With the COVID-19 pandemic, wearing face coverings in public has become the new normal. However, you may be among the individuals who feel anxious, sad or irritated at having to wear a face covering or seeing others in public with face coverings. You are uncomfortable, yet cannot pinpoint why you are feeling these emotions.
There are several reasons why you may feel this way. Some are reminded of a traumatic experience associated with face coverings. For others, they are unsettled by the lack of social cues as face coverings hide key facial features and expressions. You may feel claustrophobic or smothered when wearing your face covering or fearful because it is a constant reminder that you may contract COVID-19.
All of these feelings are understandable and expected with this lifestyle change. Become aware of your feelings and realize they are normal. There are things you can do to lessen the impact.
- The more you wear your face covering the more you get used to it. Wear it at home to acclimate yourself. Wear it while you are sitting, walking around and exercising
- Don’t focus on the discomfort but on the thought that this is a temporary situation and can be tolerated
- Use relaxation techniques such as breathing in and out slowly
- Use your facial muscles by humming, singing or chewing gum
- Listen to inspirational music on your headphones
- Put a couple drops of your favorite soothing fragrance oil on your face covering
If you are concerned about your mental health, don’t hesitate to seek advice. BHS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 800-245-1150.