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Wholeness & Wellness Journal
of Saskatchewan Since 1995
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Volume 28 Issue 3
September/October 2022

The State of Local Food in Saskatchewan

The Liver and Its Role in Detoxification

Back to Your Roots

Forever Young in Mind, Body, and Spirit

How to Cope with Stress and Anxiety During Your Next Doctor’s Appointment!

Your Confidence Becomes You Through Self-Awareness and Mastery

Do You Have a Fear of Growing and Changing?


How to Cope with Stress and Anxiety During Your Next Doctor’s Appointment!
by Denise Holmlund
Audrey Doepker

How often do you think this happens? Have you ever gone to an appointment and reminded yourself that you need to focus and listen, so not to miss a thing? Then you get home and think, “I better write this down right away so I don’t forget.” And then it happens…a big blank! Nothing! You think harder and harder…NOTHING. Then you think to yourself, “I just have to break this cycle of not remembering what happened by attempting a task to change my thought pattern.”

Thirty minutes later, you try recalling the appointment. You put yourself in the room, you see the doctor, you can even hear him. And you start to put a few words down, but you are not sure if that’s what he meant or how to spell the words. If only you had someone with you to be your ears. Next time you will, but who to ask? You don’t want your friends to know everything about you. You don’t want to bother them, everyone is working, etc. 

That’s where I come in—your patient advocate. I have been in the health field for many years, working in many different areas of healthcare. I have worked with all ages during my career. I will keep the information confidential and listen with a deeper understanding of content. This allows you to relax and focus on what is important to you. So if you get hung up on a specific comment made by the doctor, that’s okay, I will remember. This helps reduce your overall stress during the appointment and gives you peace of mind, knowing I will discuss the appointment afterwards and create a summary that you and your family can understand. Imagine allowing yourself to listen and participate in a conversation and not worrying about writing things down.

Here is another secret for you. This type of forgetfulness is not necessarily a health concern. When you were anticipating the appointment and the need for remembering everything you hear, you were setting yourself up. Starting to anticipate all the outcomes, i.e. What if I don’t hear it all? What if I can’t remember it all? What if I don’t understand the content? What if I don’t feel comfortable asking for clarification? Your mind starts pumping out the stress hormones just thinking about these questions. By the time you are at the appointment you have secreted a lot of cortisol (stress hormone). Every appointment brings out some stress hormone, which is not a bad thing. A small amount is like an energy boost, it pushes you through the event. But sometimes we somehow forget to shut off that valve, and without knowing it, our blood is flooded with stress hormones and there is no physical event to use them up. The body believes you are in fight or flight mode perceiving stress, so it shunts blood away from the brain to increase movement in the muscles. The next thing that follows is confusion. Your brain gets cloudy and “skips a beat or two,” and then there is no way you are mentally going to remember what is said during that appointment. It’s not that your memory is poor, it’s the flood of hormones and no actual threat. Repeated instances of acute stress over a long period of time can become harmful.

Stress is involved in everything we do. It affects us physically and psychologically, and the key is how we manage stress. There are some simple things to incorporate into our daily routines that improve our reactions to situations.

  • Identify stressors—it’s important to take a look at what is causing you stress. Keep a daily journal to identify some key areas.
  • If it is a particular person or place you may need to avoid, especially if multiple things are going on, then choose your battles. 
  • Take control of your environment—take different routes if it’s traffic, turn TV off if it’s external events.
  • Reduce your commitments—if too many at once or too close together. 
  • Reframe problems—look at opportunities to pause and regroup.
  • Look at the big picture—how will this problem affect me in a week? A year? Is it really worth getting upset over?
  • Get moving—take a walk, go outside. 
  • Practice gratitude—every night name five things that you are grateful for. Imagine if everything you are grateful for are the only things that return tomorrow.
  • Meditate—1 minute, 3 minutes, even 5 minutes a day.
  • Deep breathing exercises (diaphragmatic breathing).

Another way to reduce stress is to reach out to others. Find someone who will listen empathetically. Being in the health profession for 30 years, I would like to be that person for you. I can help you reduce your stress before, during, and after an appointment. I have had my share of stress in the past, I’ve learned ways to limit and reduce it, and I would love to share my thoughts with you after hearing your situation. You just have to ask. 

Every little thing you try may make a difference. The trick is not letting acute stress turn into chronic or long-term stress. If you find yourself becoming irritable or tense, you should look at your stress load. 

If you are interested in being supported, check out my services at Momentumnursing.com.

Invest in your most valuable resource—your health!

Denise Holmlund began Momentum Nursing in 2018, with a clear vision of what patient-centred care should be, bringing the “art of caring” to the forefront of her practice. With 32 years of nursing experience behind her, she provides a range of services such as patient advocate, patient consultation, advanced foot care, lymphatic drainage, and ayurvedic services. You can find her at Momentumnursing.com, Broadway.Health, Instagram, and Facebook.


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