This article is part of Hive’s Mental Health Week initiative. To celebrate World Mental Health Day on October 10th, we’re hosting a panel all about mental health at work. To compliment that panel, we’re releasing articles throughout the week about mental health in an effort to open and improve dialogue around mental health.
In 7 Hours With, we explore the routines of leading professionals in their space to learn the when, why, where and how they work. In each diary, we will look at what they’re doing at seven different check-ins throughout their day. Jenna Sands is the co-founder and COO of HelloWellness, a fitness and lifestyle brand for women. This is a special edition of our series to celebrate Hive’s Mental Health Week.
My day starts around 7:00 AM. I wake up and almost always work out. I love a routine. That’s where I thrive — so I love to have the same schedule almost every day. I would say that is the key to my, and my co-founder Sarah’s, success (read all about Sarah’s 7 Hours With here). Recently, Sarah and I have decided that we’re not going to start work, i.e. take meetings or calls, until 10:30 every day. There are obviously a million emails that come in before 8:00 AM, and some of them need to be responded to promptly, which is fine. But we really draw the line at phone calls before 10:30. It gives me the first half of the morning to take care of personal priorities, whether that’s working out, getting errands done, or finally doing things that I have been putting off.
For more background on my exact role at HelloWellness, I’m the co-founder and COO — Sarah Casden is our CEO. I do more of the day to day operations of the company, which includes organizing event logistics or putting out fires! Fires come hand-in-hand with events, which we do a lot of. Our company is all about bringing people together for events around health and wellness — people pay between $35 and $50 for an event, depending on what the activity is, but our events never go over $50. We want to keep it really affordable and approachable for most people in New York. And of course if the ticket price is an issue, we have a scholarship program as well where we offer free tickets.
After I’ve worked out, I’ll come home and do errands — which could be anything ranging from dropping off dry cleaning to going to the grocery store. But personally, I think anything done at or around 9 AM is a win, and very ideal. Yesterday I actually went grocery shopping at 8:30 in the morning and it was amazing.
I like to get this stuff done in the morning because we work from our home office at Sarah’s apartment a lot, and she has the flexibility of being home and doing chores during a wider range of hours. But I don’t have the same ability to do basic maintenance during the day — no one wants to do meal prep or laundry at 10 PM. So for me, I just personally like to like do my errands in the morning and get all the chores around the apartment done!
I’ll start working at our mandated 10:30 AM time, and today we’re working at Sarah’s aforementioned home office. Today we connect in an hour-long one-on-one meeting right when we get in. It’s interesting, because we’ve actually found that when we schedule our meetings, even if they’re with different people, around the same time, we’re more effective.
So when Sarah has a call, I’ll usually try and schedule one as well around that time, and then we’re free at the same times throughout the day to work on things together. Having a similar schedule also enables us to travel or work remote together. For example, this month we’ve been working remotely out in the Hamptons. We’re actually only in NYC for three days this month. Yesterday, today and tomorrow we’ll be in back-to-back meeting for all three days, to try to get to everything while we’re in the city.
We’ve been trying to take a 30 minute break around this time of day to help improve our mental health. We had a reoccurring calendar meeting that was just time blocked off to walk around the block or leave our phones at home and go do a quick errand. It’s great to take time to be disconnected from the internet, from social media, and from your phone. To be honest, we’ve gotten so busy that this is really hard to do. But we try.
We also eat lunch around this time, usually we’re bringing food from home and having lunch at our computers. I’m big on meal prep and I eat pretty healthy, so I’ll usually do a salad with veggies and protein and fat. But I get bored, so I do try to mix it up! Last week I was doing plant-based lunches, so that was interesting and different.
I’ll still be in meetings around this time of day. Sometimes with Sarah, sometimes without her. It’s crazy how well we work together though. We actually first met when we were a 10 years old at sleep away camp! We were in the same bunk and we had the same group of friends.
And then I actually never went back to camp after that year, but she went back for years and years. We lost touch and hadn’t seen each other for over 12 years, and then we reconnected in New York city a few years ago because we kept running into each other at different workout studios and different salad places. We were on the same wellness train. We realized we had the same interests and passions, and we started hanging out more because we had so much in common — we were much more interested in working out on a Saturday morning than going to a boozy brunch.
The start of HelloWellness was actually something we fell into by accident. We had the idea to host a meet-up to meet one of our favorite food bloggers, and one thing led to the next and the event had 50 people coming into it. And then we did another event. And another one. Finally, after about six months, we realized that it was actually a business and we should start planning further out than one month.
We’ve usually finished up work at around this time, and will head home to eat or go out to grab dinner somewhere. Sarah and I are both obsessed with Westville, which is basically a glorified healthy diner. They have, in my opinion, amazing vegetable options and salad options. They also have a very accommodating menu for Sarah because she’s gluten and dairy free, and they can always like accommodate any type of allergy, which we love.
If I’m cooking, I usually have something meal prepped. I like to prep because it saves me a lot of money, and I also like to know what’s going into my food. With all these like salad places, they could be using something like canola oil in their dressings, which is not necessarily healthy even though it’s part of a salad. So for me personally, I would like to cook myself a lot and know what ingredients are present in my food.
Unlike Sarah, I actually have a really hard time going to sleep early. Usually I’ll try and go to bed at like midnight, but it’s really hard. There’s so much happening with our business and looking into the future, there’s so much coming down the pipeline. One thing we’re working on is giving people a way to connect with each other after they’ve attended events. We’re also working on creating more custom experiences, working with brands to create for them. I love thinking about what else we can offer our community and how else we can push it forward.
Some time around midnight, after mulling over our business and upcoming projects, I’ll fall asleep.