New government guidelines could make face masks mandatory in busy outdoor areas as ministers consider stricter coronavirus measures.
Government officials are growing increasingly concerned about public compliance with lockdown as the UK records it’s deadliest day of the pandemic so far and are now considering tougher action.
Believing there are few options left, Health Secretary Matt Hancock and other ministers have been examining the case to extend the use of face masks. It is now thought that face covering could be made mandatory in busy outdoor areas. Masks are already compulsory in public transport, in railway stations, airports and shops.
The government advises wearing a face masks if it’s difficult to social distance from others and are currently reinforcing the message to stay home unless necessary such as work, grocery shopping or escaping an abusive situation.
This may come as bittersweet news to some as face masks are not the most comfortable accessory to wear. They’ve been known to cause breakouts, skins irritations and cause feelings of claustrophobia and anxiety.
As the government considers tougher restrictions, the idea of wearing face masks more often may seem daunting to some and there are ways to cope with the anxiety that surrounds face coverings.
1. Focus on your breathing — Breathing exercises can help settle your body into a state of relaxation when you’re stressed or overwhelmed.
2. Increase your knowledge about face masks — The more we understand something the less we fear it.
3. Practice wearing your face mask — Like most things that trigger anxieties, we have a tendency to avoid them. Avoidance helps shorten our encounter with our fears and we usually have to face them at some point. Encounters with the things that scare us in a controlled and safe environment can help us become more comfortable with them.
4. Choose a face mask that fits differently — Try a mask that hangs down your neck, rather than one that fits around your jaw. This type of covering is called a “neck gaiter” which may feel less restricting.
5. Add a comforting scent — It may help to add a scent to your mask such as lavender oil which is know to be relaxing.
6. Talk to someone about your concerns — Talking through your anxieties may help you understand why wearing a face mask leads to uncomfortable feelings.
7. Keep your body cool – While difficult in winter, try wearing loose-fitting clothing and limit your time indoors.