Archive for Nurse Notes

Coloring and Anxiety

School Nurses see a lot of anxiety

As a school nurse at a very large high school, to say I saw a lot, is an understatement.   Kids came to me with paper cuts, tummy aches, rashes, headaches, anaphylactic reactions to latex, sprains, strains, dislocated shoulders, sore throats, on and on.  But the predominant condition that stands out most is the anxiety and depression, along with self-injury that I saw.  At first, in my inexperience, I thought these kids were coming to the nurse’s office simply to get out of class or to get attention.   As I grew in my assessment skills and awareness, I realized there was something real happening.

Kids came to me saying that they couldn’t breathe, or they felt as though there were having a heart attack. Heart rate and respirations were elevated, sometimes they were sweating, pupils often were dilated. Something physical was happening.  I came to understand that these “frequent fliers”, as became know as, were experiencing physical manifestations of anxiety.  Turns out, it wasn’t all ‘in their head’.

Anxiety is Real

These kids, often high achievers, sometimes introverts, sometimes the forgotten ones…..they were experiencing a host of conditions related to anxiety, stress and depression. Some were taking medications, some weren’t.  Some had supportive teachers and families, some didn’t. Some were highly pressured by their parents to excel, some had parents who seemed to not care at all.  But what they all had in common, was that they were looking for help.  And they saw my office as a place to get it.

This was long before coloring was a “thing”.  Long before adult coloring was cool.  I got the idea that they needed something to take their minds off of their problems, free them, if only for a few minutes, from their worry, their stress, their anxiety, their sadness, their depression.  I went online and found some mandalas and printed them out, bought some markers and colored pencils, and started in intervention for anxiety.

Coloring is the same as meditation

I watched kids go from total panic mode to relaxation just with the act of coloring.  I watched their personalities flow as they colored. Some were Type A, intricate and colored with perfection, others sketched.  Some stayed well within the lines, others ventured outside the lines.  I kept their work, and they’d come back when they needed to, and they’d finish masterpieces.  I had an entire wall of mandalas.  As word got out, I even had some teachers or staff come and color.

Who knew that I was so ahead of the times. Now, it seems, coloring really is “a thing”!

I’m a member of  a coloring club, and I love it.  If you know someone who might benefit from coloring, you should check it out.   It’s so fun, so relaxing, so gratifying.  You’ll see physical change as you or someone you know goes from fight or flight parasympathetic activation, to relaxation and balance.  For a double whammy, I my essential oils diffuser going with a wonderful blend, and forget about it! Don’t even get me started on the bliss that happens.

PennySue Mueller

Penny Mueller
Email: Penny Mueller
www.pennysuemueller.com

 

 

 

Your Natural Medicine Cabinet and First Aid Kit Part 3

Natural Medicine Cabinet Item #3: Peppermint Oil

Fresh herbs in first aid kitThe third essential for your natural first aid kit and medicine cabinet is Peppermint Oil (mentha piperita), right there next to your Lavender and  Tea Tree oil. Peppermint is another essential oil that is a foundational item for everyone’s medicine cabinet and first aid kit. Peppermint has a fresh, piercing, minty aroma that acts as a dilator, or “opener”in the body. It opens up the lungs and veins to bring more air into the lungs and more blood to the brain. Peppermint can be used as a mental stimulant, to improve memory, increase efficiency and productivity. It is a great way to fight sleepiness, fatigue, and mental fog.

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Your Natural Medicine Cabinet and First Aid Kit Part 2

Natural Medicine Cabinet  Item #2:   Tea Tree Oil

The second item you need in your natural first aid kit and medicine cabinet is Tea Tree Oil, right there next to your  Lavender. Tea Tree oil  is another essential oil that is a foundational item for everyone’s medicine cabinet and first aid kit. Tea Tree Oil is a basic essential oil, but has countless uses. If you’ve never smelled Tea Tree oil, it is not necessarily aromatically pleasing like lavender, rather it has a medicinal, terpene, antiseptic aroma. Despite the strong odor, it is very gentle and can be used neat (undiluted) on adult skin.

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Your Natural Medicine Cabinet and First Aid Kit Part 1

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender (Lavender angustifolia) is generally regarded as the most versatile therapeutic  essence and if you have only one essential oil in your home medicine cabinet, first aid kit, car or purse, Lavender is the one to have.

It is both strong and gentle and can be used “neat” (undiluted) directly on the skin. Beware, however, because as amazing and therapeutic Lavender is, it is also the most corrupted essential oil on the market. Take care to buy True Lavender, Lavendula angustifolia.  Read More→