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Mask anxiety - how to feel calm in a mask
We need to wear masks on public transport and now in shops. Masks are now part of our lives. They might protect both you and people near you, but they can feel weird.
If wearing a masks makes you anxious, you might feel like you can’t breathe properly and make being out and about stressful. You might be able to get an emption for medical reasons, but you might want to wear one anyway to protect yourself.
To help yourself feel calmer wearing a mask, here are some things you can do:
- Get comfortable with your mask - wear it at home for a while before you go out.
- Think about changing the style of mask - some fit close to the face, others are fitted more at the sides. You might want to avoid ones that are tight on the nose. Masks that tie behind the head, not round the ears can feel less tight.
- Glasses wearers might want to watch this video on how to stop your glasses steaming up. That can help reduce stress.
Breathe slowly Learn to breathe in a way that helps you stay calm. Use ‘quality breaths’ - a four second inhale through the nose, six second exhale through the mouth, and a two second pause. Breathe longer and slower.
Visualisation ‘Remove’ the mask from your face by taking your mind somewhere else. If you focusing on the mask, it will affect you. Be more mindful of other things. Pay more attention to your surroundings and what you are doing.
The Anxiety and Depression Association America has issued advice for people with anxiety who have to wear masks
NHS Test and Trace Service.
- The NHS Test and Trace service warns people who have had contact with someone who has coronavirus. Then they can make sure they don’t spread the virus.
- Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted. They will be asked to tell the NHS who they have been in contact with recently. This will be the people they live with and anyone else they have been within 2 metres of for more than 15 minutes.
- The people they name will then be expected to stay at home for 14 days, even if they don't have symptoms. If they do start feeling ill they can book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. If they test positive, they will have to stay at home for 7 days or until their symptoms have passed.
This advice will change over time. Keep checking back
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We asked Young Creators to get the message out for us on Instagram. Here's what they came up with...
Keep yourself protected
It's important not to forget about other infectious diseases. Don't miss out on important vaccinations.
A message from UK Youth
"By staying at home, young people are keeping each other safe & saving lives. They’re supporting families, friends & neighbours. We want to say ⭐ thank you ⭐ to all young people - you are making a difference."
Keep your distance, keep your hands clean, keep well. Look after yourself, your family, your mates. Help stop coronavirus.
- You still need to avoid close contact with people you don’t live with. You don’t know who’s infected. Keep 2 metres away from. Even friends and family who live somewhere else.
- Coughs, sneezes and physical contact spread the virus. Less contact means less chance of the virus spreading.
- Staying inside reduces contact. When you’re out, keep your distance - 2 metres.
It’s all tough to do, but we all need to do it to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Wash our hands more often - after going outside, eating food or using the toilet. Watch this video to see how you should do it:
Try not to touch your face. If the virus gets on your hands, you don’t want it near your face.
Small things stop the virus spreading. Keeping clean, keep healthy and keep others healthy.
Follow these simple tips to keep warm and safe this winter:
- Wrap up warm - dress in layers and wear a hat, gloves and scarf
- Keep the cold out
- Don't use alcohol to keep warm
- Check your heating
- Maintain the temperature
- Have warming food and drinks
- Stay active
Get more information from the British Heart Foundation on how to keep the heat in this winter.
It might seem scary or stupid to be doing all this stuff. Staying home, not seeing mates and family is tough. You need to keep mentally strong to keep it up.
If you’re scared, angry or don’t get it, talk to people you live with. If you can’t or don’t want to, talk by phone or online.
Stay connected outside your home. Chat on the phone, What’sApp, Instagram, Snapchat, or whatever. Use Google Hangouts, Zoom, FaceTime or other apps to see other faces.
Keep a routine. It’ll have to be a new one, but some things can stay normal. Wake up, eat meals and go to bed at the same times. Do normal inside stuff, but try new things as well. Do exercise every day. Walk, run, ride a bike, kick a ball against a wall. Or, do online workouts. Here's one, but there's loads of more. Check out the Stay Active page.
Stay positive. Keeping our distance, keep clean, keep well. Stop coronavirus spreading.
It can be hard on the head staying inside. Give your brain a lift. If you’re worried or anxious, here's some help:
Dealing with anger and frustration
Anger is a normal response to hard times. Download this pack of activities to help understand your triggers. Learn how to cope now and back in the real world.
ChatHealth is a text messaging service for young people living in Lambeth and Southwark, aged 11 to 19. Text for help on issues like bullying, self-harm or sexual health on 07507 332 150 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
The Mix is a free 24/7 crisis messenger text service for anyone 25 and under, on 85258. It covers mental health to money, homelessness to finding a job, break-ups to drugs. There’s a listening and signposting helpline on 0808 808 4994 open 4pm to 11pm every day and a one-to-one online chat service at The Mix.
Kooth is online counselling and emotional well-being platform. You use mobile, tablet and desktop to get free, safe and private online advice for young people at Kooth.
Anna Freud National Centre have useful information on covid-19, including ‘On My Mind’ an A-Z of simple self-care activities from crafts to coding. Written by young people to help other young people at Anna Freud.
Young Minds offers advice for children and young people up to 25 and their carers. It has special advice for coronavirus. There’s ideas for things to do if you’re anxious, worried or stressed. Call 0808 802 5544 or visit Young Minds.
Papyrus give support to young people thinking about suicide. Their HOPELINEUK helpline, is open 9am to 10pm weekdays, 2pm to 10pm weekends and bank holidays on 0800 068 4141. Find out more about Papyrus.
Coronavirus information in many languages
Doctors of the World have shared coronavirus advice in 51 languages, in partnership with the British Red Cross, Migrant Help and Clear Voice.