A Cup of Chai with Benita Grimaldi

Meet Benita Grimaldi, the Area Community Lead for Lululemon Aus / NZ. Her role at Community Lead involves identifying opportunities for the company at a store-by-store and region-by region level. 

Tell us where you are currently located and what has been the biggest shift with COVID19 for you? Like a new habit? What are some things you have realized that you don’t really need?

I am currently based in NSW. The biggest shift for me during COVID19 would be not being able to go to the gym every morning. This was a big part of my daily ritual and my connection to my community. I now jump online to virtual classes which has been a fun new experience.

During this time, I’ve found I’ve spent more quality time doing some of the things I love. I’ve spent more time connecting deeply with my family and friends (via video calls) and have picked up my guitar again, which I haven’t played in years.

What do you hope we all learn or take away from this experience?

I’ve noticed that during this time we are becoming more creative and playful. People are painting, learning instruments, playing board games and puzzles. I hope we continue to play like this. I’ve also noticed that I have become more grateful for what I do have. When things are stripped away, I think we can become more in tune with the simple things that can make us happy. I feel like I am more grateful for my morning walk, a smile from a stranger, the lady who makes my coffee; the mundane things that I used to take for granted… those are the things I hope we take away from all of this.

Any tips for dealing with anxiety or uncomfortable feelings?

  1. Create and maintain a routine: Lay your active wear out the night before, set your alarm for the same time every morning and get out for a walk, run or follow an online class to start the day.
  2. Move your body every day: it doesn’t even matter how, just get those endorphins flowing. @lululemonausnz have you covered for online workouts 
  3. Lay off the screen time: I know we are all trying to maintain connection, but having some boundaries will support our mental wellness. At least an hour of screen time before bed always allows me to sleep deeper.
  4. Sleep! I wake up early so I’m always in bed by 9.30pm. For me, any less than 8 hours and I feel that “fight or flight” feeling the next day.
  5. Practice gratitude: rather than focusing on what we don’t have or what we have lost, try to replace those thoughts with what we are glad we have and what we are glad we can do.

What podcast or audiobook are you listening to right now?

I love the Shameless podcast and the Resilience Project audiobook; this is truly relevant during this time as it’s about finding happiness through gratitude, empathy and mindfulness.

If you could be anywhere in the world after the current epidemic, where would that be and what do you want to do there? Who do you want to meet?

Adelaide. My whole family (and my partner’s family) are in Adelaide. My sister has a baby who I can’t wait to cuddle when this is all over.

What’s the most generous act you’ve seen recently?

I heard a story in the news that a bank worker was speaking to an older lady who was trying to sort out her internet banking in order to get her groceries delivered so she didn’t have to leave her house. The bank worker asked what groceries she needed and went to the shops and delivered them to her!

Was there any specific life event that made you decide to do what you are currently doing at Lululemon?

I used to be in a job that I didn’t love and I realised that life is too short (and I was far too young) to be doing something that I didn’t wholeheartedly love. I connected to my core values and non-negotiables to look for a company that felt aligned.

Finish these 3 sentences: 

  1. In the evening before bed I usually..... put my phone away, have a cup of tea and lay out my active wear for the next morning’s workout.
  2. I think we all can.....consider what this time has taught us and implement aspects of it into our lives moving forward. Practices of gratitude, simplicity and slowed pace will definitely be things I’d love to continue.
Prana Chai is.....delicious! I drink it hot in winter and over ice in summer!