, even the library?

What YOU Can Do About COVID Fatigue*

*Please keep in mind, some of the suggestions made (i.e. ‘get out of dodge’) don’t comply with current restrictions… but you’ll get the idea!

As I’ve said before, we may not be in the same boat, but we are definitely in the same storm. I know it’s hard based on my own personal experiences. I know that everyone’s mental health is suffering. I know that we are all tired. I know that staying positive, staying safe, staying healthy both physically and mentally is a challenge.

I also know the vaccination plan is being implemented and we must ALL do everything we can to stay safe, protect ourselves and our community.

Listening. Guiding. Caring.


1 thought on “Why Aren’t People Following COVID Guidelines?”

  1. Annette this is excellent. I see you are still doing really good work. What a wild time to be alive! Take care.

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