Feeling Anxious About Dropping Your Face Mask? Coping Strategies to Help
As cities and states drop their mask mandates, some Americans may be feeling anxious about dropping this facial covering. After two years of wearing a mask, it can be difficult to wrap your head around going out in public without one. While some people may be celebrating the end of mask mandates, others may be feeling anxious about this significant change in everyday living.
Here are a few things to consider if you are feeling anxious about removing your mask in the weeks to come.
Understand Feeling Anxious is Natural
Do not beat yourself up if you feel anxious about removing your mask. It is natural to feel uneasy. This feeling of anxiety and stress is particularly more pronounced if you are immunocompromised. Give yourself grace in working through these emotions. Understanding anxiety in general and how to combat these issues can go a long way in helping you to deal with the specific feelings directed at getting rid of your mask.
Consult with Your Healthcare Provider
You may find it helpful to consult with your healthcare provider to learn if removing your mask is a good choice for you personally. If you have no underlying health conditions, your trusted doctor will be able to alleviate your concerns. If you do have reasons to still wear a mask, this professional will be able to guide you to help you to understand when wearing a mask may still be a good idea. The bottom line is that your healthcare provider should be someone that you lean on as you navigate this situation.
It is important to keep in mind that the world is in a completely different place than it was two years ago when it comes to fighting back against the virus. Back when the virus was first discovered, the best tools that the world had were masks and social distancing protocols. In the year 2022, we have a whole arsenal of tools designed to contain and treat the virus.
The best way that you can protect yourself is through the use of vaccines and booster shots. Getting your booster shot should give you the peace of mind that you are as protected as you can be. In addition to protecting against catching the virus, these vaccinations also greatly reduce the chances that you get seriously ill or die as a result of the virus.
Understanding the data behind how well these vaccinations work can help to reduce the stress you may feel about taking off your mask. In addition to the vaccinations, you can also learn more about the wealth of therapeutics and treatments that scientists have developed over the last few years. These tools have also made the virus much less of a risk than it was when it was first discovered.
Trust the Science
If you are feeling uneasy about removing the mask, it may help you to dive into the science behind whether or not people need to be wearing masks. At the beginning of the pandemic, the severity of the virus necessitated the masks. However, the last few variants have proven to be less severe, making them less dangerous to the average person. Just as you followed the science at the beginning of the pandemic, you can feel confident in following the data now that the virus is running out of steam.
Remove Masks Gradually
The choice to wear a mask is not an all or nothing approach. If you have been wearing a mask anywhere outside the house, maybe you want to try removing it in less crowded situations before ditching it completely? For example, try taking off your mask in small social situations with trusted friends and family before going without a covering in large settings with strangers. Easing into this gradually will help to alleviate the anxiousness that you may be feeling as you make this transition. Pick the circumstances that you feel most comfortable removing a mask and go from there.
It is important to remember that while the virus may be moving from the pandemic stage to an endemic status, COVID-19 is here to stay. Understanding how to handle your own personal risk will help you to decide how to proceed moving forward.