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  • Jake Mayers

How Play Can Be a Powerful Approach to Battling Lyme


There are 3 main reasons why the act of play can help you in your battle with Lyme.


But first, what comes to mind when you hear the word, “play”? Maybe you think of dogs? Or kids? Maybe you’re fogged and don’t think anything right now…I get it. Take a breath, move around for a second. No seriously, stop what you’re doing right now and just move around. Okay great.


When I hear play, I think of drumming, music, laughter, exploration. If you thought of kids or dogs though, you’re not alone. The reason we associate kids and dogs with play is because they’re good at it. They’re filled with curiosity and exploration. They’re present in every moment. And that’s exactly where joy, happiness and healing live. Embracing play allows you to cultivate curiosity, tap into that joy and create a world of possibilities- one void of the limitations of Lyme. The more you become aware of the present moment and sink into play, the less past hurts and future worries affect your sense of well being.


What tends to happen as we move through our journeys with Lyme is a closing down of sorts. A closing down to ourselves and our intuition. A closing off to possibility and exploration. This battle draws us into a space of thinking and analyzing, rather than perceiving. Not only does that shut down our minds, but it shuts down our bodies and ability to heal.


If you’re reading this, then you probably WANT to experience more joy, happiness, connection and healing. I also know that you may be feeling stuck, sick, and stagnant. Let’s take a moment to explore some different ways you can play and how it’ll help. I’ll share a bit of my journey here. We’ll pause to highlight the 3 reasons play is so powerful and then conclude with a challenge to help you play more.


Alright, let’s start by listing a few activities that count as play. Playing sports, music, video games… that all counts. Dancing, moving around and grooving… count it. Wearing a costume, dressing up and acting silly, making art, building something (like LEGOs), doing a puzzle, even cooking can be playful. Best of all, rolling on the floor and making noises like a baby (something I do often when flared) is a GREAT way to play.


Before even dealing with Lyme, I failed Kindergarten and was diagnosed with Dyslexia. That was when I first turned to drums as a way to process my struggles, embrace play and unlock confidence. And I’ve been drumming ever since. Lyme came into the picture a few years later. I spent the next 9 years suffering from acute, mysterious illness until finally getting a Lyme Diagnosis in 2015. No matter how sick I was, I never stopped playing drums. I joined bands, formed bands, booked and managed them, recorded, and toured/played countless shows. Every time I sat at the kit was an opportunity to forget about the pain and misery of Lyme and just play. It was a chance to be present, to connect my body and mind and to experience joy… aka Mindfulness.


Drums created opportunities for me to connect with community. During the times when the maze of navigating Lyme darkened, when I felt hopeless and alone… I turned to drums as a source of meaning. I’d set up my kit on street corners and play. The goal was to sink into the present moment, combat a flare and experience a bit of joy. It was great that it worked for me. But what was even better, was that it began bringing joy to other people. People would stop and talk, they’d hear my story and what I was doing and they’d feel inspired and happy. Those experiences created a sense of purpose and meaning for my play.


There were years when this was the ONLY glimpse of joy I’d have. Now, I live a life full of joy, gratitude, happiness, healing, Faith and light! In short, playing can instill Mindfulness, Mental Stimulation and Meaning. I call these The 3Ms of Play and I can guarantee they’ll change your battle with Lyme. While drumming initially taught me this, I’ve gone on to incorporate many different kinds of play for both myself and my clients. Sometimes something as simple as forcing myself to laugh out loud would do the trick. When brain fog hits and I drop something or forget something, I choose to respond playfully… I laugh, explore, move. And you can do the same!


Maybe you already have an outlet like music, art or dance that you like, but haven’t realized it can help you in these ways? Maybe you don’t have any forms of play and need to explore something new? Either way, consider this your permission slip to hit the pause on battling and experience some play, alright?!


I recommend giving this a shot when feeling kind of okay. Explore a little and get used to sinking into play. That way, when you're in a Herx or major flare you’ve already practiced and can incorporate it as a tool to help you through. And if you need help with any of this, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


Thanks for reading, happy playing and I’m sending healing your way!



  • Lyme Coach Jake

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