Why Wearing a Mask is Stressful

Everywhere I look masks are required.  If you work here you must wear one, if you live here you must wear one if you go to this store you must wear one. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and learn why wearing a mask is stressful and what goes on in my head.

I am writing this article to share my thoughts on masks.   I can’t get them off my mind because it is all stress to me.   You may think, “just wear them and it’s no big deal.”  

Why People Wear Masks

Some of my friends across the country because of autoimmune diseases or health problems have urged people to wear masks.    They are saying this from their health needs and they are looking out for others.

Many people wear masks because they are required to do so. Work enforces it, or their state or county enforces it. For some, they own a business and they want no one in their business to get sick so all precautions are taken to prevent it.

Others wear a mask because they have said that it may help them to prevent COVID and following all the rules will help them not get sick.


Why My History Equals Mask Stress

When I was a kid, my sister, brother, and I would play a simple game that I hated.   We would lay on the bed and then see who could stay under the blanket with it placed over their head the longest.   This to me was stress and not a fun game.   I immediately screamed and panicked after 10 seconds and of course, no one would take the blanket off my head. I would scream “Mom, I can’t breathe!”.  

We never took the game to over a minute because I sounded like I was going to die and my mom intervened.  To me 30 seconds was terror.  I cannot stand a scarf over both my mouth and nose.  In the winter in below zero temps, the scarf is only covering my mouth. Wearing a mask brings back the post-traumatic stress of that game.

As a kid we would go swimming with cousins and my sister would help get me to the raft, but I was scared of jumping in because I couldn’t swim.  The cousins would say, “I’ll teach you to swim”, and I remember multiple times being pushed into the water. I remember sinking into the water and struggling in the water before I came up. 

Drowning is not a good feeling and why I get PTS about things over my mouth and nose and why I even wear a life jacket.  To this day if I jump in the water, I have to plug my nose so I don’t breathe in water. I hated the swimming class. When I tried snorkeling in Hawaii, I couldn’t get the breathing right, got stressed out, and had to quit. Don’t worry, I do know how to swim.


Mask Stress in Stores

The 15 minutes I was in Costco because they made me wear a mask, I lost my brain. I was so stressed I couldn’t think.   I walked in, put the mask on, and then said, “I can’t see.” My hubby said, “your sunglasses are fogging up, take off your sunglasses.”   I Lost my brain and forgot to take off the sunglasses.

Whenever I went around the corner, I’d lift my mask for a breath or pull the top part down to breathe.  I needed to get in and out. No extra sales and if another store had the item, I would buy it there.

When my husband needed to go to Menards I simply sat in the car and waited using their free wifi.  The stress was too much to wear a mask. 

Coughing and Sneezing

Normally if I have to cough or sneeze in public, I do so in my elbow or down my shirt.  Believe me, I’ve got this down with allergies. The thought of sneezing in the mask is scary.  I then have to touch my mask and then more germs.   Yikes.

Mask Stress

Impaired Senses

The part that drives me most crazy is that you lose part of your five senses.  You lose the full sense of smell and have impaired breathing through your nose and mouth.  You can take off your mask to eat.   The only good part I see to this is you may not eat as much because you have a mask on or you will eat more because you know it’s the only time you can take your mask off.  

My son has worn hearing aids since 5th grade for hearing loss. He also has to wear his glasses to work since he has to wear safety glasses at his summer job.   Now that he has to wear a required mask to work, he has to have a mask around his ears too.  His poor ears with 3 things hanging on them.   He also really only has one full sense in action which is touch.  Now his sight, smell, (breathing) taste, and hearing are all impaired.

Mask Rules and My Life

As many of you know we had a traveling sabbatical from Jan to May.  We were never in a state with a full-on mandatory stay at home order until we got back to Minnesota and experienced that for a few weeks.

This summer we have been living in the northern part of the state with few COVID cases.  Starting July 25th Minnesota implemented a mandatory mask requirement.   This means that I avoid public places that require masks. I am glad I don’t have an 8-hour job requiring masks.  

I am more stressed about wearing a mask than getting the virus.  That is the truth. 

I have volunteered at a nonprofit coffee shop in town and was told I needed to wear a mask.   This was my trial.  I made it because it was a 4- hour shift.   Whenever there were no customers around, we would pull our masks down.  So yes, we were touching our masks and I was constantly washing my hands because I am aware of that kind of thing.  

My mask was also kind of loose, so I was glad to allow some air from the top.   This is the only thing that got me through.   They asked if I could volunteer more often, and I had to say no thank you. I can’t stand wearing the mask.

A story

How I will cope

As you know we are planning to move and we are looking for jobs and a place to live.   When we know where we will live, I will hope and pray I don’t have to wear a mask at my job. 

I will also order my groceries and pick them up, and order everything else from Amazon. Sorry local business.  If I can get in and out of a store in 15 minutes that is my limit.   I will only support local businesses if I can eat outside at a restaurant or have a curbside pick-up.



For some of us, this is stressful and I probably should get therapy, but can’t afford to do that right now.  God is working with me on this stress as I Pray.  Every situation I have to wear it, it gets a little better.     

I am very healthy but don’t want to lose my freedom to fully breath. I appreciate the full use of my senses.    I have had nightmares and know it is a stress for me to wear a mask out and about.


Put Yourself in Someone Else’s Shoes

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and think of others. Think about others and why they want to wear a mask and why they don’t.  We all have valid opinions or stories behind it all. There is a story behind an action or opinion. Listen to others. I hope you learn compassion for others and why one shoe doesn’t fit all.  This is why the thought of wearing a mask is stressful.


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2 thoughts on “Why Wearing a Mask is Stressful”

  1. My brain starts to fog over the longer I wear a mask. I also have allergies and tend to be a very shallow breather unless I am physically working hard-like stacking hay before it gets rained on. I have an inhaler to help with my constant cough-just a little nagging one usually but mask wearing increases it. I am claustrophobic from several events as a child, including being held under the water by older kids-so not funny. Out of that fear, I became a lifeguard, then a water safety instructor and joined the swim team in college(what was I thinking). I worked hard to conquer my fears. I really do enjoy breathing normally and not through multiple layers of cloth that do nothing to stop a tiny virus but certainly cause me issues.

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