Why you need to stay calm – and how our office is chilling out

Everyone, in some shape or form, is feeling the effects of COVID-19 in a way we could have never anticipated when we flipped the calendars from 2019 to 2020 just a few months ago. People living alone. Parents with kids trying to teach at the same time as work. Those who have received a positive diagnosis or are close to someone who has. The list goes on.

Working at a public relations agency, I consume the news regularly more than most people, and right now it’s a particularly hard time to have a job that’s intrinsically tied to the news. You can’t avoid it. The headlines are all over the place – and don’t even get me started on the social media commentary.

One thing I have seen in both work and personal life over the past few weeks is this: to some degree, we’ve all experienced some level of stress. Our version of normal has been shifted and as humans who operate best under a routine, all signs point to we don’t like it one bit.

We’re all in this for the long game, together. So I’d like to put something out into the universe in case it’s helpful for anyone else to hear it: you’re doing the best you can. And if you’re looking for new ideas to help you catch your breath, here are a few ways our team is attempting to stay calm.

Get active (and get outside!)

I’m walking about 20-30 minutes every day whether I want to or not. The weather has been great and it’s both a nice physical and mental exercise. – Jon

I’m currently doing a 30 rides in 30 days Peloton challenge. It’s given me something to show up for every day, and the live classes have helped me feel like a social human again. – Julia

Exercising. I have NEVER been a runner. I hate running. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and these days I have been going for runs on the regular and have grown to (almost) enjoy it. – Aidan

I’ve been making sure to go on a run almost every morning. The endorphins are great, but seeing the sunrise over by Maymont has been even better for my psyche.  – Evans

Spending so much time indoors can make even the biggest homebody feel a bit claustrophobic. When my physical environment begins to feel suffocating, I know I can always find ways to create more space in my body. Yoga has been a lifesaver for me. Whether it’s getting up before my first call of the morning or moving my body before bed, adopting a meditative practice to help me tap into the “now” always helps me find more peace. -Hannah 

Escape with a show or a book

We’re watching Little Fires Everywhere and my Kindle has been getting a lot of use lately. If you’re looking for good read to dive into, I highly recommend Beartown and the sequel Us Against You by Fredrik Backman. – Meg

My book club hasn’t met, but I’m holding myself accountable to keep reading a book(ish) a month. I just finished our last pick: Educated by Tara Westover – a memoir about a woman who grew up in a Mormon family that didn’t believe in formal education (she went on to get her doctorate at Cambridge). I’m switching gears to Nine Perfect Strangers by the author who wrote Big Little Lies. – Casey

There’s an app for that

There are two apps that are now getting used a lot on my phone. One is “Stop, Breathe, Think” which has meditations and guided breathing exercises. I do this right before bed so I have a clear head and can fall asleep a little easier. I also downloaded TikTok right before this whole thing started, and I can watch an hour of videos and not even realize it. It’s the ultimate escape, and I appreciate the #over30 tag.  – Casey

Getting in the kitchen

We’re a team that likes to eat. Evidence here, where Aidan documented a few of our favorite quarantine recipes.

I’m keeping calm and cooking: I’ve been aiming to try at least 1-2 new recipes a week. It gives me something “new” to look forward to throughout the week. – Cam


Getting Jesus-y, but leaning on prayer has been helpful for me. It’s nice to have something that transcends all this. I really enjoyed this reflection; this is a quote that stuck out for me: “Worry doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrows, it empties today of its strength.” We got this. – Aidan

Take a “paws”

Whenever the cats interrupt me, I take it as a sign I should take a short break and spend some time playing with them.  – Cam

Max, our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, has never gotten more attention. He will literally come and shut my computer closed if he wants a belly rub or a walk and it’s a good reminder to disconnect. – Meg

Finding a retreat, at home

I’ve been spending time enjoying our small garden, so I try to take time each day to see what’s blooming. It’s officially #PEONYWATCH2020 for me and I can’t wait our “Celebrity” peony to show off.  – Cam

Getting creative and switching up the feng shui of your house is a fun way to reintroduce yourself to a familiar space. Reorganizing and playing around with the mood and vibe of your place is a great way to be more productive (and sane) in an area you’re spending so much more time in. – Hannah 

My backyard has tons of flowers and I recently planted a garden with veggies, herbs, fruits and more flowers. I find myself going in my backyard every morning and evening to “check on,” water or simply look at everything I’ve planted. It’s very peaceful and fun to watch everything grow! – Amanda

Maintaining some sense of normal

Most days you can catch me in gym shorts and a t-shirt, but once a week or so I’ll put on a face of makeup. For me, it’s a form of relaxation and self-care. Plus when you don’t where make up for so long, you feel REAL pretty when you finally do. Highly recommend. – Aidan

…but realizing it’s okay if things aren’t totally normal

Being less strict with myself. I saw a meme that was like “Now, the days are separated by coffee hours and alcohol hours.” I thought it was funny and also relatable. Typically, I’ll limit my bevs to the weekends, and stick to water during the week. But nowadays, we’re all just trying get through it. And if that means a glass of wine at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, cheers. – Aidan

Tell us, how are you chilling out these days?

Megan Irvin

Megan spends her days doing media relations, community relations, content creation and events for clients like Kroger Mid-Atlantic, Federal Realty and Mercy Chefs. Her favorite part of her job is working with clients and providing strategic counsel — and garnering media attention for clients in outlets like TODAY, Esquire, USA Today and Bon Appetit.

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