Do you feel sad when all you see are expressionless faces? Thanks to COVID-19 masks are mandatory for many. But there’s still a way to turn that frown upside down, even if you must cover up.

 

WHY WEARING A MASK BOTHERS ME (AND YOU?)

Certainly there are those who don’t mind wearing a mask for a variety of reasons. That’s not me. I am bothered on so many levels. That doesn’t mean I’m against it. I just find it depressing.

Why does it bother me? Or you?

There’s a lot going on here, and psychologists have already done some interesting COVID-19 mask-wearing studies.

Masks remind you that something is eerily wrong. They can trigger memories of traumatic experiences, violent crimes, or medical treatments that you endured.

 

FACING YOUR FEELINGS

One way to work through your discomfort is to take a moment for emotional reflection.

What feelings do you notice when you put on your mask before heading into the grocery store?

My emotional responses vary. Here they are, in a nutshell:

  • in March my reaction was fear — I was meticulous in taking every precaution — mask, gloves, putting the mail in the oven at 150 degrees for two hours to kill any viruses.
  • presently I’m feeling frustration that something I can’t see is making people ill, and that the human attempt to mitigate this has ruined lives and crashed economies worldwide.
  • no longer afraid, I’m now just weary of it all.
  • loneliness, even while in the midst of a crowd.
  • sadness — the feeling that something very significant is missing — there are no smiles! No faces!
  • a wacky desire to break the social norm and run around the store mask-less,  giggling, giving every shopper a great big hug (of course I would never do this, but I can fantasize … ) 😆

How is it for you? As always, I welcome your responses below, in the comments section.

 

TURING YOUR FROWN UPSIDE DOWN

So enough, already! For a moment, forget about what you can’t change and focus on what you can.

If you have to wear a mask, make it count!

People can’t see your real smile, so give them the next best thing — a cloth one!

Do you think this sounds silly? Childish even?

It’s not child-ish (which means immature). It’s child-like!  And can’t we all use a little more of that humble, cheerful wonder in our lives?

 

PICKING YOUR FLAVOR OF LEMONADE

Turning lemons into lemonade is what we’re doing, people! So, let the fun begin! The choices are almost endless. You can pick a flavor of mask that:

  • CAPTURES YOUR STYLE OF SMILE — whether emoji-esque or realistic, crazy or sweet.

This mask is my absolute fave! It reflects my personality. I love the simple cartoon style. It’s fun and child-like.  I am very impressed with the creator. Her quality is excellent, the smile is in right place (which can’t be said of every smiley mask), and her shipping time is very short. She is on it! I highly recommend BoutiquePalais on Etsy. I ordered two of these.

 

 

  • SHOWCASES ONE OF YOUR HOBBIES — This creates an opportunity for conversation with strangers, whether your obsession is cats or a sport team.

I love cats. So far several strangers have commented on my fun feline face covering (buy yours here):

 

 

  • HINTS AT YOUR JOB OR CALLING IN LIFE — an important part of your identity.

I work at an ice cream shop. I know, it’s a dream job. How do I make my customers smile? Check out this fun mask created by an indie artist at TeePublic:

 

 

SMILING WITH YOUR EYES

Let’s look on the bright side. At least people can see your eyes! In fact, since that’s all they can see, be sure to grin extra big so you get smiley eyes.

Furthermore, this lack of full facial expression means you must depend entirely on the eyes and voice for emotional and social cues.

What a great opportunity to develop the habit of looking people in the eye when you converse. After all, the mouth can lie: it can smile when it’s sad or laugh when it wants to cry. Eyes never lie.

Maybe it’s time to start connecting with people on a deeper level.

So, slip on that super-cute mask in lieu of a smile and break the ice with some preliminary chuckles.

 

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN DEALING WITH THE COVID-19 FALLOUT?

Any tips or tricks that you’ve discovered? Little things that have helped you stay sane during this trying time?

I’d love to hear about it, as would others. Please share your thoughts below.

8 Comments

  1. Love how you describe your evolving emotions during the pandemic. Have had some similar emotions as it has gone along.
    Also, as more and more governments around the globe make masks mandatory…creative designs are a great way to adhere to rules and add a splash of joy to the gloomy days of pandemic. Thanks for sharing!!!!

    1. Yay! I’m glad you liked the article. I think it’s important to be able to share our feelings of frustration about the pandemic, and even fantasies of breaking convention.😝 It’s okay to feel all these things, even if we are told that the “grownup” thing to do is to put on the mask and hush up.😷Express yourself! Find some cute masks to wear, when you must, and don’t lose the honest emotional expression.

  2. Having a cute, fun mask to wear has been a big plus for me. Once I accepted the reality that we’re most likely in this for a while, I’ve been on the look out for new ones to buy or adorable fabric to make them (and hey, it’s cheaper than my shoe fetish)! 🤣

    Wearing a mask has become a safety check for me, a reminder to keep at least six feet between myself and others. I’m a hugger, so there’s that – but it’s more important that I be a responsible sister friend to those I meet. 😷❤️

    1. Hi Vivian! Great point about the mask being a reminder to keep that six feet of social distancing. You’re right, it is cheaper than buying shoes to match your outfits! 😆 The internet is full of so many cute designs. Good for you, making your own. I am not very crafty that way. And I too am a hugger.*sigh* It’s “air hugs” for now, I guess. 🤗❤️

  3. Thanks Ali!
    What you shared made me smile 🙂
    I recently just ordered some masks with cute prints and it has helped me be more enthusiastic about wearing them so I totally agree that finding ones that help show your interests or personality makes it fun!
    Thanks for your reminders about navigating through our emotions and feelings during this time and not allowing it all to bring us down but to keep lifting others up! Love you!

    1. Aww! Thanks Carolyn! I am glad it encouraged you. You are so right about cute designs making “mask-wearing” more palatable. It’s now kind of like choosing your outfit to wear … hmmmmm, what mood am I in today? 😊

  4. Hi Ali, when wearing a mask I always had my glasses steaming up until I heard of this solution: Put a 1-inch wide strip of sticky tape across the top of the mask, 1/2 inch of it protruding above it so it can contact your face. This makes a great seal — problem solved.

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