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A psychologist explains why breaking up with your mask can be a hard thing to do

Mask mandates in Colorado and the U.S. are ending, but some people are feeling anxious about transitioning back into a mask-free society.

DENVER — We’ve gotten so used to wearing masks this year that breaking up with them might feel a little strange. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people don’t have to wear a mask in most settings if they're vaccinated and many businesses no longer require them indoors.

But as we transition back to a maskless society, people are feeling anxiety with the changes. 

"This is a real thing. The lack of a mask in public, it causes anxiety," said 9NEWS Psychology Expert Dr. Max Wachtel. "Mentally it’s going to be tough to turn that switch off. We have been very careful, very socially responsible for a really long time."

RELATED: Polis: Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear mask in most places

We’ve become accustomed to a lot of strange things throughout the pandemic, like working from home and talking to people over Zoom. We've grown so used to wearing masks that it will take time to mentally transition back to normal.

If you’re vaccinated, the governor, the state health department and the CDC all say you don’t have to wear a mask anymore in most places. But changing that mindset could take a bit of time.

RELATED: CDC director says mask turnaround based solely on science

"Some of those small habits are going to be hard to break, just because we’ve been doing it for so long," Wachtel said. "It doesn’t mean that you can’t do it, but it is going to be uncomfortable at first.

"It’s going to be really tempting to shame people, either because they are wearing a mask or they aren’t wearing a mask. We’ve got to stop that."

Remember that a lot of places still require masks, so don’t throw them away just yet.

RELATED: These stores are no longer requiring masks for fully vaccinated customers

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