Anxiety as mask mandate lifts in BC

Beginning today, British Columbians will no longer be required to wear masks in low-risk, indoor public spaces.  Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry acknowledged that for some people, wearing a mask will continue to wear them and some businesses may choose to continue to require it but it is no longer a provincial health order to do so.

Ironic as today marks the second anniversary of when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a pandemic.  While the lifting of the mask mandate brings relief to many, for many others it comes with uneasiness, fear, and even more uncertainty. While you might feel like the only person who is experiencing anxiety about restrictions easing and quite concerned, you are not alone. During a news conference on Thursday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said some people will continue to wear masks, and some businesses may choose to ask patrons to wear them, but they are no longer required under an order.

“We need to support that. We need to recognize that we all have our own risks and our own vulnerabilities,” Henry said.

If you are feeling anxious about others not wearing a mask, remember there are ways to safely navigate this.  Try to not feel pressured to not wear a mask when others are not.  Sometimes using a common response, spoken lightly, can help such as “I think I’ll choose to wear a mask for now but thank you for asking”.  Take your time returning to places you feel comfortable and remind yourself that these feelings are completely normal. While on the surface it might seem that friends and family are not as worried or careful as you, remember that this is new to all of us all and some people might cope differently.

Finally, it always helps to talk it over with someone.  At Waypoint Counselling Network, we can match you with a counsellor who can help you develop strategies to deal with any worries and anxiety you might be feeling. We have counsellors in KelownaVictoria, and Vancouver.  All of our counsellors provide online counselling via phone or secure video link so no matter where you are, there is someone to talk with.  Sometimes the first step is the most important one, so reach out, we are here to help.