Our Impact

One Bostonian’s Guide to Surviving vs. Thriving in Quarantine

Posted by Lydia Zepeda on April 29, 2020

Krista Huebner is a senior manager in EY’s Advisory practice currently serving as Chief of Staff to their Americas Advisory leadership team helping to support 21,000 service-line consultants across North & South America and Israel. In more relevant news, she is currently ‘quarantined’ in Newton, MA with husband Brandon and 7 year old cockapoo Yoda.

  • How did you start your day?

My new routine has me taking advantage of the later start, waking up in the 7s vs. usual 5:50AM to make a 6AM class. On days where I have virtual video meetings, I’ll take a little longer to get ready and put on my ‘fancy sweats.’ Then it’s the mandatory cup of tea & daily water refill (via my trusty 64oz water bottle) while watching a small dose of morning news and responding to the latest family/friends group text chains -- before settling in to check email/ mentally prepare for my day.

  • What did you have for breakfast?

Standard breakfast is usually a Greek yogurt with berries, cinnamon and a handful of granola. No luck petitioning ‘the kitchen’ for eggs this morning but do occasionally get spoiled by my husband’s boredom with the unexpected omelet.

  • What does your “home office” look like? 

Thankfully my office got some TLC this past Fall after a mere 7+ years in our apartment – formally (and still) doubling as our guest room, my protests were finally victorious is procuring a murphy bed installation that I am sincerely grateful for. However, my chair was chosen for looks and not function (read not ergonomic), so some seat cushions are in the mail to support more prolonged sitting.

My office also doubles as my hobby / ‘everything else’ room – I try to keep it neat since I’ve been trying to instill a 10 minute daily mediation practice (impressed by how great some of the apps are!)…. and I’m trying to convince myself to finish a painting I started one summer when beach traffic was unbearable and prompted drawing one instead.

  • How are you communicating with your team(s)?

I am amazed at how much of my personal work world and clients alike have adapted to a remote working culture. All my teams have adopted Microsoft teams w/ video functionality; or for larger meetings use Zoom so you can visually see more people at a time. Seeing people’s homes, pets, etc. has injected a refreshing dose of authenticity as people are showing up as ‘themselves,’ old college sweatshirt and all.

I’ve also found that this time has made me more intentional with reaching out to colleagues and counselees to make sure people feel connected, heard and secure. People need the reassurance that we’ve been here before and we will take the appropriate steps to put our people first. It’s also been a healthy dose of realizing what matters most, from both a work (critical actions/ must-dos) and larger life/ personal perspective.

  • How is COVID-19 changing your current life/role/perspective?

Growing up Greek-American it was instilled in me that ‘it takes a village,’ as my dad is literally from a small village in Evia, GR and my childhood loosely paralleled My Big Fat Greek Wedding (minus the Windex). I always saw my family in business together (yes we had a diner), supporting each other both at work, with childcare, and the overall ups-and-downs of day to day life. 

In experiencing COVID-19, I felt an overwhelming sense of needing to support those in my daily life, realizing how incredibly fortunate we are to honestly have relatively dull hardships at the moment (read toilet paper). Both my brother and my two brothers-in-law have small children and are working/ parenting simultaneously; 100s of my colleagues are in the same boat – all the blogs are amazing right now with suggestions for how to keep kids entertained with fun/ educational experiences, but I seriously ask you, how are they supposed to have the time to read the blogs and compile a list of fun things to do while doing the hand-to-hand combat of parenting, working, food shopping/cooking, cleaning, worrying about their jobs/health, etc.? It inspired me to do the online sleuthing for them and compile the attached resources list.

Similarly, many of the team members are finding the isolation hard to stay disciplined, feel connected and sane. Apparently one of my superpowers is organization, so I similarly collected the ‘best practices’ I’ve gathered through online and internally shared articles. I’ve found finding small ways to help others is a genuine way to feel connected during this time of ‘distancing.’

 Also, it’s been a reminder of the beautiful oxymoron of how fragile yet strong our society is – swiftly halting business as usual, while prompting an immediate resiliency to support each other. It also speaks to our humanity and our needs as social creatures – reinforcing how much family and community influence happiness. It’s been a time to get quiet and to reflect on what we truly need and value. To paraphrase Brené Brown, it isn’t about “accomplish, acquire, collapse, repeat;” rather as Greg Mckeown writes we should stop celebrating being busy as a measure of importance, the wisdom of life consists of the elimination of the non-essentials and understanding what we truly want to accomplish with the time we have left.