How the Yak Pak is expressing our gratitude this Thanksgiving
In the midst of so much change and uncertainty in the world, we wanted to take a step back to refocus and express our gratitude this Thanksgiving. Did you know that gratitude has lasting positive effects on the brain and can contribute to good physical and mental health? Feeling thankful can help combat anxiety, help us leave negative emotions behind and nurture empathy and kindness. We encourage you to take a few moments to focus on and acknowledge the things you’re grateful for. Here are some things our team is thankful for this holiday season.
Friends, Family and Partners
It goes without saying that family and friends, whether we’re able to see them in person or not, have helped make the pandemic bearable. Either at home or from a distance, reaching out to those we care about this year has been a source of comfort. More than a few members of the Yak Pak live states (or countries) away from their families. Content Strategist Heather Budimulia explains that the past seven years living apart from her family have helped prepare her for the pandemic quarantine, especially with managing long-distance relationships and developing a strong support system she can rely on.
Maribel Leddy, an associate content strategist whose family lives in New York, was able to spend a few months of quarantine at her parents’ house. Maribel explains, “Never before has being close to people been so important, and being able to live at home with other people—rather than in my lonely studio apartment—during the peak months of quarantine was a lifesaver for my mental health.”
Associate Content Strategist Morgan Gallas also expresses gratitude at having others close by this year. “I’m thankful for a partner who has managed to make me laugh even when it doesn’t feel possible. He’s able to change the mood from dread to hopeful and help carry the burden of heavy topics,” Morgan says.
Having a job—and the security it provides—is also something to be thankful for this year. At Yakkety Yak, we’re thankful our business has not only withstood the pandemic but also had the opportunity to grow. Since lockdown began in March, we’ve added six new faces to our team video calls. Digital Analyst Sean Brady and Web Developer Alex Tarasiewicz, who both joined the team in the months since lockdown, are thankful to have found a new job during this difficult time. Sean adds, “I’m thankful I can move forward and feel somewhat secure, despite all this.”
With so many people around the world out of work, we’re also thankful we’re able to do work for clients whose missions we believe in—like Cara Chicago, a nonprofit focused on community transformation that helps people confront and surpass barriers to employment to start successful careers.
If you’re able to work remotely during the pandemic, that’s something to be grateful for. Baltazar Rosiles, our senior art director, is “thankful that I have a job and not only that, a job that allows me to work from home.” At Yakkety Yak, we had a successful transition to remote work in mid-March, just ahead of the official Chicago work-from-home order, and we adapted quickly—designing eye-catching websites and creating engaging content and marketing campaigns from our living rooms and home offices.
While we miss spending time together in the office, we appreciate the luxury of being able to work from home. Not having a commute for the past few months has given us more time to spend with our families or to devote to our hobbies or exercise while also keeping us safely quarantined. “I’m thankful that I’m able to work from home, so I can keep both my family and others safe and healthy,” explains Content Editor Abby Callard.
Technology that Keeps Us Connected
While reliance on technology can sometimes feel like a double-edged sword, we’re glad we have ways to stay connected, whether chatting with family and friends on video calls, spending time together playing games online or exchanging texts with people we care about. Content Director Andi Summers is thankful for platforms like Facetime and Zoom. “Being able to see others when we’re far apart is so helpful right now,” Andi explains. “We can’t pretend it’s all fine—it’s not, and it’s nice to have people you can complain to about it.”
From cooking together over a video call to playing games on the House Party app, we’ve all had to search for ways to “hang out” virtually. Account Manager Bryana Holcomb adds, “I feel thankful for the push to be creative in the way I interact with my family and friends. This year has made moments more special than before, and we’ve really gone out of our way to find ways to stay connected and bond.” The same goes for our work social events, where we’ve had the opportunity to get creative with trivia, happy hours and team brainstorming sessions.
Since heading into remote work this past spring, our team has found ways to support each other from a distance. From weekly check-ins and virtual happy hours to collaborating on projects and brainstorms, we’re still working together and staying connected. With many of our team members living away from family, we’re thankful to work in a supportive environment where kindness, creativity and taking care of mental health are highly encouraged.
On the importance of surrounding yourself with great people, VP of Accounts Warren Legner says, “My family, close friends and coworkers have all made this pandemic pretty bearable, and I know some folks don’t have that network, so I am grateful for that.” Content Editor Heather Hobbs is also grateful to work so closely with people who are supportive, helpful and good at what they do. “It’s important, especially now, to feel valued and trusted by the people you’re working with,” she says.
The Little Things
As our day-to-day lives have shifted, we’re grateful for the little things that have helped us feel more normal—or at least more prepared to confront our daily challenges—by providing a pleasant distraction from reality. Here are a few of the little things our teams credit with helping us get through the pandemic.
For Video Producer Sean Froelich, playing Rocket League online with his siblings, nieces and nephews has helped him get to know them better and given him an avenue to share his video gaming expertise with the next generation.
UX/UI Designer Cesar Molina has made the most of his time in quarantine with hikes and morning runs in sunny Arizona and weekly date nights with his hubby. He is also thankful for J.R.R. Tolkien’s books because “they provide a nice escape into fantasyland and are a fun and easy read.” Alex, too, has been grateful for the time to read.
Heather Hobbs is thankful for her pandemic dog Daisy, not only for giving her comfort and a distraction during these unusual times but also a reason to take multiple daily walks.
Our Team at Yakkety Yak is all about being there for each other and for our clients during these times. Contact us today if you’re looking for a full-service digital marketing agency to help with strategy, design or content creation.