Curbing Mask Anxiety

Masks are becoming the new normal in the UK and across the world, to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus. Masks are now compulsory to wear on public transport across England and Wales, and in shops in England.

There are some exceptions for wearing a mask. These include

• If you are suffering with a physical or mental illness or disability
• If you suffer severe stress from mask-wearing
• If you or someone you assist relies on lip-reading for communication
• If you are under the age of 11

If you are exempt from wearing a mask, you do not have to provide evidence of this. If you feel uncomfortable in public settings, where others are wearing masks, you could consider wearing a home-made badge or sign, letting others know that you are exempt.

However, remember that you do not have to disclose to others why you are exempt. The reason for your exemption may be confidential – and you are allowed to keep it that way. Badges or notes that display your exemption could help avoid this situation, or simply “I am exempt for health reasons” or something similar can help to keep your information private.

Being supportive to one another at this time is extremely important.

For those who are required to wear masks, there are some ways to make this new normal more comfortable for you.

Why not try:

• Getting fresh air before and after wearing your mask, to help curb claustrophobia and feelings of anxiety
• Try to sit or travel in ventilated areas – for example, sitting by the window on a bus. A fresh breeze on your face can help you to keep cool and relaxed
• Plan your time so that you don’t have to wear your mask for longer than needed
• Experiment with different mask types – Do you prefer disposable, fabric or home-made masks? Find your favourite type and stick to it to create some comfort
• Suffering with irritability? Try wearing your mask in a different way – tie the mask around a hat, hair-band or your head to avoid soreness and discomfort around the ears
• Place glasses on top of your mask to try and avoid steamed lenses
• Take a distraction with you – listening to music, reading or playing a podcast can help take your mind off anxious thoughts

Mask Safety

Remember, once removing your mask, you should follow the correct steps to safely maintain and dispose them. This may help your peace of mind regarding masks and protecting yourself from the virus.

If you are using a disposable mask:

• Do not touch the outside of the mask, or parts of the mask that have been in contact with your nose and mouth
• Dispose of the mask in a residual waste bin
• Try to wash your hands after touching the mask

If you are using a reusable mask:

• Do not touch the outside of the mask, or parts of the mask that have been in contact with your nose and mouth
• Put the mask in a bag until it can be washed, or put the mask straight into the wash if possible
• Avoid the mask coming into contact with anything else (e.g. putting it in a handbag after use)
• Wash the mask using your usual laundry routine

Remember, if your mask is damaged, replace it with a new one, so you can effectively protect yourself and others around you.

For more advice on wearing masks, please visit the government website here.

If you’d like to speak to a member of staff about our Covid-19 safety procedures, and how we are managing mask-wearing, why not give us a call here, or visit our contact details here.


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