We have all seen this vast difference between each person’s choice in how they have handled COVID-19. I have people in my personal and professional life who have ranged from believing this whole thing is a hoax and not wearing masks, to people not leaving their homes and only seeing family through windows. Wherever you started at, leads you to where you are now.
Some people had the choice/ and or privilege to stay at home completely during the past year +. On the other hand, many people, like essential workers, had to go out and face the world and have been exposed to the public daily for the past year +. Each of these two people may have received their vaccination on the same day, but it doesn’t mean they are going to be at the same starting point for how they handle themselves moving forward.
The essential worker may be ready to burn their masks and never wear one again, and the other person may still be wearing their masks outside at the park (or vice versa). Wherever you are, I guarantee the stranger next to you is not at the exact same step as you!
This is where learning how to stay present to your own thoughts and feelings can be helpful. Mindfulness techniques help us learn how to stay present and grounded in the current moment.
Try this quick exercise before going into your next social or public situation where taking off your mask is allowed:
Take 3 longer deeper breaths.
Take a moment and name what step you are at for your own mask comfort.
Name what might make you uncomfortable in this situation.
Visualize yourself handling the situation using the best version of yourself.
Take 3 longer deep breaths again.
Okay, go out and try it! Remember each person is at their own unique step, and is in their own unique comfort level, just like you!
Written by Krista Day-Gloe, LCSW