Shut the door.  Get outside immediately.  Meet in the front yard.

Remember the days when we had to make a plan & stick to it? If we didn’t, someone got hurt or lost or in really big trouble.

Assembly time.

In my rural childhood public school, the kind where Kindergarten & 12th grade were on opposite ends of the building, 

(school pyramids meant ZERO to me)

Every few months we’d get a reprieve from our regularly scheduled classes with a school-wide assembly; the kind where you’d march in line to the auditorium, hopefully sit by your friends & directed to be quiet, waiting patiently for the presentation to start. Sometimes we’d get a movie.

(I vaguely remember some 1976 version of Freaky Friday)

Sometimes we’d get more than we bargained for.

(I distinctly remember all of us girls separated & ushered to the assembly to learn “What Every Girl Should Know,” aka “The Period Talk.”) 

I don’t think anyone spoke on the walk back to the classroom!

Stop, Drop & Roll.

Usually it was some sort of guest speaker, I recall specifically the local fire chief to explain the annual “Stop, Drop & Roll” talk that had been drilled into our heads since we were 5. The fire chief, usually in some sort of “fire-fighter” pants or helmet, emphasizing his authority in the area of fires, demanding we absolutely must have a family escape plan in case of a fire in our house.

The plan usually involved several clear steps; a pre-determined location to meet, some sort of ladder or rope to shimmy down from the higher floors & then a central meeting place once everyone was out. We were assured that well formulated plans kept our family safe. We didn’t have to think or question; the entire family would be on the same page.   

If A, then B. Simple. Undeniable. 

In the context of a house fire, I would assume your brain is in maximal fight or flight, there’s no time to think or calculate. With a plan, you know the steps; you do the thing. Everyone lives; even the dog.

(So the TV show This is Us tells us…but don’t go back in the house like Jack did! Seriously!  Look how that turned out!) 

Plans keep us lined up with our intentions- to get out of the house alive & together.

I’ve never shimmied down a rope made of sheets.

In 44 years, (knocking on wood as we speak), I’ve never had to use any plan ever suggested to me by a firefighter, nor have I had to shimmy down a rope made of sheets.

(In an emergency or otherwise)

We do own an emergency foldable ladder, an item our kids insisted on when they had their own safety assembly ,

(Back when school was school)

Both insisting we have a family plan & be prepared.

Lately it’s feeling a bit more dire.

It’s not life or death, but I’ve noticed a change in the past few weeks, now 7 months into the pandemic. We’re accepting more, settling in for the long haul. We’d figured out the short term, but the long game is somehow different. The boundaries between work & home are more blurry than ever.

(Bosses with last minute meetings & requests.)

Many offices are announcing no plans to return to normal until next summer.

School districts giving less than 14 days notice for addition of asynchronous days to help prepare for hybrid transition.

(Translation- you take the kids, we’ve got work to do. Thanks APS.)

New moms returning to work-from-home with their newborn-turned-babbling ball of energy, trying to engage with work, worried about being judged for their commitment to their jobs while also doing their best to attend to the needs of their 4 month old office mate who could care less about staying quiet on a Zoom call. Workouts & self-care are definitely falling by the wayside.

Remember the water bottle workouts from March that EVERYONE was doing on their social media? No? Exactly.

Time for some firefighter advice.  

After the initial shock & lockdown, I feel like we were finally settling in a little, now just to have everything uprooted for yet again. It’s frustrating, especially if you like a schedule & predictability. The only way I’ve found to counter the slow creep of complacency is the age old fire-fighter advice; a way to stay healthy, mentally & physically; a way to keep working out.

Make the plan.

Work the plan.  Have a back-up plan. Have a back-up to the back-up plan. Spend the time to make the details. Include all your family/team-members so everyone is on the same page.

Actionable steps time!

Here’s your DIY fill-in-the-blank plan.  Take 3 minutes to complete this & share with your quaran-team if you’re having difficulty sticking with your workouts!

1. My exercise of choice is _____________
2. I will exercise on the following days __________________ at this location ________________
3. I will ________ (exercise) at _______ (time) immediately after______________(activity).
4. The exercise will consist of (type/reps/distance/route)_________________with (warm up)________________________ & (cool down)___________________________________
5. I will wear______________________ & need this gear ____________________________
6. All of my gear & clothing fit & are in good working order. I will lay them out the night before.
7. Children/baby will be fed (before/after) the exercise
8. ____________(person) will be the designated grown up for the (kids/pet). Any instructions are written out for care during this time.
9. This is my back-up plan in case of inclement weather/inconsolable baby/unanticipated interruption:___________________________
10. Immediate following the exercise I will ________________________________

Oh come on Dr. Carrie, I’ve got this.

Do you?

(Said in my nicest possible compassionate mom voice.)

Do you have a plan? A back-up plan? Has it worked? Have you been consistent or are you just waiting for New Year’s Day again? The good news is, life in pandemic times sometimes feels like Groundhog Day & just like Bill Murray, we have a chance right now to make it different.

Make your plan to stay consistent with your workouts.

Reply to this email, copy & paste your plan for accountability!

I promise not to tear it apart! I’m in this just like you & am working hard to keep to my plan too!

Stay safe & healthy

P.S. Returning to run after being pregnant is an entire other animal when it comes to planning. Check out the FREE Postpartum Return to Run Checklist  Share with your friends!  Even includes updated recommendations for nursing friendly sports bras!

P.P.S.   Considering getting back to running?  Here’s some things to consider before you get started!

Share with a friend!

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