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

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in Chemainus hit-and-run

Investigation expected to be lengthy and involved

The Cowichan Women Against Violence Society is planning on opening a child and youth advocacy centre. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Child and youth advocacy centre eyed for Cowichan

Cowichan Women Against Violence Society hopes to open centre later this year

CVRD to apply for a grant to improve a 4.85-kilometre section of the Cowichan Valley Trail near Shawnigan Lake. (File photo)
CVRD looks to improve section of Cowichan Valley Trail

District applies for $250,000 grant to widen, upgrade 4.8-kilometre section in Shawnigan Lake

Cowichan Valley writer Jennifer Manuel will headlining YakFest on March 1. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Cowichan Valley writer to headline next YakFest on March 1

YakFest is a B.C.-based monthly women’s event held online via Zoom

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour early on Saturday, Feb. 27. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 vaccination set to start for B.C. seniors aged 80-plus

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

This poster, spreading misinformation regarding COVID-19 restrictions, has been popping up in communities across Vancouver Island.
Poster popping up in Island communities falsely claiming COVID restrictions are over

Unattributed poster claims COVID restrictions ended March 1

(Pxhere)
Compensation fund opens for B.C. students negatively affected by incorrect exam marks

Marks for 2019 provincial exams were incorrectly tabulated

Most Read