Behind Apollo Neuro is a team that lives and breathes the mission to empower people to take charge of their mental health and live healthier, happier lives. Though we operate in the world of stress management, we’re certainly not immune to stress ourselves. But we are privileged to have access to the latest science and strategies for staying calm, focused, grounded, and happy. Through a series of Apollo team member highlights, we’ll share a diverse range of perspectives on mental health and wellness.
In a recent conversation with Apollo Neuro’s Marketing Director, Robyn, and her two children, Pi and Bowie, we discussed working and schooling from home full-time over the past year and a half. We talked about the uncertainty of the upcoming school year, the nerves and anxiety tied to in-person interactions, and how to use tools like Apollo to ease the little and big transitions.
What has your parenting experience been like over the past year and a half?
Robyn: This past year has been challenging in a unique way in that there’s no time to transition. As a parent and a working mom, you have two full-time jobs. In the standard world, whether it was a commute, kids at school, or errands, there was time to transition, because you were going from here to there. With work and school from home, there’s no transition time.
When you’re not going ‘here’ to ‘there’, it means that everything is ‘here’. School and work come up at all times. My kids ended the school year spending two days a week in school, so things got a bit better.
What did your day-to-day look like when both kids were schooling from home?
Robyn: My day is juggling between being an employee, the lunch lady, the tutor, and a therapist with very little breaks. In between meetings, sometimes you’d find me comforting one of my kids when they are feeling really overwhelmed.
What was it like doing school from home last year?
Bowie: It was stressful because it was really hard to pay attention in class when it was online. It was really challenging to get the teacher’s attention to ask for help.
Pi: It was a hard adjustment because staying focused when doing school from my room was not easy.
What was the transition like when you started spending time back in school?
Bowie: I was nervous. It was another big change to get used to and I was nervous about making new friends since I started at a new school.
Pi: I felt a little shy. So much had changed over the past year, including myself, that I didn’t feel like myself when I went back to school.
Robyn, with all that going on, how are you able to keep your cool?
Robyn: As I mentioned, the breaks have been fewer and so it has been easy for self-care to take a back seat. So the Apollo device has been essential in giving me the stress-relief care that I need at any time with minimal effort from me. A mom’s dream.
How have you changed this past year?
Bowie: I’ve become more independent. But I have also been so much more anxious and been more easily overwhelmed. Sleep has always been an issue for me but it got a lot worse this year.
It feels good knowing that Apollo is one of my options. I think, “Hey, I can use it to get a good night's sleep and then give me a better mindset in the morning.”
Pi: I adapted to not being with people, so I am more shy. I used to be more talkative but I’m a lot less social now. School was already stressful but I think this past year added a lot more.
When I wear Apollo I feel like my thoughts slow down a little bit more for me so I can think clearer and get more focused.
Did you convince your kids to use Apollo or did they come to you first?
Robyn: My kids were intrigued by Apollo because it’s a new technology, but they didn’t really jump on it until they went back to school. They’re struggling with a different type of anxiety than they have over the past year. For a while, the anxiety was related to not seeing any friends. And online school is SO challenging. But now once they got back to school, they had a lot of anxiety.
One day before going back to in-person school, my son said “Hey mom, do you think I could use Apollo to go to school? Hopefully it’ll help focus with classes.” And he came running into the house after school and said “It worked! Look at all my notes!” So now he wears it two days a week all day at school.
My daughter has sleep issues that are related to anxiety about going back to school. She’s a skeptic, so I approached her with the idea of using Apollo. She pretty quickly said “it’s not going to work.” But one night she was having a really hard time and had been awake for over an hour and she was really frustrated that she couldn’t go back to sleep. I offered her the Apollo and within five minutes she was back to sleep. So that was enough to convince her that it helps.
How do you use Apollo throughout your day?
Robyn: As a mom, I use Apollo in the morning to get up — I typically do Energy and Wake Up at 60% for five minutes. After I workout, I use Rebuild and Recover for 5-10 minutes. Throughout meetings and work, I vary between Social and Open and Clear and Focused depending on the tasks at hand. After work, I really like Relax and Unwind. It helps with the overwhelm of so many tasks transitioning from work to mom.
For what we’ve had to go through in terms of being home alone, both my kids have gone through a lot of anxiety throughout the year, and it’s really nice to know we can all see and feel a tangible difference with Apollo.