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Feeling anxious when you are wearing a facemask? this might help...

Many people have told us over the last few days that they are struggling to wear a face mask because it makes them feel anxious or breathless..

That's not surprising, this is new to all of us and will take some getting used to.

Jane told us" I Struggled at first, as wearing a mask brought back some memories I try not to think about too much. Tried a few different ones - the one I had originally was too tight to my face and made me feel like my breath was too hot. Got one now that is loose enough and cotton. Wore it at home and went shopping in it the week before I had to, so I could get used to it without the pressure of having to do it. Getting easier the more I do it."

Sensible advice Jane. We have spoken to people and scoured the web to come up with some tips to help you. If you have any ideas, hints or tips we can share please let us know.

Get comfortable with your mask

As Jane suggested the best way to feel more comfortable is to practice wearing it before you leave the house.

Being out and about can be stressful enough right now so try to tackle the mask element when you are at home, try putting it on for a couple of minutes at at time, knowing you can take it off whenever you need to.

Once you have got more used to it, you can wear it during activities like cooking or cleaning. When you are at home, you are in control over how much you wear it as it is not required like when you are outside and you can slowly build it up to make you feel more comfortable.

Consider changing the style of mask

What is it about the mask that makes you feel anxious? It might be worth thinking about changing it to a different style. Some are more fitted around the face, while others expand around the face and sit flush at the sides. Try a few until you find one that suits you

Breathe slowly

Once you have practised wearing your mask and found one that you find comfortable, you need to get used to how to breathe in a way that will help you stay calm.

Of course if you have a medical condition which causes breathing problems, you can be exempt from wearing one.

For those who do wear one, respiratory health experts at PN Medical have some tips to help you feel more in control of your breathing.

Take five quality breaths A quality breath is a four second inhale through the nose, six second exhale through the mouth, and a two second pause. You should do this five times right before putting on your mask, another five times right after you have the mask on and again when you are going to remove the mask. You can also try this if you feel you are struggling to breathe in your mask. Longer and slower Notice people around you. Some change their breathing patterns while wearing a mask. Combat this by taking longer, slower breaths while you are wearing yours.


Dr Ali Shakir also recommends using a visualisation technique to make you feel more comfortable. He says: ‘In other words, deleting the mask from your face by taking your mind somewhere else. If you are focusing on the mask, this will definitely affect you.

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