The hidden benefits of quarantine life:

We’ve all had different challenges this year as the world slowed, shifted, and seemed to shut down on many levels due to the global pandemic. Our travel plans were halted and the events on our calendars were postponed or eliminated as we adjusted to a lifestyle that suddenly meant more time at home than ever before. For some, this was easy and even welcomed but for others…..not so much. No matter what the attitude towards being quarantined or living with new rules for distancing, changing daily routines and schedules was unavoidable.

For those of us fortunate enough not to have contracted the virus or dealing with sick family members, there actually was quite a bit of silver lining in this unprecedented period of quiet and stillness during our lives. Even with financial uncertainty and child-care struggles we found that many of the area’s most respected women found solutions and solace by accepting the situation and embracing the best bits of isolation. Here, a few of those we have featured recently share their own methods, thoughts, and insight on making the most of every day and staying positive about what’s ahead.


Meaningful lessons learned during quarantine and how they’re taking these into the future:


Jennifer Frist – A Thoughtful Approach

I learned how to be okay with the slower pace.  It took a while to get used to life in COVID times, but I find I am more thorough and thoughtful now when I attack even a small house project.  And I have loved getting to those back-burner projects that have gone untouched for too long.


Danielle Breezy – Slow Down

I learned to not sweat the small stuff and enjoy all of life’s precious moments.  This pandemic schedule also helped me to slow down a little bit which allowed me to enjoy those moments.


Laura Hutfless  – Optimistic Leadership

I’ve learned that leading with transparent optimism during crisis inspires better and more productive work than leading with fear or a scarcity mentality. It is easier said than done, especially during a pandemic, when we are all in unchartered territory and needing to plan for “worse case scenarios”.  Optimism is the key to inspiring achievement.  Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.


Kandace Springs – Embrace the Side Hustle

It’s funny in a way because I’ve always had a side interest in working on cars or buying and selling them. When this all happened all my music shows were postponed, I just dived right into my car business full time! Of course, I’m doing a lot playing and writing music at home and every couple of weeks I stream a show for fans. It’s such a different groove I’m in now and it’s going to feel so different to get back to touring. But I miss it so much that I think I’m just going to appreciate it that much more once I am back performing on the road.


Brooke Boling – Digital Detox

Obviously, slow down and be present. Appreciate time with family and nature. Our family learned new ways to “go without.” Be grateful for the things you do have- and enjoy them. Put down your phone or camera and see life through your eyes, not through a lens. You miss too much when your digging in your bag or pocket to grab for your phone. Sit back and enjoy the moments in between.


Jasmine Sweet – Be Flexible

Now is the time to build resilience.  We’re all facing a myriad of emotions and feats, directly and indirectly, every day.  I know that I have to be fluid in all interactions with myself and the many known and unknown happenings ahead.  Resilience is a muscle we have to work in order to cope and move forward.


Brittney Kelley – Family Love

I have definitely learned that time with your loved one is so precious and to soak up everything a little second. I believe I will carry prioritizing family and family time overwork in the future because of this lesson.


Sarah Kunin – Embrace your Environment

I’ve never been more grateful for everything we have in Nashville. When I first moved here I spent so much time worrying about what I would miss about New York City. Now, all we do is count our blessings and focus on how lucky we are to have green space and kind, thoughtful neighbors.


Andra Eggleston  – Learning Self Love

I am still struggling with the lesson. The quarantine combined with a commonly slow summer has really given me time and space to look at and focus on myself in terms of self-care and what that even means. I was very resistant to it in the beginning. I was hanging onto anxiety, watching the news, pow-wowing with friends to gripe, and using the pandemic to justify all the negative energy I could muster up. But now (every day is a chance to start again): I am meditating. I am sleeping in later, taking long walks (running, even), praying daily to appreciate the miracles in my life that I have at this very moment while asking for the wisdom to be able to use the gifts that I have to expand in every direction. And ALL of this often feels hard. I fall off, I get back on. I get critical, I forgive myself. I move on. Oh, and I’m letting my hair grow out grey (as if I could make things any more challenging)!


Marci Houff  – Shift for Success

My new mantra is to “Pivot during the pandemic.” While we recognized that a social media presence is increasingly important, it was not an area of emphasis for the Chic Committee. With COVID-19, we have had to quickly adapt. When health concerns forced the difficult decision to cancel the 8thAnnual Chic Awearness, we shifted to social media partnerships in innovative ways to continue to raise the awareness of ovarian cancer and raise much-needed research funding.  With the addition of digital promotion during 2020, Chic Awearness will be positioned to be an even stronger organization next year (@chicawearness).


