Meet the co-founders of the recently launched Playful Mind Project, play experts Jessica Brustad and Rona Lewis. The focus of their launch is on one of the hardest hit demographics during the Covid-19 pandemic – working moms. With the infection counts breaking records here in the US all the time and predictions of a “dark winter” coming, there has never been a better time for the work Rona and Jessica do.
In August of 2020, Fortune reported that “the female labor force participation rate dipped below 55% in April 2020 for the first time since February 1986.” And for the moms still holding onto their jobs, the struggle to do it all is having a huge negative impact on their mental health – and that was a big enough problem before the pandemic.
Jessica and Rona are not therapists, but their work is informed by therapeutic exercises like cognitive behavioral therapy. They specialize in stress relief through Purposeful and Attuned Play using fun and interactive games and exercises to help alleviate stress and overwhelm. Their customized sessions include anything from improv, breathwork, Laughter Yoga, wordplay, exercise and meditation—all depending on the client’s needs at that moment.
I did a sample session before this episode so that I could better understand what they do. I have no affiliate relationship with Playful Mind Project, I just believe strongly that what they’re doing is urgently needed for everyone, but especially the moms out there. Over the next two weeks, I’ll have individual episodes with both of them. Jessica and I take a deeper dive into issues around mental health, and Rona and I explore her work helping businesses keep stress at bay as teams encounter the new challenges that come with remote work.
So now let me introduce you to these two amazing women. I’ll share the short versions of their bios this week, then dive a little deeper into their backgrounds on their individual episodes:
Jessica Brustad, Co-Founder / Chair-Mom
Jessica Brustad is an experienced sales and project manager who now does improv and stand-up comedy! She’s also a 500 Hour RYT Yoga Instructor and Laughter Yoga leader (yup, that’s right. She actually teaches people how to laugh!). She’s the Playful Mind Project’s Resident Mom on the team in charge of all things mom-Related. She’s worked with individuals struggling with various mental health issues (as well as worked on her own postpartum issues), corporate cultures and communities from California to Norway! She’s a professional motivational speaker. Reality TV Star, and a former cast member of The National Comedy Theatre’s Sunday Company. Her unique high energy style, mixed with mindfulness, will entertain, educate and motivate you towards wellness, balance and most of all–joy.
Rona Lewis, Co-Founder / CEO
Rona Lewis is a play Instigator and creativity coach with over 10 years consulting experience and 20 years of C-level corporate experience. She’s also a professional speaker and Reiki Master who loves dogs, fitness, art and artisan ice cream. She’s the resident expert in working with businesses in play for productivity and creativity, team building, brainstorming and getting out of your head. She’s worked with over 50 companies in the United States. Her rapier wit will charm the heck out of you while teaching you to flip your viewpoints to gain resilience and authenticity.
“You cannot play if you’re cranky and depressed. But you can start a session cranky and depressed. By getting you out of that mindset, we bring it together into that state of flow.”
“I take a cognitive behavioral approach to improv and Laughter Yoga. Because of that, instead of becoming a mental health survivor, I became a mental health thriver.”
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