Face coverings and anxiety

Read on for a simple NLP technique to stop a panic attack and promote feelings of calm.


The UK government has now made it compulsory to wear face masks in public places. We all want to help do our bit and prevent further spread of the coronavirus but what impact can a mask have on our behaviours and emotions? For the majority of people, wearing a mask simply won't bother them but for some people this can be very challenging indeed, especially those with existing mental health problems. 

Wearing a mask for long periods of time can cause skin conditions to flair up because of the moisture trapped inside the mask. It is important to change your face covering often and wash it daily to prevent blocked pores, acne and skin flare ups. 

For some people with anxiety seeing others wearing a mask can heighten their awareness and the mask may trigger their anxiety. It can make you feel trapped and in some cases claustrophobic. Try wearing masks with a high cotton thread as they are easier to breathe through than synthetic material. 

Wearing glasses and a mask can cause your glasses to steam up. Not a great feeling when you maybe anxious to start with! To prevent your glasses steaming up make sure your mask is a snug fit around your cheeks and nose. If your mask is too big you can tighten the ear loops. 

If you are exempt from wearing a mask then you may feel anxious about others judging you! You could tell the person: "I'm exempt for health reasons", or "I have a good reason that you can't see. Please be kind".

Always get some fresh air before putting the mask on. Make sure you are wearing comfortable loose clothing to help you feel relaxed. Another tip I have read, is to put a few drops of pure essential oils on your mask such as lavender to help keep you calm. Breathing in essential oils has a positive effect on your mental well-being.

If you don't want to put essential oil in on your mask you can carry a pulse point roller ball around with you. By applying essential oils to your pulse points has the same effect as breathing the oils in. 

If you feel a panic attack coming on, I would advise you to leave the public area and go outside immediately. Remove your mask (if it's safe to do so) and perform some deep breathing. Breathe in through your nose and fill up your lungs to full capacity and exhale through your mouth.

Whilst breathing in you can breathe in your favorite colour that is calming and relaxing. Breathe away any anxieties, worry and stress. Continue to breathe deeply and slowly for around 10 minutes. You can hold your in-breath for the mental count of three and exhale for the mental count of five.

By doing this simple and effective breathing technique your heartbeat will slow down and your oxygen levels will return to their normal level and you should feel so much better. Perhaps a little light headed but much better. 

Please do not suffer in silence and seek further advice if you need it. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD5
Written by Hayley Austin, FACCPH
Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD5

As an award-winning CAM life and business coach and stress management and mentoring specialist, I emphasise on offering a wide range of stress management and personal development programs to help professionals better handle their stress, anxiety, and other life struggles. I am also an NLP Master Practitioner and Hypnotherapist.

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