Tarragona walks towards normality with the goodbye of the masks. From this Wednesday its use indoors is no longer mandatory, with the exception of public transport, pharmacies, hospitals and residential centers after two years in which covering your face in closed spaces has become a fundamental purpose to stop the advance of the coronavirus , the pandemic that has changed the routine and psychology of the entire world society.
This measure, approved on Tuesday by the Council of Ministers, represents a symbolic and definitive step towards the end of the pandemic, although Health recommends that the vulnerable population continue to wear a mask in a generalized way to minimize the risk of contagion.
Beyond a health issue, freeing the face poses a real challenge for many, especially for children and adolescents who have socialized with it during their stage of physical development.
There is also, at a general level, a greater aesthetic concern, once the face is going to be totally exposed. This circumstance has been labeled, for example, as empty face syndrome. Not surprisingly, the mask not only served to protect oneself from the virus, but also to hide certain insecurities.
“I give you a case that exemplifies it. I have a client who, for work, must expose herself in public and suffers a lot from turning red. She told me that with the mask it was much easier for her to do it because it helped her a lot. Now everything changes”, confirms the psychologist Míriam Recio.
The mask has worked as an evasive behavior to certain fears, a fact that is related to self-esteem. Accept and love yourself. “I have also found clients who did not want to take it off, to be able to paint their lips, for example,” reflects Recio.
Another of the psychological effects that the habit of wearing masks has produced has to do with the image that has been created with respect to the people who have met with it on. «It has happened to me in the consultation. I had imagined a client in one way and when she came without the mask I took that shock, because it was totally different from what I had imagined. You create an idea that is not close to reality, “adds the psychologist.
The use of mobile devices has become a safe conduct for young people when it comes to interacting during confinement, although the lack of dialogue in person due to the use of social networks has, in part, fostered the fear of chatting without a mask . In any case, with the new regulations, the face-to-face relationship will be more effective when seeing the other person’s face without barriers that can hide their gestures or non-verbal communication. The mask caused a certain barrier in this regard.
Its removal has sparked some concern about visual aesthetics, especially in the hidden face area so far. Dentists have observed more attention among clients, who have already demanded their requests. “They ask us for whitening and fixing the teeth in more visible areas,” emphasizes dentist Mirjana Geroska, who adds that “the lips are another area that arouses concern in people.” Despite this trend, the dentist confesses that “at the moment we cannot quantify a more or less exact increase in that demand because life without masks has just occurred.”
During this period of readjustment to reality without a mask, an opposite effect is produced that has to do with the people who decide to keep it, out of precaution or fear. The possible social rejection or what they will say can generate anxiety and a conflict that is on the table. Each individual has the circumstances of it. There may be people who are vulnerable or who live with someone who is. Or someone may simply feel that the time has not yet come to remove the mask indoors. In this sense, we are at a moment in which the two options, to wear or not to wear, are wrapped in legality. Respect is part of the process.
As in any vital circumstance, any novelty or, as in this case, a return to normality after 700 days of masks, requires a settlement transition and this has just begun, with all the natural psychological effects and its initial impact.