How to Help Decrease #Anxiety before a #Surgery: Simple Tips

By Jes Sofia Valle, MA IMFT

Anxiety is a sign, an alert that something is off. Well when you are about to have surgery HECK YEAH there is something wrong! So of course your anxiety will increase! Boy logic I tell ya. Anxiety before having a surgery is wayyyyy normal. If you didn’t have some anxiety well… you would be a machine. And though most of us are well run oiled machines… we are also humans.

So no, you are not bonkers because you have anxiety before surgery. You are having surgery. It is normal.

So here is a list of things you can do to help you decrease your anxiety before you have surgery, I’ll explain why it’s important too. I will also keep it light because you need to laugh about it a little even though surgery is very serious…

  1. Breath…

We go through a lot, and finding out you are having surgery can be shocking. Sometimes we forget to breath because we don’t know “what might happen.” Trust that you will be ok. Breathing allows your muscles to get that oxygen that they need to relax and not be so tense. Also, drinking water is important. (But talk to your doctor about what you need to drink or not drink and by when you should stop drinking anything).

  1. If you feel you have to, Cry.

If you have to release your emotions do so! If you have to vent, warn your friend before you start venting so they can be prepared to help you. Don’t get all mad if they are no prepared, find another friend. Call you psychotherapist and set up a session, heck that’s why you pay them for right? 🙂

  1. Keep it positive!

We are humans, and thinking of the worst is something we tend to do! LIKE: WHOOOOOA what am I going to do?! Where is my car?! Hot or cold?? My house! What are my kids going to eat? I can’t cook (some of ya can’t really cook anyways and are talking about I can’t cook for them! LOL). Keep it simple. Keep it calm.

I can tell you from prior experience, it’s hard to do at first, just remind yourself you are an awesome human.

Keeping it positive helps you keep focused. SO…

  1. Make a list of questions.

Ask your doctor and ASK them! This will help with all the “what ifs” which can increase the anxiety. This way you can ask away, talk to the doctor about all your concerns and be honest and that will help you relieve some stress.

  1. Make To do list.

Make a list of the things you have to do before your surgery. Why? Because you need to get yourself organized and focused on yourself because you ARE important, let alone if you have kids and dogs or cats! It will also keep you busy and you will feel ready. JUST don’t focus on the List TOO much. If you have friends who offer you help, take it.

Here is my to do list as an Example (example):

  1. Tell friends and family (If you don’t tell anyone, they will not know and tell them to bring healthy foods only.)

2.Paperwork needed to be done for work.

3.Tell lead intern to gather and give me date and time for meeting.

  1. Pay Bills for next month
  2. Buy dog food.
  3. Clean house, disinfect   (actually cleaning is a great stress reducer, but if you can’t move don’t do it!)
  4. Tell brother/cousin to help with Buddy (Dog, walk morning/night feed).
  5. Buy healthy meals freeze (since you can’t cook as you will be in bed rest).
  6. Update your will, live will… finance will – be graceful and kind.
  7. Take a shower… and eat healthy!
  8. Relax

Do some yoga. Meditate and hang out with friends. Put your phone down. It’s important you make time for you and your family. Don’t get too involved in new things… keep it simple.

  1. Smile. Laugh. Lunch.

Remember you are getting through it. They are going in you to help “fix” the situation. This is part of your healing process. A friend once told me, you don’t have control of what they do, but you do have control of what happens before and after the surgery. And trust your doctors. Make them some good cupcakes before your surgery and create that positive environment… #justsaying

  1. Watch a funny movie.

I recommend you do NOT watch your surgery that sometimes can give you more anxiety because you will have it in your mind over and over and over… and that is exactly what we are trying to help you work through.

  1. Keep it healthy

If you can, work out, stretch your neck (ask your doctor what you can’t and can do). Talk to you Dietitian and ask what you can and cannot eat. And get ready for your healing process. Take a Brisk walk with your kid, partner, dog or cat.

  1. Have faith, whatever you believe trust that you will be ok. And one last thing… leave me a comment with more intel 😀

Smile (if you want to)

Jes Sofia

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