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21 Pandemic Pastimes Revealed


Arketi Group shares new hobbies and interests we've pursued while working from home and practicing social distancing

You don’t need us to tell you that we’re in for the long haul. By now, like many of you, the Arketi team members thought we would be back in the office, but alas, here we are working from afar! For many, that means working with kids, pets, spouses and roommates underfoot.

Self-isolation and quarantine carry on. But there are some positives during this time because we have either discovered new hobbies or resurrected long-forgotten ones from the past. Man yoga, gardening, gaming and so on. (Although no one has fessed up to growing an ant farm or sewing clothes for their pets…yet.) Read on to find out what, other than public relations and B2B marketing work, we’ve been doing during the past five-plus months. Perhaps it will give you an idea or two to pass time during this pandemic …

Developing a sourdough culture

Like many other people, I’ve developed a sourdough culture. While I was baking long before the pandemic started, this was my first attempt at creating it. After several false starts and errors, I have an active culture that is able to produce consistent loaves.

— Senior Developer Charles Askew

Gaming with friends on Fridays

Throughout these last few months, my friends and I have taken the opportunity to get together weekly and explore the Forgotten Realms. Using Roll20.net, an online platform for RPG gaming, we have embarked on an expansive Dungeons & Dragons 5E campaign. These weekly Friday night sessions have allowed us to catch up with one another, have a few drinks, and challenge ourselves with a fun quest or two. It has become a great wind-down from the work week and a great escape from the reality of the moment. And for those knowledgeable enough to wonder, my personal character is a fifth- level college of lore bard named Braddock.

— Senior Designer Jason Andrews

Playing trivia, video games and reading for fun

My pandemic pastime is more of a mishmash of different hobbies. In lieu of hanging with family and friends in person, we have found virtual ways to connect through online trivia and video games – Mario Kart 8, anyone? I have also been chipping away at my reading list much faster than in pre-pandemic times. I just finished “Where the Crawdads Sing,” and now I’m reading “How to Be an Antiracist” with the Arketi team.

— Account Executive Lauren Bovard

Catching up on TV

With so many networks and streaming services available, I feel like I've fallen behind on a lot of good TV - so I've been catching up on some shows I've missed. Among my faves: The Morning Show, The Night Of and House of Lies. Of course, I've also revisited The Office for the umpteenth time.

— Senior Account Executive Karsten Burgstahler

Growing veggies and fruits and herbs, oh my!

This spring, I started a vegetable garden. It’s small: just three raised beds. I decided to grow only things I really like to eat and aren’t a lot of work – which makes for an odd mix. There’s rhubarb, arugula, gooseberries, blueberries, fennel, melons, radicchio, peas and parsnips.

And asparagus. Oh asparagus, you are a cruel mistress! Even for someone who loves asparagus as much as I do, it’s a heartbreaker. For a start, it’s a commitment: only in the third year can you actually start cutting some to eat. And it’s finicky. Asparagus “crowns” – which look like a dried octopus but without the charm – require to be planted just so, in a deep hole, but raised on a mound of dirt, with just the right amount of sand and plenty of manure. It’s an undertaking. Asparagus won’t tolerate any other plant sharing the bed with it. And it needs lots of water, but not too much – of the ten crowns I planted this spring, I lost six in the first month by not paying attention to moisture levels.

But it’s pretty clear I’m hooked. I’m already planning two additional beds, where I can try some different asparagus varieties next year. Meanwhile, if you want me, I’ll be playing in the dirt.

— Principal Rory Carlton

Memorizing Disney movie lyrics

Being quarantined with two kids and an active Disney+ subscription, my knowledge of Disney song lyrics has reached an all-time high. Whether Moana, Frozen, Frozen 2, Tangled – the list goes on – I can now sing any and every part. Give me another month in this environment and I’m sure I’ll progress into being able to recite the full scripts (I’m close). For the curious, Moana’s “Shiny” and Frozen 2’s “When I’m Older” are where it’s at.

— Account Supervisor Dan Earle

Becoming a proud book worm

I’ve always loved reading for fun but had fallen out of practice with it. Turns out being stuck at home is great for tackling all the books you’ve been “meaning to get to!” I’ve read 23 books this year and figured out I read best when different types of books are in the mix: usually a serious option, a light-hearted rom com, a memoir (usually an audiobook) and a thriller.

— Account Executive Elizabeth Edel

Testing & tasting new recipes

Like a lot of people, I’ve rediscovered the joy of cooking. From paella and grilled pizza to roasted chicken and blueberry skillet cobbler, I’m testing new recipes and loving the delicious results. Watch out, Ina Garten!

In all seriousness, I’m very thankful to have the time and resources to cook nourishing meals for my little family. This has been a bright spot in an otherwise trying time.

— Director of Media Relations and Account Director Erica England

Global supply chain leader CHEP taps Arketi to lead PR efforts

CHEP, a supply chain pallets and containers company that brings more goods to more people, has selected Arketi Group to drive forward its brand-building PR programs and strategies. Since partnering, Arketi has strategically positioned CHEP in the public’s eye, with a specific focus on its Zero Waste World program, which focuses on eliminating physical waste, eradicating empty transport miles and cutting out process inefficiencies in the supply chain.

Gardening, fresh air and sunshine

During quarantine, I have been gardening. Some of my plants died after last winter, so I have been working on growing (no pun intended) my collection. It’s been great to get some fresh air and sunshine, and I’ve loved learning more about how to help my plants grow and thrive.

