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Play-Doh therapy


Image: pzAxe | Veer

The quarter’s starting to round out to an end and that week 7 rut is still lingering – I feel totally swamped. So what am I doing about it? My text book is open, I’ve got a highlighter ready, and instead, I’ve opened a little gift Santa left in my stocking last Christmas – a 1 ounce jar of Play-Doh. It’s been sitting on my desk ever since, and lately I’ve started using it as my stress-release, but now, I think I am onto something.

Play-Doh is actually very therapeutic. Think about it – it’s colorful and fun, squishy, but not messy, and it’s got that oh-so-comforting smell that takes you back to the safe days of kindergarten and play time… long before the days of studying and nursing school. Maybe it’s the child in me (or maybe the future peds nurse?), but here are some very therapeutic uses of Play-Doh every nursing student should consider:

  1. It’s bright and cheerful, and comes in all colors – pick out your favorite and add a splash of color to the dreary world of black-and-white text book reading.
  2. There is essentially no mess, so you can play around with it on your book and it won’t damage it or leave oily spots.
  3. While contemplating my reading assignment, I have molded a miniature, hot pink, not-so-anatomically-correct brain. Ok, so I won’t be winning any modeling awards, but it did just make me focus on what a brain actually looks like. You can get as detailed as you like. Maybe modeling anatomy is your way of learning – you’ll never know until you try!
  4. It can help you stay focused when you are reading, sort of like that theory about chewing gum while taking tests. It’s something you can do while studying that stimulates your senses without being too distracting (unless you start modeling brains out of it… which is kind of distracting.)
  5. Put your highlighter down while reading, and pick up the Play-Doh. While it’s keeping you focused, it’s also keeping you from highlighting every other sentence in your text book!
  6. STRESS-RELIEF – we’re all super stressed out. Why not squish out your anxiety? It totally works, and you can do it while studying, so no time wasted!
  7. Little one ounce jars are cheap, convenient for travel and storage. You can take it with you anywhere you study. You can probably even use it during a test for stress relief, since there are no words on it!

Ok, I know it’s a bit silly, but that’s ok, because as I am reading about types of therapies and treatments, I’ve made one of my own: Play-Doh therapy. Effective for treatment of nursing-school-induced anxiety, frustration, lack of focus and mild procrastination.

Ani Burr, RN
I'm a brand new, full-fledged, fresh-out-of-school RN! And better yet, I landed the job of my dreams working with children. I love what I do, and while everyday on the job is a new (and sometimes scary) experience, I'm taking it all in - absorbing everything I can about this amazing profession we all fell in love with.

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