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Many people experiencing 'mask anxiety' over not having to wear one

California will drop its mask mandate June 15th.

As things slowly start returning to normal, some of us may be experiencing anxiety, specifically when it comes to not having to wear a mask.

Doctors say that's normal. It’s called mask anxiety.

“Personally, even after all this is over, I think I'm gonna keep the mask on for a while in public just out of precaution," one woman told News 8.

Not everyone feels this way.

Kim Eisenberg, a lead therapist at Sharp Mesa Vista's Trauma and PTSD Recovery Center says it’s going to vary from person to person.

But, for those who are feeling anxious, she says it takes about a month to form a habit, and just as much time, if not more, to break one.

“A lot of it is the behavioral pieces of the habit that we've now gotten this muscle memory around wearing the mask and some of it is the psychological safety net that they provide the sense that I'm keeping myself safe. I'm keeping other people safe,” said Eisenberg.

Eisenberg suggests figuring out ways to manage your anxiety in general. That starts with self-care.

“Eating a healthy diet, getting outside, getting fresh air and exercise,” said Dr. Eisenberg.

Next, don't talk yourself into being calm.

Do things that actually make your body feel more relaxed, like a breathing exercise.

Also, start small.

Once allowed, if you're not ready to visit a large, crowded place without a mask, go somewhere more secluded.

“So doing that kind of scaling or scaffolding where you take a small easy step and demonstrate you're able to do it,” said Eisenberg

Finally, give yourself time.

The CDC says fully vaccinated people can go without a mask in most indoor and outdoor settings. California will drop its mask mandate June 15th. Beyond that, if you still want to wear a mask, you should.

“There is no harm in keeping the mask on for now,” said Eisenberg.

While the masks may be coming off, doctors advise don't stop doing some of the other things we've grown accustomed to during this pandemic, like washing your hands and being more mindful of germs.

Doing those things will continue to benefit your health.

Watch Related: Fully vaccinated Californians no longer need to wear a mask after June 15 (May 17, 2021)

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