The Goddess Copes

A drawing of the warrior goddess Athena (aka) Minerva with a surgical mask on. She has an owl perched on her shoulder, Medusa on her shield, and a spear in hand.

The Minerva Team


It’s been fun and enlightening to read people’s tips and tricks for working from home during this COVID-19 crisis.


That is not what this blog is about. The Minerva Strategies team does not hold miracle tips, tricks, or life hacks—we’re stumbling through and finding ways to manage this transition as awkwardly as the rest of the world. Instead, we’re getting into the spirit of solidarity and sharing pieces of our lives to feel a little less alone, a little more together.  


Embracing our virtual lives


In the first week of the crisis, the Minerva team instituted a daily check-inThis is 30 minutes to share news, celebrate wins, commiserate challenges, ask questions, and just see each other’s facesBecause our East Coast office got up and running this past summer, we were well ahead of the crisis in terms of communication systems—we use a combo of Microsoft Teams, Outlook, and Asana. While our East Coast Goddess Sara did a lot of the initial lift of getting us set up, the entire team put forth a strong effort to incorporate process and technology changes into our everyday workflows. 


Unlearning ways of working isn’t easy, but we’re so glad we got that out of the way before coronavirus. It made for a smoother transition to virtual-only. 


Putting pants on 


After the first week of figuring things out, we started getting more intentional about morning routines and how we show up for work.  


Joy has a strict nojeans, sweatpants, or t-shirts rule (except for Fridays). Malia has been wearing more lipstick and spending more time getting ready as a form of commuteSara is leaning into the same morning routine she’s had for years: drinking coffee while writing three handwritten pages in a journal, showering, and then walking the dogNow, she’s added a twenty-minute meditation to keep herself focusedCatherine frequently joins video calls looking like she just left a salon with a fresh balayage and sometimes with extravagant make-up applied by her 6-year-old Luciana 




Considering our team includes a retired gymnast, triathlete, and ex-marathoner who are all avid yoginis, it’s not surprising that exercise is a key piece of our coping efforts. From Sufferfest cycling workouts to online yoga and HIIT classes, to chasing kids through the house, we’ve all been keeping our heart rates and spirits up with some vigorous exercise 


We’ve decided that if we must stay inside, we can each treat our home as chrysalis. When we emerge at some point in the future, it will be as stronger, fitter butterflies. Or at least we won’t gain the COVID 19.  




Besides celebrating Friday happy hours with old fashioneds, we’ve been finding ways to care for ourselves and our loved ones. Malia’s been journaling, while digging through pages from pre-COVID times to peer in on what now feels like a parallel universea world without a kitchen table workstation and masks. This reminds her that there is another normal on the other side of this.  


To keep her spirits up and her family’s stomachs full, Catherine has been doing a lot of cooking, mainly Ecuadorian comfort food. Connecting to Ecuador through the aromas, textures, and flavors help her stay centered and keep the family happy. If you want to give some Ecuadorian food a shot, try bolones de verde, a traditional breakfast dish from the coast of Ecuador. Enjoy with a big cup of coffee.  


Doing things we never thought we’d do 


Despite not having run continuous mile in recent pre-2020 memory, Malia’s training for a (solo) half marathon. Catherine, who’s adamant about limiting her children’s screen time, and her own, has been loosening the reins and letting her kids enjoy non-COVID content that provides an escape from the new reality and a much-needed break from parental duties. Despite having been a mostly vegetarian for nearly three years, Sara has started eating meat again—because self-imposed restrictions feel silly when externally imposed restrictions are plentiful.  


It’s also the first time many of us have felt schadenfreude, or joy in the misfortune of others. Before you judge, let us explain. While we didn’t really want the rest of the US to feel the full effects of COVID-19, it was challenging for the Seattle team to be on calls with people in areas that hadn’t yet felt the virus’s impactWe faced the daily dread of cases piling up and downtown areas being deserted, and it felt isolating as the rest of the country went about business as usual 


One day in late March, we had a client say, “We get it now. I see where you were last week and I’m so sorry. There was a sinking feeling of unity. We all now acknowledge the new layer of unpredictability on the other side of everyone’s screen. But while it’s unifying, we are eager to leave this feeling behind.  


Catherine and her husband Pablo didn’t think they’d be going part time, but totally switched up their schedules so each of them can have at least four hours of uninterrupted work every day; while one is with the kids, the other one works. This arrangement allows them to focus on work but also provides the emotional support and educational assistance the kids need. Every day is different and there are some days that are not great, but just like other parents out there, they’re doing their best.  


Loving our people—including ourselves 


We are all driven people who are kind to others but not always to ourselvesWe’ve had to accept that sometimes we cannot get everything done that we’d planned for the day. We’ve learned to give ourselves a break for doing something out of the ordinary, distracted, or melancholic. There is no right or wrong way to be right now.  


Once we’ve been able to get our arms around ourselves, we’ve been able to extend that acceptance to others. People are dealing with so much right now and it manifests in many ways—from snappy comments to spacing out in meetings to getting angry when someone in our home closes a door loudly while we’re on a conference call. Everyone is navigating this strange new world togetherapart—and that is extremely stressful.  


Our team is doing our best to navigate and be kind. Joy and her husband are trying to practice a lot of grace toward each other because being together all day every day is hard on a marriage. Her best days are the ones that end with him telling herThere’s no one else in the world I’d rather be quarantined with.” Craving the feeling of team and group belonging, Malia finds herself often wearing her college gymnastics ring, and hopping on group calls both with friends on the East coast and just miles away.  


For Catherine and Pablo, who have most of their family members living in Ecuador and Spain—in some of the most affected countries in their regions by COVID-19—it has been crucial to keep daily contact with their loved onesThankfully everyone is healthy.  


A large part of our coping strategy is simply recognizing that this has been hardWe wear masks to go to the grocery store and every surface in public spaces is suspect. We eat dinner with friends through a video screen and see the people we love most through windows. We all live with dread that it will be our parents or our friends who are in the hospital next.  


It’s helpful to remember that we’re not supposed to be okay and that we’re all doing our best.  

About The Author

Minerva Strategies

Minerva Strategies

The Minerva team has decades of experience working with nonprofits, foundations, and values-driven companies. Minerva also partners with experts—trusted designers, web developers, global communications professionals, and others—who share our excitement for creating positive social change. Through these partnerships, we can build a team that is tailored to your needs. Learn more about who we are or what we do.