I've been thinking a lot about those who - for reasons related to trauma - find wearing a mask very difficult. Of course, the safest/ easiest thing to do is stay home, but that's not always an option. Some people have to work. Some people have to do their own shopping. Etc.
So I've come up with some suggestions in hopes that one or some of them may help. These are unprecedented times, and these may end up being useless. But it's worth a shot.
Try cute, calming, or meaningful patterns - if you have littles, they might find mild comfort in wearing some of my own designs (if you have a request for a pattern I don't currently have, send me a message and I'll make one!)
Try 1-2 drops of essential oil under your nose before you put it on; I've had some success in re-training my brain to stay grounded by using essential oils. My own personal favorite is marjoram, but you could try anything that you find pleasant. (Peppermint oil is strong and kind of in-your-face but not usually in a bad way.) Note: some of the oils should not be applied directly to your skin; you may need a drop or two of an oil mixed with it.
Perhaps gum, candy, or a sucker -- another idea with the littles in mind. Especially if these things might be considered fun, or a treat... maybe try having something yummy in your mouth while you have to wear the mask? Gummy bears, Sour Patch Kids, a gobstopper or something that will (hopefully) last a little while. See if you can make it through whatever the task is without biting down. Make it a game.
My thought process is that maybe it will help the littles realize that something good is happening (they get candy!) and that their mouth and nose are NOT - in fact - blocked...at least not in the way they're worried about. They are in "now time," where even though it might not seem like it, you are trying to protect them and keep them safe by complying with the current health guidelines.
These are the only things I've thought of so far. Maybe you could try doing any of them that appeal to you, but only wearing the mask around the house for 5-10 minutes at a time, while doing something extremely relaxing or fun. "Practice" doing it for short periods of time and then take it off. It's my hope that any positive association that you can build in your mind with wearing the mask and then taking it off ASAP can help create a tolerance that will hopefully be able to last the length of a trip to the store or for an essential errand, etc.
Try to make it a "mission" for the littles, or turn it into a fun challenge. This isn't mask-specific but I've flat-out used bribery in the past when I've been facing something difficult and needed to help motivate my system to do something really hard. Plan to take home ice cream later, or order a movie you've been wanting to see for awhile, after the errand that requires a mask. Be creative.
We are smart, folks. We didn't survive all the shit we've been through just to be defeated by this stupid COVID19 thing. We can do this. I believe in us!
I'm with you, friends. If you've found any helpful tips, you are welcome to share them in the comments.