Disruptions? Competing demands?
How often do we have weeks (heck, even months) of disruptions to our physical activity?
Various things may change our schedules and cause a little bit of chaos in our lives. Everyone is in a separate phase of life so competing demands can look different. Some examples may include illness or injury (you or someone you care for), job/volunteer responsibilities, expected or unexpected visitors and/or vacations or travel (okay these last two are probably not happening right now but think back to a time when this was possible).
This happens ALL. THE. TIME.
The saying that the one thing we can count on is taxes and CHANGE is so true!
This week my household looked different. Both kids have been attending in person school until this week and have now been set-up for a week of online school. Now don't get me wrong, I'm so unbelievably grateful for every single thing teachers have done over the past year but this home school thing is an example of disruption in my world.
The whole family is working from home and balancing schedules of school, work and play.
And with schedule changes and the resulting trickle down effect, major adjustments are needed in everyone's lives. Read: Mrs. Workman Junior (my mom and grandma were both the real Mrs. Workman in real life elementary schools!) had to reappear after a 6 month hiatus. My entire exercise routine had to be revamped, modified and completely changed to accommodate this week.
When disruptions occur how quickly are we able to adapt? So many factors are at play that we could easily explore this for days.
Yet, I bring this to you today as a reminder that this is going to happen. Life has other plans. It is more important to have these five steps to help you get through it. Let me be your example.
The essential step of this all. We become aware that change is going to happen and being prepared to deal with it.
Sunday January 3: "The kids are at home doing school remotely this week. I will need to change my exercise plan to accommodate their school work, online classroom times and the increased work of Mrs. Workman Junior."
#2. Boundaries (with self and others)
Letting the people involved know your plan and priority of moving your body will keep this running (no pun intended) smoothly.
Monday January 4: "Hey everyone! I will be leaving the house at 4:30 pm today to get in some exercise. Please be prepared that whatever is not done for schoolwork will have to wait until I get back."
#3. Expectations (with self and others)
This can be a hard one both for self and with others. Expectations might need to be modified simply because the disruption might not let me do the things I want to, for the durations I want to or as often as I would like. The expectation with others is relaying the value of movement for you and how it is important that it still occurs even if there are competing demands.
Tuesday January 5: "Today is normally my day to head out for a cross country ski but based on how things are going, this isn't going to work. I guess I can save that for the weekend when I have more time."
#4. Ulysses Pact (learn more about anticipatory planning or my slightly different tool of Back Pocket Plans)
Ulysses Pact is a contract you make with yourself for future behaviours such that you set yourself up for alternatives that will still allow you to be successful. In my example below, I've set-up multiple places in my home where I can exercise.
Thursday January 7: "I'd like to get my resistance training session in today but Liam is doing his online classroom in the space I normally do these types of workouts (I really don't need to be caught on camera working out in his Grade 3 class!) so I'll swap it with a home yoga practice instead in another spot in the house."
#5. Letting it go
Being okay with it not looking exactly the same is essential. Like many things in life, we have to be okay with good enough.
Friday January 8: "This has been an exhausting week. The sun is shining over the lunch hour and I'm going to take a 15 minute walk to revitalize myself. That is good enough."
Pssst - this wasn't my decision, I was heavily encouraged to do this walk by my husband! I need help with motivation at times too.
During this past week, I had to run through these five steps many times with the sole intention to try my *best* with getting to physical activity and exercise. Now, will next week look different. Absolutely! The kids are back in physical school and my modifications will not have to be so direct. Yet, when change occurs again (and it will), I will have practiced these skills already and will hopefully be able to adapt to a changed schedule again.
With all this being said, you may be flabbergasted to the extent that I have worked through this. I've had to do this for years (I'm not boasting) as a student, athlete, mother and a busy human being! Although you may have not put this much thought into this (it is also my job!), this is where planning really shows up to allow for success.
The ASSESS Free mini course is only one step of planning that can also contribute to your overall physical activity efforts. Being physically active is a constant reorganization and planning affair! If you haven't signed up yet, no problem. There's no time like the present!
Stay well and happy moving,