How to keep a good compliance of Covid preventive measures and deal with the behavioural fatigue:
The behavioural fatigue regarding the compliance of the measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus has been anticipated by scientist since the beginning of the pandemia. They were worried about the possibility that we lose commitment at following the measures when they would be more necessary.
This could happen because according to behavioural sciences, human beings don’t act rationally. If Coronavirus had the size of T-Rex it could be easier to comply to any preventive measure, but we are protecting from a danger of a microscopic size, so small that we cannot see it. Even if we can see the consequences, sick people and deaths, we still need to trust that is real, and, sometimes, when the atmosphere gets familiar we tend to relax and forget the danger, this is why estimulating some irrational triggers may help us incorporate preventive habits.
In this way, using the principles of behavioural science, some professionals created nudges that were used widely in order to help people integrate some preventive habits irrationally. Some of those nudges are now very familiar for us, for example, singing happy birthday song when washing your hands or using alternative handshakes with the elbows.
It’s been now some months that we have been following preventive measures and they feel now as part of our daily life routines.
Whether you sing or not happy birthday at this moment, you already know how to wash your hands accurately, paying attention also to the space between the fingers and the skin folds. You probably have a collection of masks at home, with different levels of filtering in which you are becoming, step by step, an expert, and you know how to maintain them in good conditions. You have probably prepared a place in your house to keep them clean and fresh and also have a breathable bag to carry them when going out or during travels.
You put the mask on and off when necessary and you pay attention on keeping the security distance. It’s a new habit that we have acquired, that is, in fact, one of the main reasons of our success as human species is our ability to adapt to new contexts in a short amount of time.
However, wearing a mask may be tiring, especially when it’s hot, makes breathing a little bit uncomfortable because of the filtering characteristics and makes difficult to talk to other people, without speaking louder, since you can’t see the mouth of the other one.
So, what to do when you have the impulse to pull out the mask in a context that you should wear it?
The natural instinct makes you just pull it down for a second in order to breath normally and then replace it to the right position.
It is definitely not easy to control our behavior in this cases, mainly, because we can’t see the danger with our eyes. So we need to remember why we are doing that and trust that it’s necessary to use that uncomfortable item.
But after some time repeating the same situation in similar contexts, it starts to feel familiar to us and the fear alarm disappears.
Here you have some ideas that may be useful for a good compliance:
The best way to keep an habit is creating a routine. Wash your hands regularly and keep your masks in a fresh and clean place at home. Wash the cloth ones regularly and don’t use the disposable ones for too long. When the mask is well maintained is more efficient and comfortable to wear.
Keep the distance during coffee breaks
This is probably one of the most difficult moments to keep your mask on. Being with your colleagues feels safe, and that’s beautiful, however you shouldn't forget that masks are important to keep all of you safe. A good option in this case, especially if you want to eat or drink something, is keeping the security distance of one meter and a half when you meet your peers for a pause.
Follow the rules in the office
Use the gel and keep the distance between your colleagues, in case that there is a low level of accountability try to contact the responsible person and try to understand and negotiate. The preventive measures are for the common benefit.
Do not relax in public transport
Here the difficulty regards breathing. Inside the metro or in an bus it feels difficult to breath with your mask on and your body asks you to remove it. However it is a context when it is especially important to keep the distance and wear personal protective equipments PPE.
If you are travelling far increase the level of protection of your PPE
In case you need to take an airplane or a train, the number of people that you can be in contact to would increase exponentially, so prepare yourself mentally and choose high protective equipments.
How use self-nudging for creating new habits
There are several techniques, for example:
You can use the old technique of writing a beautiful reminder with the reason why you are doing that, and keep it in a visible position.
Change the framing of the decision
You can think that wearing or not the mask is a possibility to help others live a healthier life, and if everybody does, we protect each other. So you could do it for a common benefit. If you fail we all fail.
Reducing the accessibility of situations that may be hazardous
Avoid unnecessary risks that you cannot control. If you are in a context where people don’t show accountability try to do your best keeping the security distance and keeping your mask on.
Use social pression and personal commitment
If you can tell a friend and follow up your progresses and struggles together.
The figures are showing now an increase of cases in some regions, so it is important to be serious with the preventive measures. Every action to contain the spread of the virus makes a difference from no action at all.
MaskZ’s mission aims to educate the world about the vital importance of PPE so that people can still feel at ease, sexy and valued.
At MaskZ of Sweden, we believe in the power of choices and we want you to make the best ones you can! Come and join us in our mission!