How to take care when times are uncertain?

Mask on or Mask off? Is the old routine really gone? What will happen now? All these questions but no answers—at least not yet.
After the February 4 ruling over the mask mandate across Illinois, changes were inevitable. As of February 8, District D303 is recommending–but not requiring–mask usage.
It’s been nearly 3 years of the COVID-19 era, and the times are changing once again.
Routines that many used to have are now broken. Many are now left questioning: “What’s next”?
Many students and staff have been on edge with the sudden change in masking protocol. After building relationships through the past 3 years behind masks, it’s quite unusual to see full faces once again.
There’s also many health concerns that may be occupying the minds of students and staff.
Some may wonder whether or not it’s safe to be around those not wearing masks. They may wonder “what if I get sick?” or “what if I spread the virus to somebody else?”
Relationships could also feel awkward for a little while. Social pressure to wear masks–or not–might change the interactions between acquaintances and friends alike, and many fear being judged for their choice.
Considering the individual needs of different students and staff members is also important.
The choice to wear a mask is just that–a choice, and one each student and staff member must make for themselves.
Recognizing that some people may be immunocompromised, in close contact with an immunocompromised individual, or simply feel safer in a mask is important.
This might mean that students keep masks on in certain parts of the building, and take it off in others, depending on the people they will come into close contact with. For example: Wearing a mask for math class, but not gym, or for Spanish, but not study hall.
All of these considerations are ones that students and staff now have to be wary of on a daily basis.
The stress just keeps piling up. Because of that, it’s important to stay on top of your mental health, not just your physical wellbeing.
With all these new stressors that may come, remembering ways to destress is a way to balance out what’s going on in the world.
With whatever comes next, understand it’s ok to take a break when needed to collect yourself.
Increasing time for breaks can allow you to use de-stressor methods in order to balance out work. Doing so will decrease the amount of burnout you will potentially experience.
This will not only be beneficial for your own health, but for the health of others.
Being mentally prepared will allow you to help others who need help, too, to get through these uncertain and stressful times.