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Mask anxiety: Why some are reluctant to ditch face coverings

Mask anxiety: Why some vaccinated people are still reluctant to ditch face coverings



Are you ready to take the safety guard off? Some still aren’t, whether it be for safety or because of fear of judgement.

CLEVELAND — For those fully vaccinated, you can go mask-free. That guideline has been cleared by the CDC.

But are you ready to take the safety guard off? Some still aren’t, whether it be for safety or because of fear of judgement.

“I’m hanging out with people that I don’t know all day long,” Kelly Gregory said of her decision to keep masking.

“It makes me feel uncomfortable about what people may think about me if I’m not wearing my mask around others,” Emily Villejoin added.

Mask anxiety looms, for some, but a clinical psychologist with the Cleveland Clinic says much of what drives that anxiety is breaking routine.

“For the past year, we have developed the habit of wearing masks,” Dr. Susan Albers explained. “When we stop a habit, we can feel a little bit off filter.”

So if you’re overwhelmed, Albers’ advice is to just take things slow.

“It may feel uncomfortable for a while, but we are going to ease into it,” she said.

As far as children go, Albers says kids follow what they see. She recommends setting an example, no matter how you feel about masks.

“Modeling and talking with them in a very matter-of-fact and calm way is going to be important,” she told us.

Additionally, Albers says it’s wrong to judge others for their decision, which is what Clevelanders are asking of others themselves.

“Do what makes you feel comfortable and safe, regardless of what anyone else thinks about it,” she said.



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