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Staying Safe & Sane: Recommendations from Our Associates

Posted on 5/26/2020 12:00:00 AM in The Buzz

The Inside Scoop team meets virtually each week while working from home. Top row from left: Rachel Perry, Copywriter; Meredith Gausch, Photo Editor. Bottom row from left: Shauna Cacace, Project Manager; Laura Chavanne, Creative Director.

We asked our women associates to share how they’ve been staying healthy, entertained, and sane while at home. If you have a suggestion of your own, send it in an email to [email protected].

Art for the Soul

I’ve been doing a lot with digital offerings by local arts programs:

  • Calming classical concerts from the Boston Symphony Orchestra's at-home series

  • A variety of online shows by ArtsEmerson's Together Apart series. My husband cooks dinner and we stream one of the shows to the TV and have quarantine Date Night.

  • Book recommendations from Boston Book Festival. If you buy a book on this website, part of the proceeds will be donated to support independent book stores. You can even order from a particular shop to ensure the money goes to a store in your neighborhood.

Thanks to: Erin Lenzing, Pre-Departure Copywriter

Watch and Learn

I watch a lot of documentaries, but this is definitely personal preference. I enjoy getting engrossed in new topics that I don’t know very much about and feeling like I’m learning instead of always watching mindless shows.

Some great ones from Netflix I’ve watched are below.

  • Virunga: about the world’s last Mountain gorillas and the park rangers’ sacrifices and fight to protect them during a time of great conflict in the Congo
  • The Innocence Files: Discusses eight wrongful convictions and the work the Innocence Project does within the justice system
  • The Unknown Known: About the political career of Donald Rumsfeld and the beginning of the Iraq war

Thanks to: Lindsay Zuhlke, VP of Digital Content Operations

Running Down the List

I’ve mainly been keeping busy by writing lists of things that I’ve wanted to finish but haven’t gotten to for a while and it’s really been helping!

I’ve cleaned out pretty much everything in my house, finished a few books, completed an embroidery project that I bought a few years ago and never got to, wrote some cards, and sent care packages to some friends.

To keep my sanity and to stay active, I’ve been joining a few virtual fitness classes online (2x a week), talking walks around the neighborhood on the back streets (with a face covering), and having weekly calls with friends and family. Hula-hooping has also been a fun distraction, though you need a lot of space in your house or you’ll knock everything over. It’s good cardio and you can still watch TV while you do it.

Staying at home more has reconnected me to what it’s like to enjoy cooking for myself. Experimenting with new food combinations in the kitchen keeps me from getting bored. I used to order out a lot, but have actually saved a lot of money by using what I already have in the house. Imagine that?!

I think the biggest surprise for me was how much fun I’m having with embroidery. Following embroidery artists on Instagram and looking at videos on YouTube to learn the stiches has really expanded my skills and inspired me to be more creative again. But really, I’m just glad that so far my friends and family are healthy.

Thanks to: Jess Anderson, Director, Worldwide Business Operations

Cooking, Creating, and Cats

To stay sane in quarantine I have been:

  • Doing lots of cooking—this is the favorite recipe I’ve tried
  • Rediscovering art—watercolors and drawing
  • Exploring new parts of my neighborhood
  • Hanging out with my cats, Suki and Jax

Thanks to: Sarah Kuist, Traveler Support

The Best Medicine

I spend my extra time doing a few things and most of that is finding ways to make myself laugh.

  • I would say TikTok video and calling my best friends, which is something I did not used to do as I would see them in person.

  • My husband and I have made a commitment that every day it is nice outside (not too cold or rainy), we go for at least a 30-minute walk or bike ride. We just moved so we have been exploring different neighborhoods around us. We have been trying new dishes as well and making sure we have a veggie to go with it.

  • TV shows—The Great British Baking Show! A classic for any age group and got me inspired to try making French macarons again (it was a decently successful batch).

  • Speaking of French macarons, those things are incredibly hard to perfect, or even get some sort of success with. If we have any bakers, I challenge them to take a crack at it because they are not easy! To get started can be a little pricey but if you want a baking challenge, I would start here.

