#49: Girl, Go PLAY!

I hear from a lot of women that they don’t know who they are. Whether it’s after trauma or you’ve just been hustling for so long, you forget who you are.

You don’t know what you like and don’t like.

You don’t know what your passions are or what you like to do for fun.

This absolutely breaks my heart. I was there for a really, really long time. For years I felt completely lost and I didn’t even know where to start. All the things that I loved before didn’t even sound fun.

Life was super boring.

But I was really numb to it. I knew something was off. But I didn’t know what it was. I had no motivation or drive to do anything, even though I desperately wanted to.

This was a big sign that there was something up because I’m a very ambitious, driven, motivated person. And so if I don’t feel the drive to do anything, something wasn’t right.

Girl, I want you to hear me. If that’s you, if you’re numb, you are not alone. It doesn’t have to stay that way. The best part of this is that getting out of this rut is actually pretty fun.

In order to get out of this numbness you need to play.

P. L. A. Y.

Play like you did when you were a child.

When we’re kids, we play with anything and everything. We don’t think too much about it. We just go with what’s fun.

Jimmy wants to play in the sandbox? Cool. We’re in the sandbox.

Sally wants to play house? Boom, let’s go play house.

So you want to play with Play Doh and pretend we’re all sea monsters? Okay, cool. Let’s go for it.

Let’s color a school bus rainbow and make the sky purple.

We just played and there was no pressure to do anything different. Playing was how we discovered the world. Because of that, this was encouraged.

We were encouraged to play and be creative. We were encouraged to have fun and enjoy ourselves. When our kids play a really cool game and tell us about it, we’re so proud of them.

But for some reason, as adults, we lose that. We’re no longer encouraged to play and we lose that feeling of playfulness entirely. We think that if it doesn’t make us smarter, make us money or benefit us and others in some way, it’s not enough. Doing something just because it’s fun is a waste of time.

What we don’t realize is that playing is one of the most important things that you can do for your brain. Kids’ brains develop because of their play. Just because we’re adults now and our brains function differently doesn’t mean that our brains don’t still benefit from playtime.

Playing is how we find ourselves.

Playing is a way that we release stress and give our brains all the happy chemicals while also telling it what it likes. So your job right now is to play.

If you don’t know where to start, as frustrating as it is, this is awesome. This means you can start with anything. Go back to what you enjoyed as a child. Think about what you like.

Did you love baking with your grandma? Go get some ingredients to make some bread or cookies.

Did you love to play playdough? Go get some clay. Heck, it may be fun to make your own.

Did you like to color pictures? Get some colored pencils and coloring books.

Have you always been intrigued by video games? Borrow a friend’s Xbox.

A lot of people put too much pressure on play time.

They’re like “What if I don’t like it? What if I’m not good at it?”

Girl, this is playtime. This isn’t the time for you to get up on stage and showcase your greatest talent. This is just playtime, you don’t have to be good at it.

And the other thing is…

you don’t have to be good at it to enjoy it.

When I first started cooking, I hated it. I sucked at it. I had no idea what flavors went together and I wanted nothing to do with it.

But I still did it anyway. I did it out of necessity at the time because I was learning how to better take care of my body. But the more I did it, the more I enjoyed it. And the more I played with it, the more I was willing to try new things. And the more I try new things, the more fun it was.

Not every recipe turns out great. I’ve created some nasty things in my time, whether it’s baking or cooking. I have tried and failed so many things.

But every time I do I get excited because it means I ruled out that flavor combination.

So now I know this doesn’t work at home. It’s so fun. It’s so exciting. Eventually, I got really good at it. And now I have a really good cook. And I have no shame in saying that. But I absolutely love it.

I didn’t start cooking out of interest, I know. But I wanted to share this because I fell in love with cooking far before I was any good at it.

You don’t have to be great at it to enjoy something. Did you make some cookies and they turned out like crap, but you had a lot of fun? Try a new recipe or try to perfect that recipe. Just play and have more fun.

You color a picture and it turned out like garbage? Get more paper.

We’ve got to stop putting so much dang pressure on ourselves.

Playtime does not have to end up in something huge and miraculous.

It can. But it doesn’t have to.

You don’t have to be the next Leonardo da Vinci in order to enjoy painting.

You don’t have to be the next Gordon Ramsay to enjoy cooking.

Just do it because you enjoy it.

If you start playing and you find that you don’t like the thing you’re doing, celebrate that. Celebrate that you tried something new.

Now you know that that thing isn’t your thing. But you played and you tried. You now know what doesn’t light you up so you can move on to the next thing.

Start playing and then don’t stop playing.

Even if you don’t want to, even if it doesn’t sound exciting, play anyway. I find that my brain gets stuck in hustle mode and I don’t allow myself to play much.

So there are times that I have to force myself. Sometimes I have to force myself to play for a few minutes before I actually enjoy it. But I do this because I know that once I get myself out of the funk, I’ll have fun.

Have you ever really not wanted to go on a walk but you forced yourself to do it anyway? Five minutes in you’re so happy that you did. Playtime is the same way.

Don’t overthink this.

If you need to write down a bunch of activities and put them in a jar, do that.

Pick one thing out of that jar and dedicate playtime to that thing each week. So for each week throughout the year you try something new. Maybe one week it’s cooking so you say, “Okay, this week, I’m going to practice this recipe or this technique.”

Set aside two to three times a week to play. If you can do more, cool. At the end of the week, think “I enjoyed this” or “I didn’t enjoy this.”

As you try new things, you’re going to find more things that you enjoy. The more things you try, the more you find yourself.

Whatever you do, just play.

The more you play, the more you find who you are. The more you play, the more you’re going to see the world with such extravagance and beauty and you’re going to see it as your playground.

As you play, you’re going to notice topics that you’re passionate about, even if it’s not play time, just because your mind is more open because now you’re in the zone of trying new things. But like I said, Whatever you do, just play.

You got this boo, and I believe in you.

What’s one thing you can do this week to play? I’d love to know! Send me a DM on Instagram so I can cheer you on! Click here to find me!

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