Do you play?
"Play," she said. I looked at my therapist quizzically. "Google it."
I had been in therapy for a couple of years. The anxiety and depression that had held me in a vice grip had released enough to begin to explore "new" ideas.
What I know now is that mental health is a process. There are peaks and valleys. Times when life seems almost "normal." And the stronger you become, the more capacity you have to continue the exploration into the beliefs, habits, and neurological processes that have led you to this place. And with each exploration comes new waves of emotion, pain, grief, and healing.
The invocation to "play" was foreign to me. Not because I was living with mental illness. But because it was a concept I had all but erased from my understanding.
It wasn't that I made a conscous choice not to play. It was simply that I allowed other things in my life to use all of my oxygen--and once I ran out of oxygen, I lost my capacity to play.
I knew how to work harder and longer than just about anyone I knew. I knew how to keep the house running, pay the bills, feed the family. I knew how to push my body--mentally and physically.
I couldn't sit down and play legos with my son without the anxiety crashing in waves over me. I could watch my daughter play volleyball, but only if I was also on twitter, email, text at the same time. I was actually overwhelmed by the idea of sitting down to watch a movie.
I knew how to persist. I knew how to endure. I knew how to pour myself into an idea, a company, a founder, a mission.
I didn't know how to play. I didn't know how to rest.
Brene Brown says, "The opposite of play is not work. The opposite of play is depression." She also says that rest and play are as vital to our health as nutrition and exercise.
Do you play? Often? Is play woven into the fabric of how you live your life?
If not, why not?
What are 3 things you could do to integrate play into your life and work?
Comment below or connect with me over email. I look forward to hearing from you.