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

Kelly Black, executive director of Point Ellice House Museum and Gardens, is working on years of deferred maintenance around the house and property. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Point Ellice House in Victoria looks to patch up during pandemic

Woodpeckers, leaks and rot keep museum head busy

Const. Mat Jones of the CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit joined a team of Saanich police officers and ICBC representatives cracking down on distracted driving at the McKenzie/Quadra intersection in Saanich on March 3. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
‘Leave the phone alone’: 40 distracted driving tickets issued in two hours at Saanich intersection

Saanich police, CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit crackdown on drivers’ cell-phone use

Police seek information after a pedestrian was hit in a crosswalk at the intersection of Goldstream Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway on March 3.(Google Maps)
Witnesses sought in Langford pedestrian hit and run

Suspect is older man driving four-door, gold sedan

The University of Victoria has said some of its students were impacted by an off-campus exposure to COVID-19 last weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria students impacted by off-campus COVID-19 exposure

UVic has not specified where the exposure occurred

This male Dungeness can safely be harvested after passing muster. An official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is not clear how well locals on the Saanich Peninsula are complying with crabbing regulations, but her comments suggest that any problems might be of a minor nature. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Submitted)
Sidney and Sooke record 57 crabbing violations in 2020

While recreational crab fishery has ‘compliance issues,’ no evidence of ‘large scale poaching’

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

Most Read