As the COVID pandemic has affected every one of us differently and to a different extent, feeling anxious about it or before taking a diagnostic test is a part of the ‘new normal’. This feeling can especially intensify when you feel the symptoms for the first time. Luckily, there are ways that can help you alleviate your concerns during the testing process and isolation.
Prepare and Get Informed
Getting to know basic facts about the test can bring some relief from the overwhelming stress. As you probably already know, the nasopharyngeal swab test will not be the most comfortable experience in your life. It will include a bit unpleasant insertion of a 6-inch long swab in the cavity between your nose and mouth for around 15 seconds, followed by several rotations. What is more, this process could be repeated on the other side of the nose just so that practicians make sure enough sample is collected.
In the end, the best thing to do is to talk to the healthcare worker who will be giving you the test. Share with them your worries and concerns. Feel free to ask as many questions as you can, as getting grips with what you will face during your testing trial will benefit you in the long run. Also, healthcare practicians are educated to guide and support you during the process.
Postpone Your Emotional Reaction
Once you undergo the testing, the time you spend waiting for the results could feel like an eternity. You can easily slip into that feeling like your whole life is unfolding before your eyes. Keeping your mind elsewhere, however, is the best and foolproof tactic. While you wait, you can focus on the things you love, like your interests or hobbies - reading your favorite book can do.
On the other hand, re-establishing your control and making a plan in case you are faced with positive results would also be helpful.
In the end, if you ARE faced with positive results, you can lean on professionals and ask them for tips, as they have the best tools to lead you through your next steps.
Employ Relaxation Methods
When it comes to COVID and COVID testing, to most of us, relaxing and not panicking can sound quite impossible. However, there are many practical and easy exercises that can make your anxiety easier.
First, you can take some time to breathe, and try yoga to relax and ease your mind. These exercises will not only make your body feel less tired, but they will bring more peace, focus, and clarity to your mind.
The next thing you can do is easy breathing exercises. One thing you can do is simply breathe out longer than you breathe in, and as effortlessly as possible. You can even make it your mantra: “Once in doubt, breathe out.” You will see how calmer you will feel inside out in no time. Another exercise is to take one breath but in two short connecting steps, and then breathe out at once - the same pattern you will notice when you are sobbing. This will actually alleviate the stress response.
Share Your Concerns and Stay Connected
In times of stress, keeping yourself connected to your family, friends, and community can be really healing. Sharing your thoughts and concerns on social media, via text messages, or video calls with people you love and feel supported by will be your best medicine, and they will surely come up with many creative ways to make you feel loved and supported.
Once your testing is done and in case you are negative, you can organize your meet-up and celebrate the outcome. On the other hand, in case you come out positive, they will surely do all they can to keep you distracted from the situation - whether it’s frequent video calls, online movie and video game nights, chatting or coming by your window to say hello and check up on you.
Change Your Focus
In the end, changing your focus from the topic and keeping yourself entertained is the best method to deal with the COVID testing scare - and that’s where things like Netflix and other streaming alternatives step in. Also, if you wanted to try gaming, cooking, knitting, learning about new things, this can be an ideal moment, as you will have a lot of free time to spare while isolating.
Over the last few years, we all got concerned about the COVID testing results always hoping for one outcome - staying negative. And even though the time it takes to find out your results could be as fast as 20 minutes, it still seems like an eternity. While new testing methods could remove some discomfort, getting a clear-cut plan on what you can do and how you can keep yourself distracted while waiting and isolating is the best way to go through all of it. Good luck!