Alley’s core company values of quality, transparency and accountability closely align with the values of Scrum and, more broadly, the principles of agile software development. However, recent events have led us to consider how the practice of Scrum also supports our community values – radical candor, psychological safety, asynchronous communication, diversity, and inclusion.
A month ago many of us were driving to work, shaking hands with coworkers, going to the gym and going to dinner with friends and family on the weekends. These seemingly mundane activities are now considered a public health risk. The things we once took for granted are now things we long for, leaving many of us feeling grief and uncertainty.
At Alley, we’re already in the business of working from home. However, we are not immune to feeling like our lives have been flipped upside down, so we make it a priority to take care of ourselves and each other. Through our dedication to psychological safety, we encourage comradeship among our teams, sharing how we’re feeling on a daily basis and giving each other support through hard times and good. Our community Slack channels, where we share everything from mental health issues and self-care tips to swapping videos of cute pets and at-home parenting tips, make it easier to feel supported.
Here are some tips from the Alley team on how to recharge and take care of yourself:
On feeling anxious about news… “I set hard boundaries around consuming news, especially on Facebook and Twitter. I give myself a half hour in the morning to read and watch news about the pandemic. Then turn it off or avoid it completely until after work and timebox how long I look at it then.”Gillian Zamora, Director of Digital Strategy
On anxiety and difficulty sleeping… “I use a mantra, a series of phrases that I repeat while I focus on my breath and help ground myself in the present ‘I am safe. Today is (date, month, year). I am in (city, or sometimes just ‘my home’)’.”Lauren Fernandez, Software Developer
On taking a break… “It’s ok to take a break and care for yourself and come back to things refreshed. It’s ok to be giving to others but you have to take time to restore yourself or you will deplete.”Kelsey Locotos, People and Operations Manager
On meditation and grounding… “Even just counting your breaths can be meditation! It’s really just the idea of stopping to intentionally pause and be with yourself. Walking meditation is my favorite; you just focus on the physical sensations of walking, your feet hitting the ground, etc.”Brittany Choplin, User Experience Developer
On overthinking… “Sometimes it helps me if I write a list of everything that’s in my head. Just a list, no analysis or explanations, and then put it away.”Paige Toma, Agile Process Leader
On breaking from screens to connect with loved ones… “Decided to do no screen time yesterday as a family. I broke out some looming stuff from a while ago and got started on a scarf. It was absurdly relaxing. Highly recommend. We also do Hygge on Sundays. Boardgames, fire in the fireplace, tea and snacks; great way to slow down and reconnect.”Dan Bowles, Senior Software Developer
On self-care during winter months… “I focus on a lot of foundational aspects of mental health hygiene: sleep, healthy meals, exercise, social activities, hobbies, meaningful work. If I don’t get those things right during SAD season, things get pretty dark pretty fast.”Christina Deemer, User Experience Developer
On self-care for difficult days… “I’ve found that making a list of simple pleasures helps—that way I can draw on them when I’m struggling. Also having accountability friends to check in on me when I go quiet. And forcing myself to run every day. It literally saves me. But also being gentle with my heart when I’m feeling vulnerable or sad and being okay staying home and cuddling mugs and mugs of tea in pajama (bottoms) all day.”Sarah Rose Belok, Agile Process Leader
The above is just a snapshot of some of the ways we take care of ourselves. We’re in this for the long-haul and we’re in it together. We encourage you to use some of these tips for yourself and share them with your families and friends. Perhaps one of the most salient pieces of advice we can give you is one that some of us use often: Take things one day at a time.
Some resources that we like (at any time, but especially now):
How about you? If you’d like to share any methods you have of practicing self-care, we’d love to hear them! Reach out to us on Twitter and we can share them with the world!