A Very Different Kind of Women's History Month
Julie Whiting, VP/director, Media Women@Digitas National Lead reflects on the importance of grace towards each other during the coronavirus pandemic and the unusual circumstances of this year's Women's History Month.
I never would’ve thought that this piece, meant to celebrate Women’s History Month, would need to pivot so quickly, but here we are. If I share one piece of advice with you during this anxious time, it’s to give grace: It’s something my boss and colleagues frequently tell me. Give grace to your coworkers, grace to your family and, most of all, give grace to yourself. This is increasingly important over the next few weeks as we work through uncharted territory.
As we adjust our daily routines, it’s important to remember to take time for yourself. Our normal days in the office are spent running to catch the elevator, attending back-to-back meetings, grabbing a meal with a coworker or taking a quick walk around the block. All of these little activities give your brain a break and get your body moving. For those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to work from home over the next few weeks, we must consider new methods to give our minds a rest from the monotony.
Despite the fact that many of our favourite restaurants, stores and gathering spots have been closed, there is still an array of social distancing-friendly options that we can partake in to get a taste of the “outside” world and practice a little self-care:
- Take a virtual tour of a museum through Travel & Leisure
- Check out an e-book from your public library; reading a few chapters before firing up my laptop promises a strong start to my day
- Commit, as a team, to enroll in a yoga class from a pro through CorePower
- Make a meal from start to finish, or bake up a storm and share a photo with your peers
- Find a new show to binge and share your recommendations with colleagues
- Treat yourself with at-home spa options; I’m slowly working my way through my collection of face masks (the spa kind, not the medical kind!)
- Foster an animal—there’s no better time to help your local shelter
- Make a master cleaning/organising list. If I tackle one section of my list each day, by the time I return to the office I will have a clean space and piles of bags to donate
- FaceTime your coworkers to check in and, while you’re at it, give them a tour of your space
- Ditch texting for calling; I’m dialling friends to catch up (just found out through one call that a friend and his wife are expecting this summer!) and pass the time
- Acknowledge the extra time you have by not commuting; I’ve been able to plough through projects that have been lower priority for weeks
I’ve seen parents sharing eLearning recommendations, foodies sharing their favorite restaurants that still offer takeout (in accordance with their states’ laws), and able-bodied people offer to shop for those who may be at risk. It is inspiring to see friends across the country sharing ideas, helpful tips, and positive thoughts during such an uncertain time.
Ironically, this crisis is happening during Women’s History Month. Events that would normally celebrate and advocate for women are being canceled. As the national lead for Women@Digitas, it makes me incredibly proud to witness thoughtful conversation about women’s historical accomplishments, gender discrimination, and pay gaps still take place as we look to find connections in a disconnected time. While these might be over a Skype call or a FaceTime, I’m lucky and grateful that Digitas and my colleagues encourage and support all of their employees to have such open conversations and bring our full selves to work (even if that workspace is currently digital-only).
Stay healthy and safe out there, take it day by day, and if you see any toilet paper at the store, let me know - we’re running low.