Low tech stress relief

About me:  
Hi. I am Jennifer. Creator and maker of Dough For It aromatherapy stress relief dough. I have been a kindergarten teacher, homeschooling mom, doula/childbirth educator and laughter yoga leader. Along the way I learned a thing or two about; stress...stress relief...breathing...and the importance of not taking yourself too seriously. I have also been a lifelong worrier/anxiety sufferer. Now, I pull knowledge gained from all those experiences to create products that help put some low tech tools for stress and anxiety in the palm of your hands.
Simple Beginning, the idea:
One July day in 2016, I was talking to my husband about ways to help with stress relief and we stumbled upon the idea of squeezing something when frustrated, which led to a discussion about stress balls, which led to a discussion about something else, which led to...(yes, we really are that exciting and our discussion meandered and returned to the topic for several days...). Meanwhile in my brain I was processing and ideas were fermenting. Many years ago, before the internet and before it was mainstream, I acquired an interest in essential oils and began studying and using them personally and around our home. So as all these discussions and ideas came together, I connected the two ideas of  something to squish or squeeze when frustrated, with essential oils and the idea for a stress relief dough infused with essential oils was born.
Next step, experimentation: 
So I began experimenting with recipes. I started with the recipes that we can all find on the internet for homemade play dough, but soon realized that in order to make a really soft and long lasting dough that I enjoyed having in my hands, there would need to be changes made to those recipes and methods of making. Months of experimenting ensued. No one around me seemed to mind. Initially I tested the dough in the evenings while watching TV to keep from biting nails. When I was happy with the recipe, I sent some to work with my husband so he could use it to ease stress there, he gave it to co-workers. My kids used it while studying for college exams or when feeling fidgety, they gave it to friends. Then the older generations got into the trial. My grandma got hers, she loved it and used it to exercise her arthritic hands and raved about it to everyone from PT to family. On it went...I found that with many tweaks, I had indeed stumbled upon a soft, squishy smooth dough, that appealed to adults.
Birth of Stress Relief Dough: 
After that experimentation and testing period I thought I was on to something and decided to open an Etsy shop. I did that in November of 2016. I didn't want it to be just another "play dough" company, I targeted adults and specifically adults who were looking for a way to relax and refresh; to ease some stress and anxiety in a simple clean, healthy way. My experiment paid off. Adults from all over the country were willing to give DoughForIt a try. Over that first year I made tens of thousands of ounces of dough and have heard great feedback from people. I still make it the way I did while experimenting. Every single ounce is freshly made by me in very small batches. I infuse essential oils into each dough individually, every single order of DoughForIt dough is made just like your mom might make it for you. 
The Cherry on Top: 
I have had an interest in positive thinking, positive psychology, positive self-talk and affirmations starting in my teens, (hence the name Dough For It based on the classic "Go for it").  So after getting the dough just how I wanted it and deciding it would be infused with essential oils and would be made for adults, the cherry on top (of the tin) would be affirmations/positive message labels. I started off with some simple "It's okay to not be okay all the time" and "Take time to relax" reminders. People started requesting certain messages and I made those labels and added them to the collection. It's grown into about 95 different messages and people can always request customization. 
Another way to play:
DoughForIt aromatherapy dough needn't be used in the traditional "play dough" way, it can be used as a therapeutic type tool. You can squish and squeeze it like you would a stress ball, roll around in your hands allow the essential oils to diffuse into the air as you slow down, take a breath and recharge. 
Here’s a great way to use the dough:

*Set a timer for 1 minute and play and create without judgement.
When I am working at my desk and need a quick break I set a timer for 1 minute (not to rush me but to silence the inner critic) and use my dough to just create something. It ends up being abstract shapes that resemble nothing but just that process of shutting off the critic for a minute and grounding myself helps energize me for the next task. The impermanence of play dough creations give it it’s own special “in the moment” mindfulness quality. This dough has the added benefit, over conventional play doughs, of aromatherapy with the use of essential oils.

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