It’s Hard to Wait

May 30, 2019 | Wendy Hanson | @wendyhanson

shutterstock_767539465 time imageDo minutes ever seem like hours and days like weeks? Many people claim these statements to be true when waiting for test results – the period from collection to results can mirror what feels like eternity. There isn’t any dancing around it, waiting for results can be stressful, but there are some things we can do to help ease our worries.

First, know that stress during this time is normal. Whether awaiting an initial diagnosis or anticipating news of follow-up imaging, emotions run high – how could they not? So, what can we do to gain control of our anxiety and avoid the havoc that increased levels of stress can do to our bodies? Some people may resort to eating away their concerns. Others might opt to jump on the Internet to read up on all the possible scenarios – no matter how tempting these may be, try to resist these urges. Instead, try the following suggestions to add more comfort:

  • Phone a trusted friend: being able to discuss our worries with others in a safe, uncensored way is a gift. Bottling up or ignoring emotions isn’t healthy. Talk things out and get the weight of unsaid concerns off your shoulders.  Saying it out loud can be freeing and help silence the voices in your head.
  • Take a hike: or engage in some other activity you enjoy. Whether it’s walking, knitting, heading to the ballpark or going for a swim. Immersing yourself in something active will not only help the time pass quickly, but will rejuvenate you as well.
  • Give breathing exercises a try: find a time of day and an environment that brings you peace and try to focus on the here and now. Feel like you need a hand in getting started? Next time you are in Rochester, stop by the Slaggie Family Cancer Education Center for a class – our team would be happy to help! Not planning to be in Rochester? No problem, visit Stress Management on www.mayoclinic.org to learn more about decreasing stress by using your breath.
  • Seek support: find an individual (or group of individuals) who has been on a similar path. Talking to others who have shared experiences not only offers support, but reminds us we aren’t alone.

Feelings of nervousness, anxiety or even frustration and impatience, are normal. The longer the wait, sometimes the bigger the emotions. What tips do you have to make the wait less stressful? We look forward to learning from you!

Looking to join in similar discussions? Visit either of the two Mayo Clinic Connect conversations below to share your experience.

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