No-Mask Anxiety: What Can I Do About My Anxiety & Stress Caused By Mask Restrictions Being Lifted? by Dr. Sanam Hafeez
Q. "My city and school district just lifted mask restrictions and regulations. This has given me a lot of anxiety. Is this normal? What can I do about it?"
A. For nearly two years, some form of mask mandate has been in place in most parts of the country. What was once so foreign a concept has become second nature to many. The Omicron variant recently peaked and many became used to being extra vigilant once again. While not everyone may have felt 100 percent comfortable riding a bus, subway, going to see a movie or grocery shopping, the mask provided a level of security, protection and sense of control that will diminish now.
Any type of change is difficult. When we first began wearing face masks two years ago, it felt bizarre, uncomfortable and unnatural to most people, even for those who 100 percent believed in them philosophically and from a health standpoint. Over time, people become accustomed to a new way of life. Now, as we gradually revert back, that also takes an adjustment.
Of course, those at higher risk have the option to wear a mask, but they know that if others don’t have to, it leaves them more vulnerable. Without the law on their side, it puts them in a situation where they don’t have any power to take a stance. Their choice is either to wear a mask and be uneasy or to stay home and miss things that might be essential for their livelihood, their health or their children’s needs and well-being. Until COVID-19 numbers go down even more significantly, it is certainly understandable why immunocompromised individuals will face greater anxiety and have a tougher situation to navigate than others.
Anxiety, in general, is fear of the unknown and ruminating about the future and contemplating “what if” scenarios in one's head. Anxiety can also be a fear of losing control. For some people, being in a situation where everyone was mandated to be masked gave them a sense of order and control. Use logic to get a grip on the situation. Inform yourself. Look at the COVID-19 statistics in your area. Remember that you still can wear a mask yourself as there is no law against the wearing of masks. You have the option to stay out of many events/places that you deem unsafe unless they are mandated by law or work.
The content on 30Seconds.com is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider. The opinions or views expressed on 30Seconds.com do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.
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