‘We are all going through it together’: Anxiety grows for some as more ditch masks

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(WGHP) — We have entered a world where you can go just about anywhere in North Carolina without having to wear a mask.

Gov. Roy Cooper rolled back masks and social distancing restrictions last Friday, as COVID-19 cases dip down across the state.

As of Monday, 51.5% of adults in the state have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination.

However, even with those numbers, there are some who have begun to grow more anxious with going out in public.

Behavioral Health Counselor and President of CareNet Counseling with Wake Forest Baptist Health Bryan Hatcher explained this has a lot to do with how quickly things changed.

“It’s the unpredictability or the quick change,” he said. “For example, going to the gym, or the grocery store. Yesterday everyone was wearing masks, today they’re not – what’s going on here.”

Those who experience anxiety at a severe level will have an increased response to stresses, such as a change in the number of people who mask up around them.

“For many who have true trauma histories, these little – what may be quirks for some of us – are life-altering events for many others,” he said.

Those who do not have a history of anxiety can also find themselves putting on a mask when they walk into a store to avoid uneasy glances.

“For many of us – it’s just about assessing the situation,” he said.

So, how do we get over this?

If you suffer for minimal anxiety, Hatcher suggests taking it slow and at your own pace.

For those who suffer from severe anxiety, it’s best to find a routine that you can control, to get around what you can’t control.

“Just doing healthy habits like eating, sleeping, getting my eight hours of sleep at night. When we start losing those good habits, the difficult responses we can have get more ramped,” he said. da

And lastly, for us to speak to one another about this, and normalize the feeling of not feeling at ease about the rollback of restrictions.

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