That Aesop Fable depicts a shepherd boy who alarms villagers over and over so many times about seeing a wolf threatening their sheep that the guardians just grow tired of taking precautions. They grow so used to being alarmed that they just drop their guard.
Then, when the hungry beast does appear to attack their herd, it's a calamity for the sheep and for the shepherds, whose ears had just grown tone deaf, tired of being on guard so much of the time.
Now, that "fatigue" of being on alert 24/7 appears to be setting in on many of us as the virus threat gets old. We've heard so much about COVID-19 that many of us have become complacent. We "forget" to wash our hands. We automatically extend our hands for a traditional welcome. We stand in natural proximity to friends and even casual acquaintances. We've worn a mask so many times and we didn't get sick so we've decided it's too much trouble and a bother, anyway. Our brain is just tired of being in overdrive with fear so we just start backing off those guidelines that help keep the virus away. Quarantine fatigue sets in.
We've become acclimated to the virus threat. We've forgotten wiping down groceries or we've walked through a mall not even thinking of social distancing. Yes, it's only human to revert back to the way things were a long three months ago. But that is a mistake. It's still dangerous to ignore reality for what it is. According to latest scientific information, the most common way to become infected with the virus is close to close personal contact.
We all need to fight that fatigue. We need to keep our distance, wear that mask, keep cleaning surfaces, keep those Zoom meetings going. Remind ourselves that we want to keep our families safe and this is the way to do do that. Focus on the positive and remind yourself of how your actions can protect daily and friends.
It's a tough job to be on alert all the time, but we all need to fight quarantine fatigue and stay safe.