Rachel Dubrow, LCSW
Ready to un-mask?
The CDC's newest update to mask guidelines has a lot of people wondering how and when they're ready to "un-mask" themselves. Here are some tips from a non-medical therapist and considerations to help guide your choice. What I'm sharing here does not substitute for medical advice, so check with your healthcare practitioner if you want more individualized guidance.
Do you have a reason to stay masked? This could be a medical reason, or a specific place that you feel particularly uncomfortable if you weren't masked. Another consideration here is whether or not you've received the vaccine dose(s) and waited the two full weeks post-vaccination. Consider your answers to this question FIRST before reading on...
Do you feel comfortable keeping masks on? Let's face it, we've been living in this habit of mask wearing for the last 14 months. So, it's become a bit of a new normal. If you're someone who would rather keep a mask on to see how things unfold, go ahead! If you'd rather give this mask wearing thing a break (and have followed the considerations in #1 above), then see how that goes. Remember, you can always re-mask once you un-mask.
Are there situations where you'd feel comfortable trying it out with no mask first? If the answer is yes, start there. This doesn't have to be the "rip the band-aid" approach to non-mask wearing. It's totally okay to ease into it! Again, you can always re-mask and we recommend keeping masks with you at all times as a way to ease some of the anxiety that can come with change.
Prepare for guidelines shifting multiple times in the future and/or for there to be a mask wearing season. Since none of us know what the future hold with this (sorry, no crystal ball here!), we have to prepare to bring out masks again once we un-mask. If you do choose to un-mask, keep a stash of them just in case OR prepare to purchase or make new ones. We can't say for certain what the guidelines will be, but also don't want to be scrambling if the guidelines change again.
The bottom line here is that we may all need to plan for more shifts in guidance. If going with the flow isn't your thing and you want to tackle it, reach out to us. We're here to help.