Six in the Morning: We all need more ZZZZZZZZ's

Fawn Musick

In my position as the office manager of an up-and-coming psychiatry and psychotherapy office, I try to make things work smoothly. We work the schedules and send off bills. We offer lots of advice, keep the candy bowl full, and make people feel OK about being there across the window from us. Sometime back, I had some great ideas about how to expand our offices.

We started with the Psychmatch.com program, where I was going to help patients connect with other patients. I had two patients who would be perfect together, and after much window counseling, I decided that they would make the perfect couple. I worked the schedules and had them coming in on the same day, one behind the other. The only problem was HIPPA. I was foiled immediately. I could not introduce them to each other, and I couldn’t ensure that they would actually speak to each other in the waiting room. All I could do was get them into the waiting room at the same time.

The first visit was not a success, as one went back to see the doctor before the other came in – which makes sense, as their appointments were back to back, not simultaneous. They crossed for about 12 seconds, while one checked out and the other passed right by going in to see the doctor, I had to sit and watch as my perfect match veered away from each other.

As luck would have it, they both were to return in four weeks. Alas, one wanted morning and one wanted afternoon. I could see right away that with all the HIPPA laws, I was not going to make a success of Psychmatch.com, even though it was a great idea. I heard them crying out to me through my window, but I could do nothing.

My next idea was to have a wine bar in the waiting room. They would definitely be chill when they were called back for therapy, but it got nixed right from the start. I have suggested margaritas for sleep problems, but all I got for that suggestion was a snort and an eye roll.

We do have yoga therapy and quilting therapy in place, and many are happy coming in for those events. We also go into workplaces and give Lunch-and-Learn topics to help with work stress and workplace fatigue. One idea I am working on is Therapy for Therapists. It would be a night out to work on themselves instead of others.

Of all my ideas, the best one I have had so far, and the one I feel is absolutely necessary in today’s fast-paced world, is Nap Therapy. Yes, NAP THERAPY. We would have a room with small couches, chairs, or even a twin bed. Dimmed lights. No cell phones. No talking. Maybe some soft music or tinkling sounds. The sleep-deprived or agitated would make an appointment, just like a regular doctor’s appointment, come in, lock up all communication devices, pick a seat and rest/sleep for 30 minutes. We would give them a doctor’s note to get back to work or school, and they would feel better.

When my kids get snappy and out of sorts, my first resort is always a nap. When they would scream, “But I’m not tired!” I knew that I was correct in my assessment. The more they got upset, the more I knew they needed a nap.

I see people every day who are so tired, they can barely get through the sign-in process. They are out of sorts with themselves, and nothing in their world makes sense. Our entire culture needs more rest. All the 24/7 inventions, non-stop information, lights, lights, and more light does not make a well-rested citizen who can make sensible decisions. A brain with no rest can NOT make good choices.

When I was young, most kids were in by 10 or 10:30 p.m. on school nights. We had Sundays off because no stores were open. We got up, went to church, had lunch with family and spent the rest of the day watching the Dallas Cowboys or lazing around. If we got snappy, we found ourselves in bed in the middle of the afternoon. We rested and were able to get through the week without a “meltdown.”

Now, we have first-graders talking about being nervous, and their mothers discuss their “meltdowns” and their difficulty getting through all the activities they have been signed up for. We have teens afraid to enter the adult world, partly because they are exhausted from scrolling continuously on their social media. They don’t know how to make a life for themselves outside of a screen. We have moms and dads working tirelessly so that their kids can have more stuff and be everything they want to be.

We need to rest! We need to slow down just a little. We need to be able to take a moment at the grocery store and let someone else go in front. We need to be able to sit on the deck and talk about our day. We need to stop and listen to silence now and again. We need a day to do what we want to do rather than what we MUST do.

If you are not getting enough rest, you are welcome to come into our up-and-coming psychiatry office and make an appointment for our NAP THERAPY room. If enough ask for it, they will let me build it. 

Fawn Musick is a Princeton Times columnist, a mom, and a blogger. To read more of her work, visit fawn.musick.com. To contact her, write fawnmusick@yahoo.com