Ms. Glasser: Create a “Play” List and Form Active Habits

I recently traveled to Columbus, Ohio for the USA Half Marathon Championships at the end of April. I had the good fortune of running with some of the best distance runners in the country.  During the event, various things went haywire. For one, I had a disappointing race and ran far short of my goal race time. I was notably upset with my performance and running trajectory.

Now hit the fast forward button seven days as I saw myself breaking the tape at The Players 5K in Ponte Vedra with students, parents, coworkers, and local runners cheering me on! Lows and highs occurred in the span of one week, and even more perspective.

According to one of my favorite scholars, authors, and public speakers, Brene Brown, “Play is purposeless, voluntary, inherently attractive, causes one to lose track of time, diminishes self-consciousness, has the potential for improvisation, and creates the desire to continue.” Play facilitates a person’s creative and innovative sides as they let go of restriction and embrace freedom.

Running is play to me. It is “me” time; a time in which, for the most part, nothing else matters. I subconsciously left play at home while in Columbus, and the experience suffered as a result. I took the race far too seriously and lost sight of the voluntary reasons I choose to run. In balancing the load of full-time teacher and local competitive runner, it is essential for me to find a healthy balance between ever-developing passions and taking things too seriously.

Enter the “play” list. It has a nicer chime to it than the “to do” list that almost always brings added pressure and undue stress to the Type-A in me. The opening song on my daily “play” list is my morning run. While the 4 a.m. alarm clock is not always “inherently attractive,” as stated in Brown’s definition, there is nothing better than the satisfaction I get after letting go of everything for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, or 120 minutes. This dedicated (and voluntary) time for exercise pumps me up to take on the rest of the day. It provides energy and motivation to be my best.

As summer is upon us, I encourage students and families alike to find an activity that pumps you up, an activity that elicits you to be creative, free, and yearning for more. Add it to your daily “play” list and make it a habit! Go for a run. Swim a few laps in the pool. Take your bike out for a spin. Dribble the soccer ball in the front yard. Gather some neighborhood friends and start a game. Let whatever inherently attractive activity you choose set the tone for your summer days and give you playful perspective. Just remember not to take it too seriously!

Ms. Carley Glasser
Fourth Grade Teacher