People wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 shop for produce at a market in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

People wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 shop for produce at a market in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

COVID-fatigued British Columbians need specifics, not vague advice: prof

Steven Taylor says most people are following guidelines as best they can

A University of B.C. professor says that with COVID fatigue ramping up as the province reaches one year of restrictions, residents need specific advice from their health officials.

“What people are suffering from at the moment is pandemic fatigue, where people are sick of COVID, sick of the restrictions, they’re tired, they’re irritable… that’s the current state of things,” said Steven Taylor, a clinical psychologist and psychiatry professor at UBC.

British Columbians have been under some form or another of COVID-19 restrictions since the pandemic ramped up in the spring. Those restrictions were loosened for the summer but were tightened up, at first in some regions but now in all areas, at various points throughout the fall and winter.

Current COVID-19 rules ban all gatherings and events, both in public and in private residences. These restrictions are set to expire on Friday, although health officials have hinted they will be extended.

Taylor said that what tired British Columbians need is more specific guidance from their health officials. He pointed to a recent statement, where provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked about what more the people who are following the rules can do.

“For the many who have been doing your part, you may be asking, ‘What more can I do?’ Be the voice of support and encouragement for those who may be wavering in their resolve,” Henry said.

“For the few who have chosen to put aside the public health precautions we all need to follow and make exceptions for themselves, now is your time to join or rejoin us in our efforts. It is never to late to be a part of the team who is making a difference every day across our province.”

READ MORE: ‘Don’t make the Super Bowl a super-spreading day,’ B.C. health officials say

Taylor said he liked the intent behind the statement, but that the advice was too vague.

“People are going to say ‘how? should I tell my friends off?’ It would have been more useful to offer people specific advice.”

He also said that the majority of British Columbians, who are attempting to follow the rules, need more encouragement.

“It’s just like any good manager giving feedback to employees; you start of by telling people what they’ve been doing right, and I think people have been doing great in terms of face mask wearing, and I would have led with that message,” Taylor said.

As British Columbians wait for more advice from provincial health authorities, Taylor said there’s a few options for boosting up adherence both for yourself and those around you.

“Ask yourself; what could I have done better in terms of social distancing over this past week? You might find that you automatically slip into your old habits,” he said, like forgetting a mask or catching up when you spot a friend at a restaurant.

The point, he noted, is not to beat yourself up after, but simply to ask – what could you do better next time?

And if all else fails, Taylor suggests looking back at what happened at the end of the 1918 flu pandemic.

“Look at the big picture; we could be out of this by the end of the year and then we could be in for a great time,” Taylor said. “People are predicting… a sort of an emergence of a short-lived roaring ’20s, where people will become hyper social after all this is over. So that’s something positive to look forward to.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kukpi7 (Chief) Judy Wilson of the Neskonlith Band had words of praise for the consultation between her people and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure on an ongoing highway project. (Black Press file photo)
Collaboration on Shuswap highway project receives national award

Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson says expansion will open new economic opportunities for the band

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Chase RCMP have been focusing during February on prohibited drivers and stolen vehicles in the North Shuswap. (File photo)
RCMP crack down on prohibited drivers in North Shuswap

Help from community aids with arrests in Anglemont and Scotch Creek

Work on replacement of the Solsqua-Sicamous bridge is underway. (File Photo)
Solsqua-Sicamous Bridge work on pace for June 2021 completion

Replacement of the 100-year-old span began last August.

Craig Gruden, (Little) Donny Kleinfelder, (Big) Donny Kleinfelder, Dale Kristensen, Dave Schwandt, Alyssa Schwandt, Tristan Schwandt and Angela Kirstein will feature in Backroad Truckers, a Barriere-based History channel series. (CORUS Entertainment photo)
Shuswap auto recycler breaks out of Rust Valley for Backroad Truckers

White Lake’s Dave Schwandt joins Big Donny Kleinfelder on new History Channel series

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Feb. 23, 2021
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here are the stories that made waves in the Okanagan-Shuswap

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Arrow Lakes Caribou Society said the new caribou pen near the Nakusp Hotsprings is close to completion. (Submitted)
Maternity caribou pen near Nakusp inches closer to fruition

While Nakusp recently approved the project’s lease, caribou captures are delayed due to COVID-19

BC Housing has proposed that the emergency winter shelter at Victory Church at 352 Winnipeg Street be extended as a shelter until March 31, 2022. It was originally intended to be open until April 1, 2021. (Jesse Day - Western News)
One more year of ‘temporary’ homeless shelter in Penticton?

BC Housing has applied to extend Victory Church as a shelter for those experiencing homelessness

Parkview Elementary Kindergarten student Siddhalee Martselos was among many students and staff at the school participating in the Pink Shirt Day anti-bullying event on Feb. 24. (Parkview Elementary/Facebook)
In Photos: Parkview Elementary’s many shades of Pink Shirt Day

Many students and staff at the school dressed up for the annual anti-bullying day.

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Most Read