bojana sentaler
Photo by Kourosh Keshiri. Design by Kayleen Dicuangco.

Self-Isolation Diary: A Day in the Life of Bojana Sentaler

"As in any situation, I always stay positive and try to make the best of it. I am thankful that I get to spend this time with my family."

As people around the country enter their fourth week of self-isolation, FASHION is reaching out to some of our favourite Canadians to get a peek into how they’re living their lives in lockdown (remember: #StayAtHomeSaveLives). Each week, keep an eye out for new self-isolation diaries from actors, designers, athletes and artists who are riding this uncertain time out with us.

Bojana Sentaler, designer

I am now in week four of being in official self-isolation at home, but I began social distancing in early March. As the president of SENTALER, I have responsibility towards many parties so I took precautions for my team and my own wellbeing very seriously and very early on in preparation of what we would experience in the weeks to come. We closed our office and our showroom early in March and have been working from home since then.
Week one of self-isolation was chaotic with no structure and no answers for the unknown I was hit with. This pandemic essentially changed all of the plans and projections we had made for 2020 for my company. On top of work, I was also catering to my 3-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter who were on March Break and so full of energy and excitement to do ‘fun things’. While trying to keep them occupied, I was constantly following the news and trying to get answers on the uncertainty we were all facing.
I was working around the clock on forecasting how this current situation would impact the business and what immediate actions I needed to take to minimize that impact. It was a time when quick decisions needed to be made and when everything I had planned for needed to be immediately changed, all while staying positive and optimistic for my team, who were following my lead. We would get on FaceTime calls daily and I would present an idea to them and then halfway through the conversation, I would say ‘no, let’s dump that.’ It was one of the hardest times for decision-making in my career as it was impossible to do any kind of realistic forecasting with the rapidly changing external environment. But my team and I got through that first week. We all worked very hard to move fast and make necessary changes to minimize the impact on the business. I am very proud and thankful for their loyalty and support. I understand that all of us are facing uncertainty, so their work ethic has meant a lot to me.

Week two came fast and this is when I started to develop my new daily routine. In the morning before the kids wake up, I read BoF and WWD to get an update on the changes in the global fashion industry. Then I have my first coffee and breakfast with my husband and kids at 8.30am while trying to figure out what we can do to make the kids’ day more fun, since we both have to work from home. My daughter’s ballet and gymnastics classes have been canceled, as have my son’s swimming classes, so my husband ordered gym mats on Amazon and we set them up in our living room so that the kids can stay active and have fun while we both work. They jump from the couch to the mats pretending it’s a swimming pool, they dance, and they play.

During lunch time, I use the mats to work out. I try to do any form of physical activity since my training sessions have been canceled. The kids and I have fun playing freeze and follow-the-leader. My daughter has done so many cartwheels in the house that when I call her now, she cartwheels her way into my room.
From 9am to 6pm I work in my home office. Throughout the day, the kids come in to show me their drawings, what they made or what they did. I am very thankful for these moments as it is a rare time in my life when I get to see so much of them throughout the day. My daughter said that the best part about the current situation is that I don’t have to travel for work and that I am staying home every day with the family.

My favourite time of the day is 6pm when I stop working and dedicate my time to my family. We have family dinner together every evening (with a glass of good wine, of course!). I use this time to teach my kids to communicate effectively and to voice their opinion on the current topic we are discussing, with reasoning behind their way of thinking. Although I am constantly thinking about the current global situation and what the future will be like, I really try not to bring this strain to the kids, so I make a conscious effort to joke around and laugh and be fully present in the moment with them. After dinner, we’ll do a movie night or have a dance party or chase each other around the house or FaceTime the grandparents, cousins and friends.
After the kids go to bed, evenings are dedicated to reading and investing in myself as much as I can. It is rare for me to have this time to sit back and reflect on everything. Other than staying home, I am constantly trying to seek other ways that my family and my company can contribute to helping our community and our country.

SENTALER has partnered with Sunnybrook Foundation to help raise awareness and funds in support of the COVID-19 Research Response Fund. We also initiated the lead in the Canadian fashion industry on the #IStayHomeFor campaign on Instagram. It was a great way to spread the message and for our industry to connect on something we are all facing together, while we are apart. No gesture is too small as everyone’s contribution counts. The way that I see it, the sooner we all take responsibility in doing our part, the sooner this will end, and we will all be able to leave our homes. I am also very aware that things will never go back to exactly the way they used to be. The old ‘normal’ will be something from the past and we will create a ‘new normal’ based on the learnings and experiences we go through during this global crisis. So much is going to change and the sooner everyone realizes this, the higher of a chance they will have at being happy as well as succeeding in the end.
Week three. I am getting used to this new state and getting prepared to stay in isolation for a longer period of time. It looks like it could be months. My 3-year-old son and I gave my husband a haircut a few days ago. I have also started cooking more, which I am learning to enjoy. I am spending time going through my daughter’s Grade 1 curriculum and trying to figure out how to fit in my support for her daily online classes with her teacher. As in any situation, I always stay positive and try to make the best of it. I am thankful that I get to spend this time with my family. I am also aware that many frontline workers do not have the option to stay home with their family now. I have so much empathy for them and respect everything they are doing for us.

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