The Gurney Gap Plan: When we feel like less than our best

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Lately I find myself in awe of serendipity at work around me. I’m sitting in the car a few weeks ago getting a podcast ready for my first pandemic stock up trip to the store. With eyes bugging out and mouth wide open I can hardly believe what I’ve found – a new podcast with the exact words I needed in that moment. Brene’ Brown is one of my favorite authors in the genere of self reflection and personal growth. Brene’ had been working to launch a podcast titled Unlocking Us before the COVID-19 health crisis hit the United States. In such perfect timing, her launch happened just as Ohio and other states were closing schools and facing quarantine measures. The March 27th episode titled Brene’ on Comparative Suffering, the 50/50 Myth, and Settling the Ball talks about recognizing when you or your family members are not functioning at 100 percent. The adrenaline is dying, people are functioning on empty and they need a gap plan to get back to a healthy place.

While listening to the podcast I realized I actually have gap plan and have been putting that plan into place since I first started dealing with autoimmunity. However, listening to Brene’s version of a gap plan helped me see value in my plan, and led to an important conversation with my husband. We committed to this plan as a family, knowing that we want to be caring partners to each other, as well as good human beings in this world. Yes there is a time for GRIT and hustle, but I am convinced there is also a time for restoration.

The Gurney Gap Plan


I’ve written before about how important sleep is in our family. If sleep is something that is difficult for you, see if my post about The Gurney Bedtime Routine will help.

Limit Screens

Between Jonathan running a financial company, and my blogging, it’s difficult to get away from screens. Now with schools closed, I am teaching from home and finding myself constantly staring at a computer. My goodness it is draining. A friend of mine recommended blue light glasses to help protect my eyes from the electronic glare. This is helping for sure, but we also have to set time in our day when we walk away from computers and phones completly.

Eat Good Food and Drink Water

When life feels out of control it is easy to fall into an emotional eating trap. Some of you have resilient bodies that handle this far better, but for me it is detrimental. For me food is fuel. I need real food full of vitamins that are easy to digest or I will shut down. See our Safe Foods List for more details. Water makes all the difference too. We try to drink about a gallon each per day from super clean sources like a reverse osmosis. Read more about water and other ways to make good food choices here.


Really listen to your body on this one. If you have been sitting around feeling sluggish you might need some cardio or strength training. However, if you are so drained to the point of exhaustion you could cause even more damage to your endocrine system if you push yourself too much in exercise. Maybe instead try some relaxing yoga or go for a walk.

Find Nature

My heart breaks for the people in large cities during COVD-19 quarantine who do not have easy access to green space. If that were me I’d fill my home with indoor plants and hope for a window or balcony.

Thankfully Jonathan and I are blessed with a big yard. It has grand sycamores, flowering fruit trees, and deer who visit daily. Even when the weather is bad we bundle up, put on boots and embrace at least 30 minutes of outside adventures. Coming back inside I always feel renewed and that pile of dirty dishes I was ignoring doesn’t seem so big anymore.

Speak Life

In our first couple years of marriage, Jonathan and I were working like crazy in the beginning of our careers. We were trying to build a life together and when we felt stressed, it became far too easy to criticize each other, even for stupid things. Laundry was a regular battle for us because Jonathan was convinced I did not fold tshirts correctly and he would wash and dry clothes with pens in his pockets. Can you imagine the rage I felt finding ink on my favorite pants? This strife could not continue for us. A home should be a safe space where a family is on your side, ready to listen, make you laugh, and support your dreams.

One day I started to realize we could either build a home with angst, or a home with peace. We made a commitment to speak life into each other. We compliment each other, we praise each others work, we pour on the gratitude for small things. My great husband runs a financial company which is no small task. I encourage him for this effort, but I also praise him when we cleans my hair out of the shower drain. I leave him notes at the breakfast table and he knows every year at Christmas to write me a love letter. When we are upset, we step away, think about our frustrations, then make a plan to speak to each other about it calmly. These moments are few and far between now because it’s hard to be angry at someone who flirts with you, gives the greatest hugs, but also praise your work large and small.

Children need a peaceful home as well. Those of you who are teaching children from home right now, take a breath. Perfection cannot be expected here, and pinterest moms are all a bunch of liars who take good pictures but don’t sleep! Your children need to feel safe and supported far more than they need to complete a checklist right now. Yes teachers hope students are still learning right now. Do your best, and we will catch them up when school begins again. When you find yourself or your child at an emotional limit, take a break, move on, and believe tomorrow will be better.


We dream of vacations on the beach now more than ever, but sun can be found in your backyard too. In the north, we do have our fair share of grey days, but sunny days come too and they shouldn’t be wasted. I’ve been known to wrap up in my winter gear and lounge in the yard like it’s the middle of July. Everything but my face covered I’m warm and still soaking in that Vitamin D. Light therapy lamps and Vitamin D supplements can also help with sun is in short supply.

When the sun is shining, I take my computer to the porch and set up shop. Working outside almost makes me forget about the quarantine and all the sweet students I am missing from school. Hawks fly overhead, neighbors walk by and wave and the work doesn’t seem so daughnting.

8. Ignore negativity and take in positive vibes

Information is shouting at us more than ever these days. I have no patence for fear mongering or biased, unresearched remarks. When it comes to news, I take it in small doses from sources I trust. Beyond that I am filling my mind with positive vibes all day long. My fellow Gilmore Girls fans are with me, still waiting for Lorelai to publish the Good News Daily , but until then John Krasinski is spreading positive vibes with his Some Good News channel. We have music by Bethel running regularly on our Amazon playlist and we read Jesus Calling each night before we sleep. I’ve taken a break from dark crime series on TV and instead have chosen light hearted comedies like The Big Bang Theory and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.

Bottom line, the Gap Plan is about noticing when my family is not doing well and stopping that trajectory. A Gap Plan is about making a new path that makes the next moments or even the next days feel brighter. I encourage you to write one with your family and make a commitment to look out for one another, ready to enact the gap plan when your family needs it.

What parts of my plan will you use? Would you change or add anything? I’d love to hear about it. Be sure to follow us on Instagram @GreenGurneys or like our Green Gurneys Facebook page for more inspiring ideas and healing recipes.

Wishing you a home full of peace,

The Gurneys

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