Jensen Sussman – Stay Healthy and Happy

I’m always moving a million miles a minute, so I often don’t stop long enough to really take in my surroundings and actually see everything. This quarantine time has brought a whole new level of appreciation for the opportunities and experiences that I’ve had in my life and career – the 4 a.m. wake-up call to catch a flight would be welcomed now. I’ve also never had this much time at home in Nashville since I’m not traveling. It’s given me the gift of spending more time with family – which I’ve loved every second of – and also has challenged me to find the positive in all of this to stay happy, healthy, and ready for whatever is next.


Beth Gebhard – It’s Not that Hard

There have been many, but I’d say the lesson that I’ve certainly learned and one that I tell my kids all of the time: “You can do hard things.” And man, there have been so many days that I’ve had to really embrace that truth-from quarantining with two small children and starting a new business to celebrating holidays in quarantine (a virtual Easter egg hunt in the torrential rain, anyone?), to losing power for several days during due to the derecho storm we had in May … we CAN do hard things! And that mindset/gift will stick with me forever.


Tips, tricks, and advice for a productive at-home workspace:


Jennifer Frist – Tackle One Project at a Time and Focus on Family

Give yourself a break if you do not get something productive done each day.  It’s not a sprint and the “checklist” is always there.   Just keeping the house clean, doing laundry and cooking is pretty darn productive but I think we forget that sometimes. Get the kids involved in household work, we all have the time right now and it has been a great opportunity to teach life skills like cooking, cleaning, and laundry. Most of all, check on friends and loved ones that live alone.  This can be hard on someone that is stuck at home and not able to get out and about and socialize.


Laura Hutfless – Stay Focused with Routine

A consistent routine is key: wake up, workout, get dressed, and head “into the office”, which is now at my home.  I’ve actually been more productive in this setting where I am focused and uninterrupted.  I am naturally an introvert, so the transition has not been difficult.  I stay organized, get creative with team “zooms”, send thoughtful gifts to clients instead of in-person dinners or social hours, make playlists for friends, and find other ways to create meaningful connections.


Kandace Springs – Customize your Personal Space

 I have a really interesting workspace at home because I collect pianos as well as cars. I have 5 pianos in my living room and have my grand piano and one of my Fender Rhodes electric models set up for me to do live streams as well as a special tripod that fits two phones to post on YouTube and Instagram simultaneously. I’ve worked hard to create an environment that’s just right for me. It wouldn’t work for others, but I think everyone should try and customize their workspace. It really makes things so much more stress-free.


Brooke Boling – Clear your Mind and your Space

Get up and go for a walk, meditate, whatever you need to do to clear your head. Set intentions for the day. Keep your space clean and de-cluttered. Find a good natural light spot to set up for the day. Welcoming and warm is key. Dodge distraction and breathe. Put in a podcast, Calm App, or some AirPods so you can’t hear your kids bouncing off the walls.


Jasmine Sweet – Change it Up

I start each day with verbal affirmations, prayer, and gratitude -usually accompanied by Yoga. I’d been begging to work from home and cultivate and create in my own workspace and I’m doing just that.  I work on my porch, at the bar in the kitchen, on my closet floor, on my beautifully decorated patio (quarantine project). Changing it up and being in a spot I like gives me comfort and motivates me to work hard.


Brittney Kelley – Sweat First

First and foremost, getting up and getting in a workout is a priority. After that, organizing my workspace and also taking hourly breaks to walk outside and breathe in some fresh air.


Marci Houff – Stay Video Ready

Beginning in March, our in-person Chic Awearness committee meetings shifted to the Zoom platform. There truly is a learning curve, but most of our group caught on quickly. However, on one of the Zoom meetings, I was wearing a summertime strapless dress. Never again, as I looked naked to the other committee members during the call!


Jensen Sussman – Ditch the Sweats

 My best tip is to start your day as if you’re still going to the office. Doing a home workout, getting ready – as in actually getting dressed and doing your hair/makeup before sitting down at a desk with your laptop. Even though sweats are beyond comfy, feeling put together makes me feel stronger, focused, and that I’m starting the day with purpose and intention.


Beth Gebhard – Hideaway in your House

We made our upstairs guest room our “office,” and I even hung a whiteboard and hanging files in there. Heck, I figured I could always write a warm “WELCOME” message on the board and throw some pretty flowers in the files the next time we have guests as a way to transform it back to guest room mode. My best tip is to create that separate space/nook that is all about your work-and then lock the door if you have small kids (Ha!).


Sarah Kunin – Portable Desk

 Honestly, I’m still trying to figure it out! I think creating a solid morning routine is important. Also, my friend Bonnie recommended this cute lap desk and it’s so helpful! I use it when I want to work outside on the porch.


Andra Eggleston – Find Your Sanctuary

I am very fortunate to have a studio that is a 5-minute drive from our home in East Nashville, so I haven’t really had to work from home. For this reason, it has become an unexpected sanctuary. No one has been allowed in or out due to COVID, so it feels like a real retreat – a place where I can hear my own thoughts.