Ways to pass the waiting (for test results) time

As if the test itself weren’t anxiety-producing enough. Then you hear a version of these words:

“We should have results in 14-21 business days.”

The rest is implied.

Woman fly fishing in shallow water

Now, go forth about your life and act as normal as possible. Do not look on the Internet (like anybody ever followed that impossible advice). You won’t feel like you are on your A-game (because you’re distracted by the possibility of worrisome health news), but you would look ridiculous to give it much mind before you know anything definite, so BE ON YOUR A-GAME.

And you do, keeping it together just enough not to appear too human at work or around casual acquaintances.

And it’s exhausting.

I just went through this, alternating between feeling faithful and trusting, then uneasy and afraid, back to confident and resolute, and then frustrated and sad again. Spoiler alert – the time didn’t pass any faster while I was living in this distracted head space. So I found healthier ways to occupy my time (and my mind) instead.

Below are a few favorites. If you have any to add to the list, I’d love to hear from you!

Call and catch up with a friend.

When I start to feel a bit restless, bored with my own thought patterns, or preoccupied with something that I’m not able to impact (i.e., waiting for test results), it’s a clear signal that I need to get out of my own head.

Setting aside all me-centered thoughts, I then think about who amongst my friend groups have I not checked in on in awhile.

Who has God put on my heart, even if I may not quite know the reason why?

Some of the most soul-nourishing conversations I’ve had with girlfriends over the years have come from moments like this.

It’s not that anybody else’s struggles change the way you feel about your own. But it’s refreshing to to take a respite from your baggage long enough to truly invest in someone else.

Move your body.

You know how forgetful we can be sometimes? Like how time can dim your memory to the like-a-new-baby demands that come with a new puppy at home? At least until you’re a sleep-deprived dog mom wiping up very un-cute pee puddles, dodging razor sharp teething “nibbles” and asking your husband “Why did we do this again?”

I am absolutely that person. I forget the hassle of early puppy parenting, because I love the joy she brings us now. I forget what a mess my holiday kitchen becomes, because I love the tradition of our Twelve Cookies of Walden Christmas.

Until recently, I even forgot how good a short workout can make me feel. I returned to it during this frustratingly long window of waiting for test results. A YouTube step video here, a weight-lifting session there, and some good old-fashioned resistance band work.

Only a few workout sessions have already done wonders for my outlook. I feel coordinated, capable, clear-headed, and strong, and I think I can already see a little more definition taking shape.

It was also pretty fabulous to step on the scale the night after a GNO involving red wine and fried things, and see that I’m holding steady.

Try a new recipe.

Special occasions aside, I have also decided that now is as good a time as any to be keto-(re)inspired.

When I make go-to recipes, I’m so used to it that I can shop, prep and serve it more or less on autopilot. That gives my mind lots of time to ruminate on unhealthy worries (like test results), because the task at hand requires zero focus.

But when I’m trying a new recipe, I have to pay attention.

I kind of nerd out going to the different sections of the store, looking for the highest-quality special ingredients I can find. Back home, I’m not haphazardly chopping just to get it done. Instead, I am meticulous and thoughtful.

I choose the serving dish with great care, and it’s not unusual for me to periodically peek into the oven because I am making a new thing! And hopefully it will be worth the wait! And there will be bonus points if my people eat it with gusto!

PSA on behalf of good cooks and hard-working
mothers everywhere:

Do not look skeptically at a new dish, poke it in great trepidation with your fork, and then ask distrustingly, “What is this?”

It won’t end in your favor.

Go enjoy Mother Nature.

Happily, the timing of this waiting window overlapped with a girls trip I’d already had planned. We spent this afternoon fly fishing, and although the only thing I caught was a leaf, I had the best time.

My soul felt at ease, immersed in the beauty and quiet solitude of a state park. Instead of fighting non-turn signal idiots for road space, or dealing with the incessant and inane chatter of Sirius channel hosts, I felt the rush of river water all around my waders, with balmy autumn sunshine glistening everywhere.

But had I been home, I would’ve been just as happy going out for a brisk walk, working in the garden, or even taking a short bike ride. There is just some kind of powerful mental reset button that gets activated when you’re outside the four walls of your home.

I can think more clearly when the many competing priorities for my time and attention aren’t staring me in the face. The laundry (always/eventually) gets folded and put away. The mail gets sorted. Nobody goes hungry. And I always return with a rejuvenated spirit to do whatever things need doing.

Best of all, I’m unburdened by worry.

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