Wearing a mask is like an everyday habit for us right now. It is just as natural as putting on clothes before we go out. This is going to feel like that naturally after wearing a mask regularly for more than a year.

Now that many of the countries have already released or are soon going to do so, many people are bound to feel awkward without the mask. It had become like a second extension of their body.

This is completely fine and normal. There is a psychological reason behind it as explained by David A. Moscovitch, professor of psychology at the University of Waterloo.

Why Do You Feel Awkward Without A Mask

“Coming out of the pandemic, we may notice that our anxiety level about interacting with people is a bit higher than normal,” Moscovitch tells CNBC Make It. “For example, you might feel like your social skills are rusty or you might feel self-conscious about “revealing ourselves again to other people at a close distance and without masks,” he says.

People with social anxiety may face this problem even more than those who do not have any social anxiety. It is important to make sure that you are comfortable with not wearing a mask when you are going out but at the same time, you need to push yourself to an extent too. We are all in the same boat right now.

“Try to catch yourself when you’re choosing to avoid even when you aren’t being forced to do so by pandemic-related restrictions,” he says. “Do your very best to summon the courage to push yourself to enter those situations and confront your anxiety.”

A Guide to Removing Your Mask

Follow these expert-approved steps if you’re ready to take off your mask but are worried about doing so.

Grasp the Meaning of Your Anxiety.

When people suffer from anxiety, they tend to worry about the future and play “what if” scenarios over and over in their heads. Hafeez added that the worry can also stem from apprehension about giving up command.

A sense of order and control was restored for some individuals by being placed in a setting where they were required to wear a mask at all times. She advised using reason to “get a handle on things” immediately.

Gaveras Remarked that Fear can Serve as a Healthy Self-Defense Mechanism.

It’s what made us wary and gave us the conviction that masks were necessary to protect ourselves and our loved ones, she said.

Consult Your Physician.

If you’re worried about taking off the mask, go to your doctor; they’ll be able to tell you whether or not it’s safe to do so.

Schaffner added that “having trusted friends and family members with whom you can communicate your problems might also help ease anxiety.”

Boost Your Immunity and Get Immunised.

In order to protect yourself from COVID-19, vaccination is still the best option.

Put your health and well-being in your own hands by getting your booster shots and practising good health habits in general. Keep in mind, Hafeez emphasised, that if you are properly vaccinated and boostered, the likelihood of experiencing significant complications or dying from COVID-19 is quite low.

Take a Look at the Research

Given that the CDC bases its recommendations on research, Gaveras recommended reading up on the subject to learn more about the rationale for the mask policy.

Science has already convinced us that face masks were a must. “We need to accept the science that tells us immunizations and new mutations are making COVID less harmful for most people,” she said.

Even if restrictions are loosened and mask requirements are eliminated, the overall trend of infections and illnesses is in the good direction.

Slowly Take Off the Masks

Hafeez advised gradually exposing oneself to the things that made them anxious, and creating a hierarchy from the least threatening to the most threatening.

Likewise, Schaffner concurred. “Perhaps at first you shouldn’t be seen strutting around town in it. Instead of wearing it, go grocery shopping in the wee hours of the morning when the stores are less crowded and you’ll have more room to manoeuvre. And he added, “Or pick situations when you feel more comfortable without it.

If You’re Required to Wear a Mask, Please do so.

Keep in mind that you can still use a mask if the frequency of COVID-19 cases in your area remains high or increases.

As far as I know, nobody has ever been arrested for donning a disguise. Unless it’s required by law or for your job, you don’t have to go to events or places that make you feel unsafe,” .