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Face Mask Anxiety and How Did I Solve It

Face mask, face cover… How could a tiny piece of cloth cause so much anxiety and worries? I don’t know, but I might not be the only one. In early August we here in Finland heard that the authorities would recommend the use of face masks in certain circumstances. That was something I had been waited for with a worry. But I found a way to reduce my face mask anxiety.

I have lived through these COVID-19 times relatively fine. I don’t go anywhere except to a food store, drugstore and post office. I go there just after the opening time or just before the closing time. I don’t meet people unless it’s inevitable. I keep myself occupied with writing my blog and try to forget the strange world. I was hoping that I could march through this era without this face mask thing. Somehow I found the idea of wearing a mask unbearable.

And then it happened: in the early days of August 2020 we were informed about the coming recommendations about the face mask use. I knew that I had to act at once. When the Finnish authorities made an official recommendation for the use of a face cover in certain circumstances – in crowded public transport or in locations where the social distancing is difficult – in mid August, I had already ordered my face masks. From England.

You might find this strange. Why a person living in Finland would spend money to order face masks from England when the easiest way would be to buy cheap, disposable face covers in your local stores. That has something to do with my personality, the way I see my life: whatever I do, it must have a purpose, a strong cause, so to speak. So, when we heard that the face mask recommendation would happen, I started thinking what’s the best way to make me feeling comfortable with it. Where should I buy them…

I remembered that I had seen a picture (probably on Fb) someone wearing a nice looking  mask with a bee motif by a company called English Fine Cottons. I skipped the two other mask options I had had in my mind and decided to order the masks from that company. These two masks arrived two days ago beautifully wrapped in the company’s own wrapping paper and tied with their lovely ribbon. They are beautiful, aren’t they?

EFC masks

This is what is said about their masks on the website:

Our superfine, extra-long-staple cotton yarns, tightly woven into beautifully soft and durable fabrics, can effectively filter aerosol particles while being comfortable and breathable. Spun at our base, a revamped Victorian cotton mill in Dukinfield, our cotton yarns are woven in Devon. The fabric is printed in Manchester before it’s brought back to Tower Mill to be made into masks by our own team of machinists.

There are lots of important information about these kind of masks and about their use and how to care for them.

My original idea was to order only the bee mask. It’s quite understandable that English Fine Cotton chose this motif on their masks as the company is located in the Greater Manchester area, in Dukinfield. And a humble  worker bee is one of the symbols of the city. This is what is said about it on the Manchester City Council website:

The Manchester worker bee is one of the best-known symbols of Manchester and has been an emblem for the city for over 150 years.  The bee denotes Mancunians’ hard work ethic and the city being a hive of activity. It has also come to represent the sense of unity in our great city.

As I made my order outside the UK, I couldn’t do it directly via the company’s website, but I needed to contact them. I received a reply within hours from Director and General Manager Andy Ogden. All the procedures concerning my tiny order was later done with Sarah Schofield (Textiles Account/Administration Manager). In fact I was thinking that my order was too tiny regarding all the work it needed, so instead of one mask I ordered also the NHS Rainbow mask. This is in fact a good thing. You have always one mask ready for use if the other one is still hanging on a washing line.

I don’t know if I ever need them, but at least I have them now here if I need to travel by bus or go somewhere where I need to use a mask. And, we live now in the middle of a historical period, so I will definitely keep them as mementos.

English Fine Cotton ribbon

I mentioned above something about my personality, that everything I do need to have a good cause. Even when buying face masks. Besides the obvious cause of joining the fight the virus I needed something else to calm my anxiety concerning the fear of having to use the mask sometimes. The only way to do it was to make the purchase in a way that it would give some kind of feeling of “doing good”. That’s why I chose the face masks of English Fine Cottons.

There were two things. Firstly, the company itself. I have followed their activities at least with one eye since they started. I find it so fascinating that with them the commercial cotton spinning returned to Manchester. When I heard about it, I was just wishing in my mind good luck and successful future to them. And they are locating in a beautiful, listed mill, Tower Mill. What a great way to continue Manchester’s rich industrial heritage, as well as breathe new life into the old spinning mill. That’s what I love. I really do hope that I can visit there one day. A friend of mine, Andy Marland, went there in 2016 to attend an open day event. Please check Andy’s story ‘English Fine Cottons – a tour of Tower Mill‘. There are fantastic photos showing how a modern spinning mill looks like.

The other reason besides this industrial point of view was that when buying the masks from there, part of my money went to charity. For every mask they sell, the company donates £2.50 to NHS Charities. They also sell this mask, Alder Hey NHS Cough Catcher, and all profits made from it will go to the charity of Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. You can find more info about the different masks of English Fine Cottons here

For some reason, as soon as I had made my order, I started feeling better concerning the use of the face mask. It’s quite strange how your mind is working. The face mask anxiety is basically gone (even though I still hope I won’t end in a situation where a mask is needed) as I know I bought them from a place that actually means something to me, and buying them, I did something good, too. If I need to use them, I will carry them proudly.

Text and (tablet) photos © Katriina Etholén.
The page divider is the ribbon that came with the parcel.

P.S. The masks are in a regular use and I am very happy that I bought them!


English Fine Cottons website can be found here (there are lots of material to study, heritage, history, cotton and so on) and if you wan to just do some shopping, this is the place to go.

You find English Fine Cottons also on social media, e.g. on Facebook and Twitter.


4 thoughts on “Face Mask Anxiety and How Did I Solve It

Add yours

  1. Dear Katriina

    Yes face masks are a problem\m. In London the situation is very severe. Things here are bad.

    We have been concerned to get proper medical masks which really filter. It is dangerous for us to go our much. A face masks protects other people rather than oneself. They work if everyone wears a mask.

    In much of London people do not wear masks!


    Liked by 1 person

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