It goes without saying that this year has brought an array of uncertainties, new restrictions and a whole new outlook to our lives. Though we have now become accustomed to most of the procedures put in place to live our lives as safely as we can, it does impact upon our interactions with friends, family and strangers, especially through Christmas as it is known as the time of good cheer.
Masks are looking to become a normal occurrence for the foreseeable future, with the UK government announcing that even with the breakthrough of a vaccination available wearing a face covering could remain a part of our daily lives for a few years to come. What does the wearing of masks mean for our ability to spread cheer throughout Christmas and the new year?
When we meet people, we typically make a quick judgement of their personality and mood through their facial expressions and their greetings, but this is far less possible when wearing a mask and it is harder to share that passing smile with a stranger in the street. Wearing a smile can have a big impact upon your day, with the Metro reporting “A recent Smile survey by Specsavers found that 80 per cent of people say smiling improves their mood and 75 per cent say their mood improves when they see someone smiling at them.”
So are masks preventing our interactions? The Metro went on to report that “the study found that most people (80 per cent) are now relying on the upper part of the face to interact with others”. This can make it slightly more difficult to spread that Christmas cheer.
By not being able to see the lower parts of faces, we will naturally be drawn to peoples eyes. Whilst we may not have been that used to gauging emotion from the eyes, it is possible that we are quickly adapting so that we can still interact with friends and family. We are also now increasingly taking notice of their body language and vocal cues, though you have to be careful, even when remaining socially distanced, as you can still become overpowering if you use hand gestures in an extravagant manner.
If you are finding wearing masks restricting to your personal style, why not look to personalise your mask. Since masks have become a compulsory part of our lives, many people have moved from the surgical masks towards seeing a wide variety of creations and styles. This can also help you to be more approachable and continue spreading Christmas cheer.
You will now see masks available in most of the stores you visit and lots of small businesses have moved into making their own unique and customizable designs. A mask tailored to your style and personality might make you feel more comfortable while donning the new garment. Making the most of what socialising you can this festive season, why not make masks the new little black dress – going bold with your mask choice to be in place of your smile. Also, don’t forget you could also go down the novelty and themed route particularly at Christmas through choices of prints incorporating Christmas images and even messages to make people smile behind their masks.
Why not adopt a new outlook to masks, making them a focal point to get people talking and smiling. Through what might be a stressful time of the year depending on the restrictions in the area you live, why not take the time to make a kind remark, commenting on a person’s choice of mask when you are out shopping or in your town centre. You never know, a little bit of conversation might make you brighten someone’s day, especially with many people suffering with loneliness or anxiety.
2020 has been a year where we have been encouraged to be kind and help people more than ever, but it can be more difficult when social distancing and wearing masks, as it is harder to read people and situations, gauge when they might be struggling and whether to offer help. Don’t be afraid to ask the questions or if you are in a public setting letting assistants know as they might have protocol for offering support with additional PPE or are able to use facilities to wash their hands after.
We may not be able to smile at people and offer a comforting look, but there are certainly still ways we can spread cheer by smiling with our eyes, donning a funny or striking mask or offering our support in other ways.
Coming to the end of what has been a turbulent year, we are all heading into the festive period wanting to spread love and positivity and after all we have come through, one thing is for sure, we should not let a mask stop us joining together safely to have a Merry Christmas.