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How to Make the Most of Your Doctor’s Appointment

How to Make the Most of Your Doctor’s Appointment

We’ve all experienced rising health care costs over the past few years. Due to these costs and changes in coverage due to recent legislation, it is more important than ever to make the most of your doctor’s appointment.

Avoid the frustration of not getting your questions answered and feeling rushed during your appointment by being prepared. Have the information your doctor needs written clearly so you can answer questions quickly and concisely. Don’t let the appointment end until you’ve gotten your questions answered either. You are paying for their time, get what you need from it!

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In order to make the most of your doctor’s appointment we will cover how best to prepare, what to do during the appointment, and how to track what you learned after in the sections below.

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How to Prepare for Your Doctor’s Appointment:

  • If you are a new patient or your doctor’s office has forms you need to fill out before starting, download or get a copy before arriving at the appointment and have them filled out when you arrive.
  • Write down your questions ahead of time. Avoid multiple appointments by being prepared.
  • Keep a log of any relevant info leading up to the appointment.
    • Record information such as: how well you’ve been sleeping, exercise, weight fluctuations, aches, headaches, and a record of any additional symptoms.
  • Keep a list of all medications and supplements
    • Include the name, brand (if applicable), and dosage on your list.
    • Write down what each one is used for in your notes.
    • Give a list of the medications and supplements to your health care provider at each appointment. These items can and do change over time. Even if your doctor has a current list they often can’t easily access the information and need reminding. The medications and supplements you take are very important. Some might not go well together or could be causing some of the issues you are having. If your doctor has the complete picture of what you take they can better help you.
    • Take a photo of each prescription and supplement label as well.
    • Keep the photos in Evernote, reference these photos and your list if you forget medications at home while traveling and need replacements.

What To Do During The Appointment:

  • Record your vital information.
    • Your doctor’s aide usually will take your blood pressure, heart rate and weight at each visit. Ask for the information, unless you ask they usually won’t tell you.
  • Be sure to get answers for each and every question on your list.
    • Ask follow up questions if you need more clarification.
  • Take notes during the appointment.
    • Consider recording the audio from your doctor’s appointment in Evernote as well as taking written notes.
  • Ask for any prescription refills, take a photocopy of the prescription so you have the information. This can be very handy if you doctor’s office doesn’t get your prescription phoned it or if you need a refill when you are away from home.
  • Ask for a copy of any lab test results or medical records covered during the doctor’s appointment.

After Your Doctor’s Appointment, Make The Most Of It:

  • Keep a list of all your doctor’s appointments by year so you can see patterns and identify significant changes over time.
  • Scan any written notes into your Evernote account for future reference.
  • Scan lab results or documentation you received from your doctor.
    • Past lab results can be very handy when working with a new doctor or just refreshing your doctor’s mind about patterns you see in your medical history.
  • Create goals for any new directions your doctor gave you.
    • Use a mobile application like Streaks to help you create new habits such as drinking more water, taking a new medication, or exercising as prescribed.

How will your next doctor’s visit be when you come prepared to make the most of it? Each person needs to become their own best health advocate. When you are armed with information and prepare for your medical visits you can become that advocate for yourself.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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