“Having someone who kept an eye on me to make sure I take care of myself was very helpful.”

Introducing WE TALK FIVE (thanks, Isaac, for the title!), a brand new series where founder Roza Saveleva asks professionals from across the industries 5 questions about the ups and downs of finding the optimal structure for their day-to-day routine.

First up, we have Isaac Owens (he / him), a Software Engineer with MediaMath. Isaac was born in Germany, spent most of his childhood in Ghana and South Carolina, and is now living in Brooklyn, NY.

Question 1: Can you recall the moment in your past where you absolutely lost it?

Isaac: Yeah absolutely. During my coding bootcamp at App Academy we had a project called “Full Stack Project” where we had to make a clone of an existing website from scratch. Facebook, Twitter, or whatever you choose. I chose Spotify. (Laughs) For that week or so, my health was declining exponentially. I didn’t stand up for hours on end, I wasn’t drinking water, I wasn’t eating… and started getting swollen in my legs. I was up for 2 days at a time, so… yeah… things were slipping away from me. Before that, I had a very nice healthy routine, but then it kinda fell sidewise.

Question 2: What would you say put you in that place?

Isaac: I think it was the pressure of the deadline, but also the pressure of making something really good, because I knew it was going to be a part of my portfolio when I began job searching. And you know, the pressure I was putting on myself to really produce and do something meaningful.

Question 3: What did it take for you to break out of that pattern?

Isaac: Well… my husband yelled at me. (Laughs) But also the swelling and aches were very alarming. I was getting head rushes. Feeling a lot of pressure in my head from poor circulation. I think that was a call that it wasn’t sustainable and could have long term implications. So I had to really zoom out and see the situation I was in, to really make it feel serious.

Question 4: What were the small changes that you implemented?

Isaac: Regular breaks, hydrating, making sure that I was prioritizing eating and sleeping. Making sure I don’t stay up into the next morning, which is very easy to do when you are in a “coding black hole”. Yeah… and giving myself time to step away.

Question 5: What were the tools that helped you stick to this new routine?

Isaac: Alarms and having people to check on me to make sure I was taking breaks. The realization of what could happen if I did not take breaks. Really not wanting to go down that path. Also, giving my day a little more structure. So, having assigned work periods and assigned break periods was very very helpful to me. But really, accountability. Having someone who kept an eye on me and asked me at the end of the day if I did all the things I am supposed to do to take care of myself was very helpful.

Watch the video to see how WE TAKE FIVE can help you stay accountable, 5 minutes at a time.

Follow along with Roza and Isaac as they TAKE FIVE to release some of the tension in their necks and shoulders (pardon the Zoom robot sounds here and there). Comment to let us know what works for you!

Join WE TAKE FIVE for live 5-minute mindful movement sessions.

Hosted by WE TAKE FIVE, a dancer-sourced healthtech startup, helping you move through your day, 5 minutes at a time.

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Dancer-sourced health tech startup, making mindful movement a part of your day-to-day, 5 minutes at a time.

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