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Cruising through the Post-Covid World:...

Cruising through the Post-Covid World: Maskless Faces vs. Anxiety

by Elora Pharai
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Adjusting to the post Covid-19 world is a challenge that none of us ever saw coming. Right now, it appears that for most of us, life has reached a sense of normalcy. When you look around, most people don’t wear masks anymore. In some way, life looks exactly how it used to. However, this cannot be said for all of us. Some of us are still wearing our masks, pockets heavy with bottles of hand sanitizer. This can be for any number of reasons: being immunocompromised, living with someone who is, or even just for one’s own comfort levels. For many people wearing masks, it sometimes feels like we’ve gotten nowhere in the pandemic. Covid still feels like such an active threat, and that’s terrifying. Therefore, being around people who are no longer wearing masks can feel just as scary. This causes a great amount of additional anxiety to foster in one’s mind, making even the most casual of tasks feel daunting.

I still wear a mask when I’m out. At one point, there was a cold going around my campus. I can’t tell you how many times people specified that they weren’t positive for Covid, they just had a cough. Maskless or not, many of our minds are so fixated on Covid that we forget that colds and coughs are extremely common, especially with the changing weather. Nowadays, hearing that one cough or sneeze is enough to cause you to stiffen up in your seat. So, how do we go about this new world? How do we ease that anxiety? I’ve included a few simple tips that may be the answer. 

Practice Social Distancing: No matter what someone is doing, mask or not, you should always remain respectful of their choices. It’s still okay to keep your distance from others if that is what keeps you at ease. If you’re sitting in a lecture hall, you can try and keep a seat or two away from those around you. When standing in line, stand as far from others as you feel comfortable. However, let’s say it’s busy and you can’t social distance as well. Keep your faith in your mask and in your peers, so long as you keep the mask on and keep your hands clean, you should be fine. Try not to overthink these things, or you’ll get lost inside yourself and begin to spiral.

Talk to Someone: Any kind of anxiety can feel terribly isolating. It’s likely that you’re not the only one feeling anxious about the decrease in mask usage. When you’re struggling, it’s never bad to reach out and talk to someone. This could be a friend, a parent, or even a professional, namely, a therapist. If you’re a student in post-secondary, there are tons of counselling services available for you. We’re all navigating this new world together, so know that you’re not alone in learning how to do so.

Keep up with your Vaccines: Other than the masks, our main line of defence is vaccines. Keeping up with the booster vaccines will help keep your overall immunity up, keeping you and those around you as safe as possible. Something that may also help in this area is watching the news for updates in Covid hotspots. If your area is one, then at least you will be aware of it and be able to act accordingly.

Don’t be Hard on Yourself: It’s so easy to criticize yourself. In my case (in the context of low comfort levels), I beat myself up a bit for feeling so out of place in school. Everyone else looked so casual, they weren’t wearing masks, sitting close to each other. Something I’ve learned is that comparing your comfort levels and situation to someone else’s is never productive. Not even a little. We all have different factors to consider when we decide to wear a mask or not. For example, I live with an old person, one who did not do well at all when they had Covid. I also live with many people who are immunocompromised. Some people live alone, and some know that even if they got Covid it would feel like a cold due to past experience. We’re all in a different place, so comparing yourself to others or critiquing yourself will achieve nothing.

 

Works Cited

Herman, Dr. Jaclyn. “5 tips to a safe, healthy fall season.” Brampton Guardian, 27 October 2022, https://www.bramptonguardian.com/opinion-story/10748871-5-tips-to-a-safe-healthy-fall-season/. Accessed 27 October 2022.

“Unmasking anxiety: How to cope as mask mandates lift.” IndigoHealth, MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care, 17 March 2022, https://www.indigohealth.com/blog/un-masking-anxiety-how-to-cope-as-mask-mandates-lift/. Accessed 13 October 2022.

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