Tips that can help reduce the anxiety:
1. Call it what it is: Wearing a face mask during a global pandemic is anxiety provoking, so if you already have heightened levels of anxiety, it’s perfectly understandable that you may be feeling more anxiety at the moment.
2. Desensitize: Familiarize yourself with your face mask, get to know the texture, the material, the colour and the smell. Spend a few minutes examining it and being mindful of the fact that wearing this is ultimately an act of compassion for yourself and others.
3. Practice: Consider wearing your face mask at home for short periods until you become more comfortable with the feeling. Begin by just allowing yourself a few moments to familiarize yourself again with your face mask and then try wearing it for just a few minutes at a time. Be kind to yourself, it may practice.
4. Short Trips: Consider making two shortened trips to the supermarket/shop instead of one long trip if you feel this would help with your anxiety. The same with any public transport trips you may need to take, maybe you can break the trip into more manageable chunks.
5. Pursed-Lip breathing technique: This technique can be used to calm feelings of anxiety and stress particularly when wearing a face mask. Firstly, try to relax your neck and shoulders; then with your lips together, breath IN through your nose. Exhale slowly - and intentionally - through your pursed lips. The idea being that your exhale (through pursed lips) is longer than your inhale. This breathing technique also activates the vagus nerve- kick starting our bodies natural rest and digest system.