8 Steps to Manage Anxiety Around Wearing Face Masks

Jul 21, 2020 | COVID, Anxiety, Mental Health

Are experiencing anxiety because of the recent requirement to wear face masks in public places? Do you fear having a panic attack when you have a face mask on? If so, we have listed 8 steps that you can take to help you manage your own fears while wearing a face mask.

  • Learn to relax the body – Learning to relax the muscles of the body is a powerful tool to manage stress and anxiety. One strategy to relax the muscles is to use progressive relaxation.  Start by tensing all of the muscles in the body and holding this tension for 5 seconds. Then focus on relaxing the muscles for about 1 minute. Repeat this process 3 times and you will notice that your body will typically feel more relaxed. Remember that it is difficult to feel anxious if your body is completely relaxed.
  • Focus on your breathing – Take slow deep breaths to calm your feelings of anxiety. Focus on breathing from the diaphragm instead of the upper chest area. This will allow more oxygen into your lungs which will make it easier to relax. Also, focus on relaxing the body while you are breathing these slow deep breaths. 
  • Give your mind something to focus on – Give your mind something to focus on besides the mask. The more you focus on the mask, the more likely you are to feel constricted and anxious. Instead, think about the things around you. For example, if shopping, focus on the items that you are looking for instead of the mask that you are wearing. 
  • Develop a tolerance for wearing the mask – It is often helpful to practice wearing the mask. Practice wearing the mask for a short interval and then slowly add more time. Most people discover that they can develop a tolerance for wearing masks by practicing.
  • Get a mask that is personalized – It is often easier to wear a mask if the mask feels more personal. For example, wear a mask that reflects your school colors or has logos of your favorite teams. Masks are easier to wear when it feels like they are an expression of our own interests and personality. 
  • Take frequent breaks – Don’t just “tough it out” if you become anxious while wearing a mask. Take frequent breaks where you can safely remove your mask and calm your mind and body. 
  • Use aromas – Aromas can give your mind something to focus on besides the feel of the mask on your face.  Use aromas that are pleasant to you, but that does not overwhelm the sense. 
  • Use self-talk – Use words of self-encouragement. Don’t let your thoughts escalate to the “worse case scenarios”. Focus on positive thoughts instead. 

New Dimensions Can Help!

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit www.mhthrive.com to learn more.