The genetic testing process can be stressful for many people. Waiting weeks between the blood test and the visit to find out the results can cause anxiety. This worksheet was created to provide you with tools and exercises that you may find useful in coping with these feelings.
First, your feelings are normal. Most people worry and feel anxious when they are waiting on any type of medical result. One of the most effective things you can do is to take a moment to breathe. You can do this in a chair, standing up, or lying down. If you feel comfortable you can close your eyes. Take a deep breath in and let that air fill up your belly. Then exhale all the air so that your bellybutton gets closer to your spine. You want to make sure you are doing this slowly. Do this five to ten times.
In addition to breathing slowly, you might want to stretch your body. When we are anxious we tend to tighten our muscles. There are many videos online which guide you through stretching sessions which are five minute or longer. Stretching helps our body relax.
Another suggestion to effectively manage anxiety or feeling overwhelmed is to focus on something else. One way to do this is to engage one or more of the five senses. Doing so, even for a short while, may produce significant benefit. Here are some ideas:
|Vision||Go for a walk. Log onto a museum website to take a virtual tour. Watch an uplifting movie. Read a book.|
|Hearing||Listen to music, nature sounds, or an inspiring podcast.|
|Touch||Take a warm shower or bath. Cuddle up in a weighted blanket. Pet an animal. Ask someone for a hug.|
|Taste||Eat a favorite snack or meal. Make a cup of tea or coffee.|
|Smell||Find your favorite fragrant flower. Cook a familiar meal. Use essential oils, perfume, or your favorite cologne.|
Some people engage in hobbies to focus on enjoyable, satisfying things. This can be something physical like a sport. It can also be something creative such as making music, painting, dancing, writing. Other people like to journal or make videos to record their experiences.
One of the most important ways to cope while you are waiting is to reach out to others. Knowing that you are not alone can help to decrease anxiety. You can let your HD Reach team know that you would like us to arrange check-ins during this waiting time. You can also of course reach out to family or friends.
Waiting is difficult. Give some of these techniques a try. We are hopeful they will help.