Anxiety Grows Over Physical, Social Limitations of Returning to Work While Masked

While some coronavirus restrictions have been eased, people still need to wear masks in public and in the workplace.

But constantly covering one’s face is taking a social and physical toll on some, according to Candace Yaeger, a psychologist who practices in Doylestown.

She said her clients have voiced concerns about returning to work with face masks, which does come with physical complications.

“People are taking shorter breaths, they’re not breathing as deeply and regularly as they can, and that can really impact our hormone levels,” Yaeger said, “and we’re seeing anxiety rising.”

Under the new normal — at least for now — she advises people to take extra time for themselves before leaving the house.

“You’re going to have to prepare yourself very differently when you’re going into work,” she said. “If you have time, meditate and focus on your breathing.”

Some of her clients also say they’re experiencing social communication problems.

“We were seeing one another on Zoom,” Yaeger said. “We could see everyone’s face still. Now, we’re going back into the workplace and everyone’s face is covered with a mask. And, we’re only getting half of the social cues that we used to get, and that’s leading to miscommunication.”

Yaeger suggests taking your time as you speak, and be clear in expressing your intentions in a message. It’s easy for a colleague to misinterpret the communication if it’s not carefully and accurately delivered from behind your mask.

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