For the sake of your mental health, take time to play, expert says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Doctors are still trying to understand the long-term physical and mental health effects of COVID-19.

The stress of the pandemic has some mental health experts pointing us to the idea of setting aside time to play -- even for adults.

A local mindset coach is teaching people how to take care of their mental health through an adult playdate.

“Just witnessing all of the beauty around me, it really put me in a better mental space, so I wanted to create the Playdate and give that same joy I felt that day to my community,” said mindset coach Audreyonna Sequale.

What started off as a random day in the park for Sequale has turned into The Playdate -- a free event to promote a holistic approach to mental health through play.

“Play is a really underrated form of therapy,” Sequale said.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Sequale said an event like The Playdate is important to destigmatizing conversations and mindsets about mental health.

“I think that starting here and creating events like this is a little bit of an easier way for people to begin the conversation around mental health,” Sequale said. “And especially in a way that’s more digestible so that it’s not focused so heavily on trauma and dealing with the hard things. I wanted to make it a little bit easier so it’s more accessible.”

She added that another great form of self-therapy is journaling.

“Once you’re able to put those thoughts on paper and just see everything in a more concrete way, you’ll be able to understand your emotions more. You’ll be able to process them a little bit better,” Sequale said. “And I promise you it’s going to make a world of difference if you stick to it and stay consistent.”

This Saturday, Sequale wants you to get out and bring your yoga mats, hula hoops, rollerblades, skateboards, whatever you want.

“I want you guys to be able to access that inner child and do all of the fun things you used to do to have an extremely joyous day,” Sequale said.

Whether you hula hoop or rollerblade, make sure you set some time aside to just play.

For more information about The Playdate, click here. For more mental health resources or to purchase affirmation cards, visit Sequale’s website here.

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