Pandemic Fatigue Recovery

There’s been a lot of writing about Pandemic/Coronavirus fatigue. The idea that we are becoming less cautious as our brains start to put the brakes on the alarms we had in the initial phases of the pandemic. Many of these articles discuss how to get over it and why it’s important. I have seen far less information on the how we do this in a sustainable way to support our brain as it will continue to adapt to our new introductions over time. After all, it’s likely the way we engage with one another is going to change society-wide over the long run. Being prepared and using this opportunity to shape what that looks like for us might be just the thing to help us have greater control over our future.

The human brain is evolved to adapt to new circumstances and we don’t notice it! It makes us bad at forecasting how we will feel about something and how quickly we will return to our baseline. This is why we get frustrated by the continued restrictions or new practices we are required to adopt to mitigate the pandemic and why so many have started going back out, limiting mask use, etc. It’s why we want to return to work and school and are becoming frustrated that it isn’t happening.

Cognitive adaptation is one way we learn; we take in new information and add it to our repository and then continue to move on. But in a crisis situation, it can become detrimental as the situation continues and our brain defaults to a “normal” instead of remaining in a heightened state of awareness. Remaining aware to all the threats can however be exhausting, especially as it limits our ability to be social. So, today what I want to discuss is how we adapt to a new situation so that our default is the new “normal” instead of a tiring heightened sense of awareness. We have talked about how your mind can be hacked to develop new habits and I’ve been discussing Recovery Rituals in my workshops (some upcoming if you are interested!).