Read This if You're Not Ready to Stop Wearing a Mask
Since March 2020, many of us been waiting for the day we can finally take off the masks and not have to worry about them anymore—but what if you're not ready to stop wearing a one?
The CDC says that "Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance." While this is undoubtedly exciting, naturally, many people may hesitate for various reasons.
Some people do not trust that others are vaccinated and some people still feel safer wearing a mask. Whatever the reason, it's okay if you're not ready to stop wearing your mask. There are no consequences for being extra safe, but you may meet resistance from family or friends. Many people are prepared to go maskless, and it may be difficult for them to understand why you are continuing to wear one.
If you're struggling to deal with the pressure that comes from wearing a mask or feel as if you're ridiculous, you're not alone. Here are four important points you need to read if you're not ready to stop wearing a mask.
1. Take Your Time
You don't have to follow the timeline of the CDC or what your friends think you should do—you get to decide when you take off the mask in your own time. 2020 was a traumatic year, and we're all still recovering. If it seems like everyone's moving forward except you, know that we all heal physically and mentally at different rates. There's nothing wrong with being extra safe or continuing to wear it to protect yourself and others. You could wear it for a few more weeks or a few more months. It doesn't mean you're overreacting or being silly; it means you are doing the right thing for yourself and your health.
2. Don't Give In to Pressure
You may experience pushback from your family and friends. This is not because they are trying to hurt you, but they most likely do not understand or want to move on from the pandemic as quickly as possible. Still, you do not need to give in to accommodate other people's comfort levels. If you're in a store and the owner tells you you don't need to wear a mask or your friend teases you for wearing a mask, you do not have to listen to them. It's your body and it's your choice.
3. You Can Explain—But Only If You Want
Some people may be genuinely curious as to why you still want to wear a mask. It's crucial to remember that you never have to disclose why you are wearing a mask if you are not comfortable doing so. For example, some people are immunocompromised or have other health issues, which means they still have to wear masks, and nobody is entitled to know their personal medical histories. You don't even need to explain yourself if you are wearing a face covering because it psychologically feels better. You are more than welcome to disclose to friends and family why you choose to wear a mask if that's what you want to do, but you never have to do it. You can always say it's a personal choice, and you want them to respect it.
4. You're Not the Only One
It can feel like you are the only person who still wants to wear a mask, but so many people continue to wear masks for various reasons. You don't have to move at anyone's time—you could wear a mask for the rest of your life if you wanted! You are making an entirely rational decision and you're not overreacting. The most important thing is that you feel safe and comfortable. Plus, you spent so much money buying cute outfits to match your adorable masks, so you don't want to get rid of the fab accessory yet!
Need a little more guidance on how to renter the world after a year of being stuck inside? HERE are five tips to help you cope with post-pandemic social anxiety.