Wondering how to stay calm during a doctor appointment, either for yourself or for your kids? Well, this is an area where I happen to have tons of personal experience.
I’ve had to learn how to stay calm during a doctor appointment for both myself and for my son. If you’ve been through serious infertility issues, it is likely that you’ve had more internal exams than any one woman should have in a lifetime. Whether or not you have children now, no matter how you brought those children into your family, going to the doctor after infertility is different than before. In fact, my doctor talks openly about how many women experience a sort of post-traumatic fear of doctors after infertility.
Studies show that women who undergo fertility treatments may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Sometimes life’s events can become coded in the brain as traumatic. Though we may not realize it until we are lying on the table with our feet in stirrups, post-traumatic symptoms may still arise several years after infertility. Oddly enough, I truly didn’t realize just how affected I was by all those years of infertility treatments until the one day when I wasn’t fearful anymore.
By the time my son was a toddler, he knew way too much about what going to the doctor really means. We knew something was wrong, and spent many hours at appointments trying to determine just what that meant. Once he was diagnosed, we spent many years going to and from various doctor appointments, which almost always included some type of needle. Fortunately, after years of fear and learning how to stay calm during a doctor appointment when he was little, today he’s a model patient!
10 Ways to Stay Calm During a Doctor Appointment
Understanding the reason you or your child feel stress before a doctor appointment can be the first step toward reducing the stress. Recently I did some research and spoke to a few experts to get recommendations on ways to reduce post traumatic stress or just plain old fear of white coats, as many doctors call it.
Here are some tips for how to stay calm during a doctor appointment:
Avoid caffeine or other stimulants.
Stick to decaf the morning of your appointment. There’s no need for any extra jitters. You can always treat yourself to that cup of coffee when your appointment is over!
Bring someone with you.
Your spouse or partner, your mother, sister or a friend can sit in the waiting room with you, or hold your hand when you need it. If it helps to bring someone with you for support, then by all means, do it.
Listen to music.
Listening to music can divert your attention or keep you calmer. Ask your doctor if it’s okay to listen to soothing music during your exam at a low enough level to still be able to ask and answer questions. Put on your ear buds and let your neves be soothed.
Bring a stress ball.
Stress balls are a commonly used tool in classrooms throughout the country. It’s a simple yet effective way to relieve nervous tension before and during the doctor’s examination. This tip works incredibly well for children in my experience. It is especially helpful for those who tend to physically anxious.
Deep breathing is a natural stress reliever and an excellent stress management technique that is easy to do anywhere. Take a few slow deep breaths and repeat until you feel your body relax and the feelings of stress begin to subside.
Imagine your favorite peaceful calm place. (Mine, for example, is an empty beach with just me, the sand, and the sound of the ocean.) Picture it. Imagine yourself there. Smell the aromas. Hear the sounds. It’s not always easy to do this during a physical exam, but visualization techniques are designed to use your imagination to calm your mind and body.
Take herbs or use essential oils.
As you may know if you visit this site often, I’m a proponent of essential oils for stress. There is a real science and truth to aromatherapy for the easing senses. Lavender, Joy, Peace and Calming, and Stress Away are all great essential oils to use for relieving tension and helping to calm your nerves.
Talk to your doctor.
Don’t be shy! If your doctor knows that you or your child are fearful, he or she may be more sensitive during your exam. It is always helpful for me when the doctor explains what he or she is doing, so I tend to ask a lot of questions. My younger son is the same, always wanting to know what the doctor is doing and why.
Use your phone.
The middle of a doctor appointment is probably not the best time to call your mother, but it may distract your attention away from being nervous if you get involved in something else, such as playing games online or browsing social media. I strongly recommend talking to your doctor about why you are on your phone so that she understand that it’s a distraction technique and doesn’t think you are just being rude.
Cry if you need to cry.
You don’t need to be a martyr! Neither do your children. Do not ever be ashamed or embarrassed of feeling fear. If those feelings of fear do come rushing back, it’s perfectly okay to let them out.
Knowing how to relieve stress when in a doctor’s office, no matter what the reason for the visit, will make those necessary appointments more enjoyable.
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