“I am not the type of person who’s like, hmmm … time for a run. But if I tell myself, on Wednesday, you will go for a half an hour jog, then I’ll do it.”
It is Wednesday and that means it is time for WE TALK FIVE — a series where WE TAKE FIVE 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.
Today with us we have Breanna Gribble (she/hers) a Senior Resilience Manager at STV as well as a professional modern dancer with Mari Meade Dance Collective. Breanna lives in Manhattan, but is currently socially distancing at her childhood home in California.
Question 1: Could you go back to a moment where you felt like you completely lost it?
Breanna: (Laughs) let’s see… Let’s go back to March 2020. I think collectively everybody had a really hard time. I did, because at the start of the pandemic, April/May, I think, I didn’t appreciate how social I am. Being isolated, dealing with the uncertainty with the pandemic, not knowing how dangerous or contagious it was right away, was very difficult. What was the question? (Laughs)
Question 2: What were the little things that you were able to implement in your daily schedule that have helped you get through?
Breanna: I don’t think I did it successfully at the beginning (laughs). When I was having a hard time working I let myself struggle for a long time. I think it was natural to see how low the low could get. And then I kinda went back to some of my dance training. Batsheva Dance Company was hosting donation-based half an hour improvisation classes online, so I started joining those a couple times a week. I didn’t focus on looking great. I just needed to shake all the anxious energy off my body. That was very helpful. Movement has always been the way I cope with stress and that’s why I have been dancing my whole life and working as an engineer. There has never been a point up until the pandemic where I only did one of those things (Laughs). So that’s been a rough transition.
Question 3: How did working away from the office and people change your interactions with your co-workers and your relationship to the work itself?
Breanna: It’s been a mixed bag. Working from home you can very easily and without any consequences get away with being a total hermit. As long as you get your work done, nobody is going to be calling you or pestering you… or walking by. So in that way I think it is actually not great (laughs). Because we are all social creatures and benefit from other people’s energy around us.
There are some pluses. I had a couple work buddies and we really did dive in deep, particularly when lots of workers in my industry were furloughed. We made time to commiserate and I think our friendship really grew in just this shared experience of dealing with how everything was.
Question 4: What was your day-to-day routine before COVID and what it is now?
Before COVID I would get up at 7, you know, shower, get some breakfast, get myself to work by 9:15. I ride Citibike to work, it’s about a mile away. Go up the elevator. There is a free coffee at the office (smiles), grab some coffee, talk to someone, sit down… I had a sit/stand desk. I’d water my plant. I’d have quite a bit more meetings, so I was kind of going between conference rooms and my cubicle. And… yeah, I probably didn’t take lunch as much as I should, but sometimes I’d go out and meet my fiancé for coffee, and work until around 6 and head to rehearsal.
Now, my day is SO different. I am in California but I am still working on the East Coast time, so I get up at 5:55… ish and start working immediately. I basically turn my computer on before my eyes have even lubricated (laughs). Throw my coffee on and really sit focused for the first 3 hours, and then it’s lunch time in New York and it’s like 9/9:30 here, so I take my shower then. Hmmm… this is like not a good story because it is not super healthy (Laughs). I just sit down and work for the rest of the day. And I am taking Gyrokinesis class on Wednesdays and I was kinda getting into a routine of taking Pilates but I haven’t been taking enough classes. I really feel like the on-demand yoga scene is not really motivating for me… I tried running, but there’s been a lot of wildfires in California and the air quality is really bad, so I am glued to the screen a lot. OH! I am cooking! I never cooked really in New York. Risotto is starting to become my go to dish (laughs).
Question 5: What would you say you need right now?
Breanna: I think that I need structure. Structured breaks. Structured interactions. You know, I have been writing a lot of proposals and doing a lot of research and I am the kind of worker that can by accident do that for as long as I … want, and I don’t think it’s healthy. I think in the pre-COVID life it was like, well I have to get up and go to the conference room at 1:30, or I have to go meet someone for lunch. There was a little bit more of a framework for physicality, but if I am left to my own devices it’s a lot more challenging. I think I don’t work out, for example, because I don’t put it on my calendar. I am not the type of person who’s like, hmmm … (looks out in the distance) time for a run (laughs). But if I tell myself: “on Wednesday, you will go for a half an hour jog,” then I’ll do it. I generally won’t cop out of something I planned, but I might skip out on something otherwise. It’s not that I am not productive. I am just more brain productive rather than body productive.
Here is a video of Roza and Breanna taking a 5-minute movement break. Feel free to follow along.