The Waiting (Room) Game

Ask most people what they dread about a trip to the doctor’s office and it won’t be the needles, cold stethoscopes, or the tight blood pressure machine … it’s the waiting room.

  • Crying Babies
  • Endless Waiting for Your Name to Be Called
    (while also keeping track of the number of people who got there after you only to be seen first … yes, yes. I know they had an appointment)
  • Germs Everywhere
  • Daytime TV or Commercials that You Wish were on Mute
  • … did I already mention crying babies ?

Doctor’s know it too – this is why they bring you early in the examination room and make you wait before coming to see you … so that your body has a chance to relax and destress from the waiting room trauma before the real examination begins.

If you find your patience wearing thin, the New York Times offer’s some tested advice: “Relax. It’s going to be O.K”

Anna Goldfarb suggests that one coping mechanism can be to “reframe the experience and connect it to a larger story:

Take, for example, someone aggravated with a nitpicky co-worker. Instead of dwelling on your irritation, you could think about the times you’ve been the one who has frustrated others.”

Lynne Eldridge with VeryWellHealth encourages waiting room hostages to flip the script and use the time to pursue enjoyable ventures:

“Instead of focusing on “losing” time, view your wait as an opportunity to do something you enjoy—something you wouldn’t ordinarily do in a normal workday.

Take time to crack the spine of that novel you’ve been meaning to read. Don’t worry that you aren’t accomplishing anything (if you tend to be a doer). You are enjoying a few moments of pleasure that you deserve, and that’s important!”

Samantha P. offers some entertaining ideas from SparkLife, like “Guess what month/year the stacks of creepily-wrinkled People magazines were printed just by looking at the covers.” (yuck!)

Whatever you do, find a way to ground yourself. Both for the sake of your health and sanity. It’s important to remember that everyone else around you is in the same situation you are too (and many of them are probably far sicker than you are).

Be kind and generous, and remember that eventually you’re time will come too.

p.s. once you’re in the room with the doctor, here are four questions  you can ask to make the most of your visit.

Stay Healthy!

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