— Account Coordinator Lauren Gandy

Backpacking through the Southeast

I have been very fortunate throughout the pandemic to have a hobby with built-in social distancing: backpacking. This summer, my girlfriend and I visited some more secluded areas and trails in the Southeast. It was exciting to backpack a little closer to home and experience all the best mountains Georgia has to offer. We often hike between 15-20 miles each trip, so it has been great exercise and a good, safe way to get out of the house for a while.

— Account Executive Jacob Hamilton

Live streaming and chatting with friends

A lot of what’s been keeping me sane over these past few months has been the ability to maintain a feeling of social interaction through voice chat and live streaming apps with friends. Discord and Twitch have offered great ways to stay connected, play games or watch movies together, and even share in some live virtual events. I’ve also discovered an interest and appreciation for yoga and am pursuing my own musical endeavors again.

— Web Developer Adam Garner

Breathing new life into vintage sportscar

Needing something to focus on other than the ongoing bad news, I decided to make a stronger effort to complete the world’s longest sportscar restoration project. So, with tools in hand, a re-energized spirit and a renewed hatred for everything Lucas, I tackled bringing my 1972 Triumph TR6 back to life. I’m confident I’ll soon be able to feel the open-air fun of maneuvering twisty mountain roads. Oh, and curse whatever auto part has decided to fail 50 miles from civilization. For above all, I remain a realist when it comes to English sportscars!

— Vice President and Practice Director, Lead Nurturing, Micky Long

Podcasting and walking – the perfect pair

My pandemic pastime has been podcasts! I never really listened to podcasts in the past, but I started getting into the habit when I began adding a daily walk into my quarantine routine. I’ve really enjoyed walking around my neighborhood listening to different podcasts each day – it’s a great way to keep your mind and body active at the same time! And when I’m not in the mood to have any active body or mind, my favorite pandemic pastime becomes TikTok.

— Senior Account Manager Catherine Mootz

Making time for daily creativity

One thing I always have tried to make time for that often gets pushed aside is personal creative projects. I have used the extra time at home as an opportunity to dive back into my roots. My goal is to produce one piece of creative work a day. It could be a sketch in a notebook or learning how to sew a new toy for my cat. Creating for yourself can be very cathartic.

— Creative Director David Moscati

Becoming more bendy with yoga

Yoga man, yoga! I never thought I would get into this, but COVID-19 gave me the time to think and then act differently. I’m still not super bendy but thanks to my yoga guru at Man Flow Yoga, learning and practicing strength-focused yoga has been exciting – so far! Namaste by the way.

— CEO Mike Neumeier, APR

Finding new appreciation for music

I have my mind on my music and my music on my mind. From jazz to Jay Z, my Pandora stations have it covered. With the work-from-home schedule and not driving or riding in my car much, I’ve been listening to music on morning walks or in the house on Saturday mornings. I also have taken up a new pastime of researching and learning lyrics to some of the my old faves and new tunes I’ve added to my rotation.

It’s a savage new hobby. Or make that, classy, bougie, ratchet!

— Vice President Jacqueline Parker

Most Georgia technology leaders have return-to-the-office plans underway

According to the Tech Executive Reopen Ready Report, 81% of companies that switched to a work-from-home model during the start of the coronavirus pandemic are making plans for bringing employees back to the office. The survey of these leaders revealed that, while most companies will require wearing masks, less than one-third will implement COVID-19 testing.

Enjoying clutter-free crib

One of my 2020 New Year's resolutions was to de-clutter my life and focus on what makes me happy. However, the pandemic had other plans to re-clutter my life, so instead, I decided to de-clutter my space.

Each week I tackle a new area of the apartment. Last week, I deep cleaned my closet and took three trash bags full of clothing to a donation center. This week, I plan to organize the laundry room. Tidying up different areas of the house gives me a sense of accomplishment ‒ not to mention a solid workout.

— Account Specialist Kaylee Sims

Trying to sell a house

None of you will envy my pastime of trying to keep my house “show-ready” while working from home with two rambunctious dogs underfoot. And with two displaced college students in the house.

Dishes in the sink? Never. Beds unmade? Unheard of. I am trying to sell my house and potential buyers want to see it during work hours: the nerve! And while inventory and mortgage rates are low, those in the market for a house in an award-winning school district want me to hang the moon. So, guess I need to search for a more rewarding hobby … anyone looking for a house in suburban Atlanta?

— Senior Content Creator Traci Scherr

Snuggling with pandemic puppy

My pandemic pastime has been learning how to be a dog mom! We rescued a puppy about a month ago, and everything since has been all about her. Her name is Eloise, but we call her Ellie. So far, she can sit, shake, and lie down. It’s been an adjustment for everyone, but she makes us laugh and keeps us on our toes. Looking forward to many more puppy snuggles with our new girl!

— Graphic Designer Taylor Stalling

Turning into a Marvel movie aficionado

After realizing we (me and girlfriend) were going to be confined at home, we decided to go on the ultimate movie marathon, watching every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie from start to finish. By watching one movie every night, we completed the marathon in just under a month. It may not be the most productive hobby to pick up in quarantine, but it was fun, nevertheless.

— Account Specialist Grant Tucker

Learning about fine feathered friends

The family and I have taken up bird watching, with the help of our new Droll Yankees Flipper bird feeder. Not only are we having fun learning to identify all the birds in the neighborhood – from cardinals and brown thrashers (Georgia’s state bird) to woodpeckers and American goldfinches – but we also enjoy an occasional show, thanks to our backyard squirrels looking for a free meal.

— Vice President Star VanderHaar

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