Daily Debrief

In this piece from Mountaineer magazine, we share a thoughtful pandemic debrief guide based on AIARE education practices.
Teresa Hagerty Teresa Hagerty
4-year member and owner of Cascade Mountain Adventures
March 05, 2022

The last two years have been a challenge for us all. We have shared the emotional roller coaster of lockdowns, public land closures, and losses big and small. Yet, this crucible has also created space for self-reflection, realignment of values, and tremendous growth.

Our shared outdoor experiences and education continue to be sources of connection, inspiration, and resilience. These resources transcend the outdoor space to offer structure, grounding, and navigational tools to chart our life path. I am honored to share one of my favorite transcending tools with the Mountaineers community.

I adopted a daily practice in March of 2020, translated from outdoor AIARE training (American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education), to reflect on what I could control, acknowledge what I could not, and honor my reactions and feelings. The AIARE debrief practice, familiar to many of you, provides a reflection structure following each outdoor adventure. These questions prompt you to review the outcome of the day, celebrate the things that went well, acknowledge sources of challenge, and identify opportunities for improvement moving forward. This exercise is applicable well beyond the outdoor forum. These questions create a structure to reflect on current goals, emotional triggers, and future growth areas. More importantly, this also creates space to identify and celebrate moments of joy. Building on the familiar outdoor adventure-oriented improvement cycle, this daily practice has been invaluable to keep me focused, grounded, and (mostly) sane.

I am sharing this practice to offer you the same space, grace, and support to move through this time of transition. Or, if this does not serve you, the encouragement to seek out an approach that does. May you too regain your breath, dust yourself off, and move forward into the brighter future ahead. I look forward to seeing you there.

Daily debrief in challenging times

  1. What was my objective for the day?
  2. What did I do that served it?
  3. What did I do that didn’t serve it?
  4. What made me sad or anxious?
  5. What was beautiful or gave me hope?
  6. At any time did I feel unsafe for myself or others?
  7. What do I commit to improving on for tomorrow?

This article originally appeared in our Spring 2022 issue of  Mountaineer Magazine. To view the original article in magazine form and read more stories from our publication, visit our magazine archive.

Lead image by Ida Vincent.


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