Thanks to: Amy Van Ness, Manager, Traveler Support

Revisiting Memories

I few years back I converted all of our old family home videos to digital and they’ve just been sitting on a hard drive ever since. To stay connected with my family, I’ve made it a goal to edit a short video every week to share. Some I’ve put together so far include a fifth grade talent show, a day on the beach, and a trip to Sweden in 2000. It’s been so fun to spend time I never put aside before to hone my editing skills, as well as revisit these memories. My family has loved it as well since we’re all separated at this time.

Thanks to: Christina Gratton, O.A.T. Account Manager

Something for Everyone

  • My victory garden! This year being at home, I’ve had lots of time to start some seed from scratch. I currently have about 15 tomato plants, 4 thyme plants, 2 lavender, and 1 sprout of a pepper plant coming up.

  • A friend has started an online learning program called “Pop-up At Home” offering cooking, bartending, and crafting lessons.

  • I’m continuing to work out with our family trainer each week, but now via Zoom in our basement. She has been devising exercises focused on cardio and weight resistance, since we only have one stretchy band and one kettlebell in our house.

  • I also have a little guy who is almost 4, and he’s great at making me get off the couch. After we wore him out with scooter rides the first week, he’s smartened up to now ask for trike rides, where he doesn’t have the pedal as much. We also have created a few fun games in our yard with soccer balls, his favorite he has named “bump & jump”—it’s like bocce meets bowling.

  • I read a blog/newsletter daily from Heather Cox Richardson—she is an American historian and Professor of History at Boston College. I find that she wades through the media haze, and connects some of the politics of today to the history and politics of the past very well. I will admit her opinions may not be shared with everyone. But, her opinion is based on fact and she knows what she is talking about.

  • No Tiger King here, not my style! At the end of the day after a lot media and news and terror and fear, I find myself bingeing simple benign things, like HGTV/DIY/Food Network or Smithsonian Channel. On streaming services, I highly recommend The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime, the Crown on Netflix, and Modern Love on Amazon Prime.

  • I was craving some Boston food truck food this past weekend, and I was up for a challenge. I re-created the Chicken and Rice Guys halal chicken & rice plate. It was so good, it’s fun to try to make your favorite take-out at home. Here’s another favorite take-out recipe.

  • ZOOM! I’ve begun weekly Zooms, Saturday nights with my four best friends from college and Sundays with family. It helps so much to see and talk with the ones we love. And in this rare moment, we don’t have to just send a quick text or an email—we’ve got the time to really sit back, look at one another (digitally) and really communicate.

Thanks to: Anne Legendre, Manager, Traveler Relations

Mountain Retreat

I’ve gone back to my roots as a mountain girl, migrated from the city to North Conway, New Hampshire with my close friend whose parents have a summer home here. Until just recently, we were able to take hikes in the White Mountains National Park, however many of the more popular trails have been closed (though we always went to trails that were less popular and with few cars in the parking areas). Even with the popular trails of the National Park closed we can still be in the outdoors experiencing nature while practicing good social distancing very easily; getting fresh air and exercise is definitely part of our sanity routine.

With fewer trips to the grocery story I have started cultivating seeds from the produce, though I don’t know how successful the plants will be, just growing things for fun is rewarding. So far I have little seedlings of tomatoes, peppers, and lemons. I’ve also picked up herb plants to have fresh herbs since we only go to the grocery store once a week.

I’ve always been into yoga, but with the studios closed I’m not able to take my favorite classes any longer. Luckily, many of them have started online teaching either via Instagram Live, Facebook Live or Zoom classes. I’ve partnered with one of my instructor friends to create Boston Yoga Online where we are listing all the virtual classes being offered by Boston area instructors. I am managing the Instagram account. It’s been a wonderful way to connect with people and also provide others with yoga in this time when moving our bodies is so important.

Thanks to: Amanda Fisher, Senior Photo Editor

We’d love to hear some of your creative suggestions for keeping sane during isolation. Email your ideas—and photos, if you have them—to [email protected].

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