When Someone Won’t Mask-up, Keep Calm and Mask On

Face Masks - BF - MONTCO Today
Seeing people around us without a mask or ignoring social distancing can make us all feel nervous. A trauma therapist guides us through our anxiety.

By Wendi Rank

I was turning into the dairy aisle when I saw him.

He was perusing the peanut butter, women’s underwear pulled tightly over his head. The underwear covered his mouth and nose.

That’s a mask in my book.

As a healthcare provider, I silently applauded him. Measures preventing spread of the coronavirus should be as universal as seatbelts. Infractions of CDC guidelines make me nervous.

Casey Swartz, a certified trauma therapist, says I’m not alone. She offered PublicSource some suggestions to keep us calm when we’re confronted with a fracture of COVID-19 safety measures.

As I read Swartz’s suggestions, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the needlepoint serenity prayer my grandmother kept on her wall. More of a meditation than a prayer, its sagacity holds true here.

Grant Me Courage To Change What I Can

If the location you’re patronizing isn’t enforcing COVID-19 safety measures, go elsewhere. Speaking kindly with the person causing your concern, or with the establishment, can help too, says Swartz.

Grant Me Serenity To Accept Things I Cannot Change

People foregoing masks may not be doing so to make a statement. Owners of handicapped parking tags don’t always have visible disabilities. Masks are no different.

Swartz suggests giving those without masks the benefit of the doubt. Just as they can’t see the anxiety they’re causing, we may not be able to see why they have foregone a mask.

Grant Me Wisdom To Know The Difference

These suggestions manage anxiety after a break in protocol. What can you do in the moment?

As a nurse, I tend toward thinking there’s a diagnosis preventing mask use. I turn my head if we get close, and avoid the individual thereafter. If social distancing is the problem, I remind myself the amount of time spent near an infected person factors into the likelihood of contracting the virus.

And I think of the guy with underwear on his head. A little laughter can help.

See here for the full article at PublicSource.



Wendi Rank is a Willow Grove native with a graduate degree from LaSalle University. She has worked as a school nurse, a registered nurse and nurse practitioner in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She has previously written for the journal Nursing.





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