With most of the world stuck at home for weeks on end due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, a lot of the isolated are tearing out their hair trying to keep themselves sane from all the news, social distancing and homeschooling. For the next few weeks, we will be interviewing (digitally – duh) women of different industries, nationalities all over the world to bring to you the best tips for self-quarantine and working from home because life goes on even when the world is under siege from this deadly virus. Whether you’re a mother juggling between working from home and keeping the kids entertained, or stuck in a foreign country alone fearing that going back home might bring something nasty to your family members, we hope the series ignites positive energy and brings practical tips that can guide you through this journey.
We shed some light on the situation in Milan, Sydney and Seoul last time. This week, we’re honoured to be interviewing a New-York-based co-founder and creative director at HALO, and creative consult at Whitespace — Danielle Huthart. Speaking from New York, Danielle talks us through her pandemic-daily-routine and some tips that have helped her feel productive this difficult time.
Where are you and what do you do?
I live in New York City. I’m currently in our apartment in Chelsea. I’m a co-founder and creative director at HALO, and through Whitespace, I also consult and work with businesses that need creative brand communications and visual design.
What is it like where you are right now?
This has been a very challenging week for New Yorkers. It feels grim. Things are changing by the day. Yesterday the playgrounds were open, and today they are all closed. We’ve just been told that masks are recommended, after weeks of debate. The city is very quiet and the streets feel empty, except for long queues of wide space apart people at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. People are cautious but I’ve only just started seeing people wear masks when I’m outside walking our dog. I was in New York for 9/11 and I have to say I’ve never ever seen the city come to halt quite like this. And because it’s New York, I know we’ll pull through it and be stronger than ever.
What is the biggest impact the virus has had on your everyday, social or work life?
We have a 6-month-old baby, so I’ve been mostly at home since his birth and thankful for doing work that allows me to operate remotely. When you have a young child, everyone tells you to travel before they turn one, so we were beginning to venture out and make travel plans when the pandemic began. Like everyone else, everything is on hold and we are using this time to renovate our house, cook at home, be together and get more rest. While we miss the convenience that comes from living in proximity to everything, we are also becoming more self-sufficient and taking care of things ourselves. I’m sure our dog would rather go to his groomers but for now he’s getting his cuts at home!
Are there any positive’s you have discovered?
The most positive thing I’ve seen are the videos from Europe of people singing on their balconies at the end of their day. We can’t do that here in New York but every evening for the past week or so, people across the city stop wherever they are at 7 PM to clap and cheer loudly for all the health workers as they change shifts. It’s really moving to hear this. I think these moments are incredibly important. Even with physical distancing, there are imaginative ways to show our connection and appreciation for one another. We need it now more than ever.
What is your top tip during this period?
Continue with your routine, take your supplements, wear different outfits. Use the time you used to spend on a commute, or going out with learning a new language or skill, or on a project. Make sure you connect to something or someone every day. Have a digital detox day at least once a week – this is especially hard for me as I’m addicted to the news, but I’ve found that even a few hours without any screen time really helps.