Wow, masks are uncomfortable. The first time I put one on, I had to resist the urge to rip it off my face. It was stifling, itchy, and awkward. Is it possible for a nose to sweat?! All of this and yet I only wore it for a brief few minutes, to pick up a curbside, no-touch dinner at Guildhall, one of our fave local restaurants.
It was a lesson in humility. People wear these all day at their jobs? For HOURS?! They do this daily?! I was, and am, in awe.
Since wearing masks is something important for the safety of others and the safety of myself and my family, I got to work in figuring out how to best adjust to this new normal. Here are the tips that helped:
1. Practice. Wear a mask while walking a dog for 15 minutes. Wear a mask for a 10-minute bike ride. Wear a mask for the 5-minute trip to get curbside dinner. Breathe slowly. Wiggle your nose if you have an itch.
2. Master the art of distraction. Try to focus on the changes in nature while outside. Listen to music or a podcast. Write and mail a letter to a family member. Fill a bird feeder. You will slowly adjust to the discomfort.
3. Get used to the ‘strings only’ touching. Keeping hands off the front fabric is tough but it’s a must. Practice putting on and removing mask touching only the elastic/strings.
4. Wash in hot water and soap after use. Hang to dry over night (a dryer can sometimes shrink fabric and elastic).
Am I an expert? No, not even close.
I’m just a citizen and a parent trying to figure this out. These tips have aided my 8-year-old and 4-year-old in wearing masks safely and comfortably when we are in public. As more public places begin to open up, we choose to wear masks as a courtesy in protecting our neighbors and community (our masks protect YOU; you wearing a mask would protect US). In doing so, we are #MaskingForAFriend, and hope you will consider doing the same.