Advocate Stories, COVID-19

Social Distancing With WREN

by WREN Staff on Mar 31, 2020

We know that as we move into this unprecedented time of social distancing, we find ourselves spending more time at home (and with our families) than we’re used to. Schools have closed and many employers have moved to working from home, WREN made that leap two weeks ago. With the closure of many public activities it can feel almost as if we’re stuck at home, and it can be difficult to not give in to restlessness.

The WREN staff feels your pain. Many of us are home balancing our advocacy work with our newfound roles as teachers to our kids who are home from school. Others are learning how to share a work-space with partners, roommates, and furry friends. This time of adjustment can be tricky, so we asked our staff to share with you all how they are coping with staying at home. We asked everyone two questions:

  1. What is one activity that you can do at home to keep your mind/body engaged and active?
  2. Can you tell us what it is like to adjust to working from and staying at home?

Everyone was very candid about how they are handling being home; you can find the responses below. We also asked everyone for two songs that they have on repeat to keep their spirits up. We put those songs into a playlist so that you can jam out to them for some social distancing motivation. Listen here:

What is one activity that you can do at home to keep your mind/body engaged and active?

I am keeping up with workouts at home with the help of two of my favorite local, women-owned small businesses: Barre3 Columbia and BELLAtrixFitness & Nutrition.” – Ann

Vera and I are reading a lot of books and working on our character voices. We may go live on Instagram to read Pout Pout Fish to the world cause that is our favorite!” – Ashley

Gardening and dancing with my kids.” – Brandi

Since staying with my family, I’ve been enjoying walks outside with my one year-old Golden Retriever/Australian Shepard mix puppy, Sailor! It makes him so happy and we love seeing all the flowers in full bloom.” – Chloe

Take in sunlight whenever you can. For me that means working near an open window or going for a walk with my dog between conference calls!” – Courtney

If you have a library card, you have access to thousands of audio books through and the Libby app! Right now, I’m listening to “Talking to Strangers” by Malcolm Gladwell and “Someone We Know” by Shari Lapena.” – Kate

When I am not working, I honor my body with the rest it deserves as an intentional escape from toxic productivity.” – Kayla

Reading is always my go to. When I need a mental break, I try to read things that are more lighthearted and fun, like romance and science fiction.” – Kayle

Bust out your cookbook (or phone because it’s 2020) and make a recipe you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t had the time to do.” – Maya

Meditating for 10-20 minutes per day (I sometimes incorporate mindful, deep breathing while stretching)” – Melissa

Can you tell us what it is like to adjust to working from and staying at home?

Daily life is messy and chaotic, as I try to figure out how to care for my family, my staff, and my community in new ways. I am hopeful that this disruption in daily habits and systems helps us imagine new ways of building a community that truly cares for all who live in it.” – Ann

Working from home is tough! I miss physical being with my coworkers and going to the statehouse to talk to our lawmakers. I still talk to everyone all day long and the work continues but I am very much missing the in person connection. I also have a 4 month old baby and a husband who works from home so we are all learning how to be together and also do what we need to do. The bright side of being at home is that I can take walks with them as breaks during the day and sit outside on my porch to do work. Nacho Lidow, my French bulldog, is the most pleased by this situation and has requested that we forever work at home. I will have to decline that request!” – Ashley

I appreciate more than ever the wonderful people who care for and teach my children on a daily basis.” – Brandi

I take work home with me often and I don’t mind it; however, working from home is a completely different story and it’s not one of my favorites. Not only is it hard for me to feel connected and up to speed with my coworkers, who have families and kids, but it’s extremely hard for me to not fall back into some of my depressive tendencies. I’ve struggled with depression for the last year and it was the worst in August through November of last year. So getting out of bed and being productive can be next to impossible, especially when you don’t have anywhere to go or things to look forward to. Luckily, I have the best supervisor in the world, coworkers who check-in with me and are kind enough to share pictures of their little ones to keep my spirits high.” – Chloe

I live in a house with 3 other people and a dog so it’s pretty easy to keep up a sense of normalcy. Normalcy for us is always chaos. There’s always a meal to make or someone that need attention. With social distancing comes (forced) closeness and that’s been a bit of a struggle.  I walk the line between introvert and extrovert. That means I need to recharge and have intentional alone time (which is near impossible in this moment).  When I notice that I haven’t given myself time to recharge I’m aware of my temper, and I try to give grace. This moment has truly made me appreciate the relationships I have with friends near and far. Just last night I sat on zoom for 2 hours with friends from Greenville because I missed their company. I know we are just at the beginning of this moment, but I know we’ll make it through if we stay true to our commitments to each other.” – Courtney

Social distancing is really hard for an extreme extrovert but it’s getting easier as I form more of a routine. It helps to have an equally needy dog to hang with and to take real lunch breaks when I can get take out from Spotted Salamander or Happy Cafe!” – Kate

I enjoy working from home and having the ability to connect with my team through technology when I need an opinion or perspective, or just to check in. The decision from our leadership to move to remote work communicates prioritization of our safety and well-being but also trust. Outside of office time, social isolation hasn’t been terribly unbearable for me because I enjoy time with myself and have worked to cultivate a rich inner world, and I love quality time indoors with my daughter as much as I do outdoors. Since we intentionally practice slowing down, this hasn’t been awkward or unfamiliar for us.  And because of technology, I’ve probably connected with more friends in the last few days than I typically do.” – Kayla

Luckily, adjusting to working from home has not been very difficult for me. I tend to find it easy to adapt to change, especially at work. I try to stay productive and stick to my to-do list. However, the most important thing for me is to remember that the health of my family, friends, and myself is what matters most.” – Kayle

I’ve followed all of the recommendations for keeping sane while working from home: get dressed every day, create a dedicated workspace, follow your normal work schedule, etc. but it is still hard to keep motivated when I don’t get the chance to check in with my awesome co-workers all day! The biggest struggle I am facing is going stir-crazy in my apartment. I’ve started going on short walks outside every few hours and running in the evenings to get out outside. (Following CDC recommendations) The social Isolation of working from home can be tough too, but I’m leaning on technology to keep in touch with friends and family, thanks Snapchat! I’m super grateful that WREN took the initiative to move towards working from home, even with all of the challenges it brings. Time to blast this playlist and have a solo dance party to get out my restless energy!” – Maya

As somewhat of an introvert, I’ve been practicing social distancing for most of my life, lol. I’m ok staying at home. I’ve been a remote worker for a decade, and I’d be happy to share tips and tricks I’ve learned through the years. Invest in a Business Dickie™ so you can be business on the top and party on the bottom for your virtual meetings.” – Melissa Moore

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