Sanity Savers: What’s Gotten 33Across Employees Through Quarantine

Most of us have been living the pandemic lifestyle since March when our lives came to a screeching halt forcing us to stay safely at home. Well, a lot has happened in the past 7 or so odd months and for many of us, our interests have shifted as we’ve adjusted to virtual living. Even though the 33Across offices have been closed, we have tried to create a sense of community and make it a point to check in with each other. Our company Slack hums with employees sharing pictures of food, motivating weight-loss challenges to get rid of the COVID-19, stories of homeschooling adventures, and other entertaining anecdotes. 

With a lot more time on our hands, 33Acrossers have been trying new things or revisiting old hobbies in full force to help keep their sanity and create a sense of normalcy.

Here’s a quick peek into what’s saving our employees’ sanity during quarantine. 

Aparna Hegde

Senior Software Engineer | New York, NY

Quarantine Sanity Saver: HIIT Workouts (High-Intensity Interval Training)

When did you start?
I started after the lockdown took effect in NYC in March.

Why is this the perfect pandemic past time for you?
Gyms were closed and people didn’t always social-distance outside so outdoor exercise was not an option for me during the lockdown. I discovered a bunch of high-quality HIIT videos online that could be performed at home- no equipment needed. Added bonus was my son got to watch his mom look goofy as he ate his breakfast.
HIIT made me feel fit and agile and helped me cope with the lockdown better.

What’s on your wishlist?
Schools are opening up full time for in-person learning, vacationing to an exotic locale, visiting my parents whenever I want without worrying about risks to their health.

Amey Bordikar

VP of Engineering | New Jersey

Quarantine Sanity Saver: Mountain Biking

When did you start mountain biking?
In April, when both of my kids were able to get off their training wheels, we got mountain bikes for the family. 

Why is this the perfect pandemic past time for you?
It’s an activity outside of the house that all 4 of us can do together at the same time. We have gone on paved, gravel, as well as easy mountain trails with kids, sometimes by the beach, forts, or in the woods in our backyard. The kids love the scenery, learning about history, and exploring the surroundings. We enjoy the time outside of the house, while also getting a little bit of exercise.

What’s on your holiday wishlist?
Getting back to normal, so that we can travel a bit would be number one. But until then, we can’t wait for next summer to bike again. The kids are quickly outgrowing their bikes, so we will need to make some upgrades.

Yuri Burka

Managing Director, EMEA | Catalonia, Spain

Quarantine Sanity Saver: Making Paella

When did you start making paella?
I started making paella with my wife each Sunday afternoon in April. 

Why is this the perfect pandemic past time for you?
In Spain, Sundays are reserved for time being spent with the entire family- grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc. Our house was always the central meeting place for the family at large. When we realized in early April that the strict lockdowns that occured in Spain during the spring were going to be a lot longer than we first anticipated, we knew that family gatherings like before were no longer going to happen. Paella was the typical family meal on Sundays and knowing my mother-in-law was not going to be able to come over and make it, we decided to start making paella ourselves. Paella for me is symbolic with good times with the family and warm lazy Sunday afternoons which is of course accompanied with a nice siesta. Pandemic or not, paella on Sundays will always be a favorite pastime.

What’s on your holiday wishlist?
The obvious one on my wishlist is that we can all get back to some sense of normalcy as we learn to live with COVID-19, vaccine or no vaccine. In Spain, we are currently limited to family gatherings of only 6 people, so it’s going to be a very different holiday season this year. Most of all, I’d certainly like to see my parents again, hopefully in 2021. In the meantime, my wish will be to master “Paella de Langosta” (Lobster Paella) and “Arroz Negro” (Paella made with squid ink) before their next visit.

Brian Lin

Technical Operations Specialist | Harrison, NY

Quarantine Sanity Saver: Boxing and Snowboarding

When did you start boxing and snowboarding?
My first experience with snowboarding was in late September at Big Snow, NJ, the only indoor snowboarding park in North America. My friends and I started boxing in August because we wanted to work out and got tired of doing the traditional “pick things up and put them down” exercises.

Why is this the perfect pandemic past time for you?
As of right now, I’m really enjoying any outdoor activity I can do since being inside in front of a computer from 9-5 gives me the urge to move around a lot. To make up for my sedentary workday, I spend a lot of my free time exercising or gaming with my friends.

What’s on your holiday wishlist?
Since I’ll be spending a lot more time indoors, a brand new gaming PC and the new highly hyped game Cyberpunk 2077 that’s releasing in November is on my wishlist. I’d also like a mountain bike but the weather is getting too cold.

Drew Paquette

Sr. Director, Product | Montclair, NJ

Quarantine Sanity Saver: Playing Music

When did you start?
I’ve been playing instruments since childhood, but it wasn’t until I began learning music theory in high school that playing went from being a chore to a passion. The ability to instantly jam with any fellow musician was like a new-found power that unlocked a whole world of fun and opportunity, especially entering college. It’s been a love of mine ever since.

Why is this the perfect pandemic past time for you?
I view playing music as a form of therapy. Drums are my main go-to, because of the physicality involved, but piano and guitar are great outlets as well. Throwing on headphones and hopping behind the kit, even if only a few minutes each day, is the ultimate diversion. In recent weeks, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to resume playing regularly with some good friends in Brooklyn, now that our favorite studio has safely reopened. That’s really been a game-changer for my overall mood and mental health.

What’s on your wishlist?
As others have said, some return to normalcy. And for our nation to be civil once again. Oh yeah, and a new drum set (I’ve got my eye on just the one). 🙂

Keeping busy and trying new activities definitely helps counter quarantine fatigue. We fully believe in finding ways to keep our minds sharp and sane while remaining healthy. It’s also interesting to learn more about what our employees busy and what they look forward to once they sign off for the day. As winter draws nearer, hopefully, we can all find more activities to quell the urge to travel, go to concerts, or hang out indoors with 100 of our best friends.