5 Ways to Optimize Healthcare Appointments
1. Have a list of symptoms and questions ready: This may seem a little odd, but it is absolutely necessary when going to the doctor. If you are anything like me, I will have symptoms throughout a time period, and when I go into the doctor, I freeze with anxiety. I cannot remember all of the things that I wanted to discuss. And to be frank, I do not want to annoy the doctor. I am a recovering people pleaser and I hesitate to go with my gut and ask more questions. This is also something that most of us have learned to be quiet about as well. Furthermore, I also want to get out of there as quick as possible, so I tend to keep quiet and let the doctors do their thing. But then when I get home, I regret not asking all of the questions. I get mad at myself for not speaking up and go back to worrying about symptoms and my health. Really, I just increased my health anxiety. It is a cycle that is never helpful, and I needed to try and find a solution for it. So, writing down my symptoms and my questions was my answer. I take some time the night before and write it all down. If I am keeping any kind of food or symptom journal, I also go through that. And guess what? Not only am I addressing everything, but I have had doctors say how much they appreciate it! Scouts honor. Plus, my anxiety lessens, and we can address the symptoms and questions. I have also noticed that they will spend more time as well, which is helpful 😊

2. Pick your favorite activity to relax: So, I had a bad habit of canceling appointments the day of the appointment. I would be so ridden with anxiety, especially health anxiety, that I could not go. I would then cancel, and cry from guilt and feeling this way. It made everything worse, and I would go through it time and time again. Like most things, I had to unfortunately get to the point where I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. So, I made a routine the night before that included relaxation. Sometimes it would be listening to my favorite music or tv show, and other times it was talking to a close friend. Whatever helps you to lessen your anxiety, please do that. I used to think it was about relaxing the day of, but it is vital to relax the night before.

3. Hydrate and get a good night’s rest: This sounds so easy, and I say I am going to do this every day, but I really have to make an effort. So, the night before make sure to drink lots of water. It will help lessen your anxiety as well as help you to not feel as hungry if you need to fast. And we all know how a good night’s sleep is important. If you do the aforementioned, it will make it easier to get optimal sleep, even if it is not as much as you wanted to get.

4. Get everything ready the night before: I remember as a little girl I would lay out my clothes, shoes, backpack, etc. Well, I have found out as an adult, it is helpful to do the same (swap the backpack with your purse). This is just another way to feel more relaxed and prepared. Get the notes ready in your purse, have water ready, take a shower, lay out comfortable clothes and shoes, and a mask and hand sanitizer. This way, if you have some normal anxiety the next day, you do not have to do much. You are prepared, and ready to go.

5. Try to take some time to gather yourself and give yourself that pep talk: If you can take a little extra time for yourself, do it! This way you can take some deep breaths and be your own hype girl. Remember, you can do this. You got this. As Glennon Doyle always says, “you can do hard things.” Smile, chin up, and go in with the confidence you have within 😊
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