"Even though our mental state was also ebbing and flowing, we did have an awareness of, we don't always get this much time together," Alison Brie tells PEOPLE of quarantining with her husband
Alison Brie Dave Franco
Alison Brie and Dave Franco
| Credit: George Pimentel/WireImage

Alison Brie is grateful for the time spent with husband Dave Franco while isolating together amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Like so many, Brie, 38, has had mixed emotions about her quarantine experience, recalling the early months of when the stay-at-homes orders were first issued in the country at the height of the virus spread last spring.

"It all really ebbed and flowed, I guess, because none of us knew how long it was going to last," the GLOW actress tells PEOPLE, while promoting her partnership with Planet Oat and nonprofit One Tree Planted for their Earth Day initiative. "Dave and I went through the first couple months in party mode, thinking we're on vacation — let's drink wine, let's make a lot of pasta. And then we like, it's going on for longer, so let's go into culinary experimental mode where we're trying to make new dishes and things like that."

She continues, "And then we got into health mode, and then we also were in creative mode, and we were doing a lot of writing together ... So, I mean, I think we feel closer than ever."

Alison brie
Alison Brie planting a tree as part of the Planet Oat Project to support reforestation in honor of Earth Day in Malibu, CA.
| Credit: Jeff Lewis/Invision for Planet Oat

The Mad Men star goes on to say that while the idea of stay-at-home orders initially took some getting used to, she eventually cherished the downtime she was able to share with Franco — something the two don't get to do too often due to their busy Hollywood schedules.

"We feel really bonded, and we just an amazing year getting time together to hang out," she says, adding, "There were also a lot of really hard things going on in our country, and it was also a really reflective time and a time to learn and hopefully grow in different ways. I guess I'm glad that we were able to be grateful for the time while we had it."

Brie continues: "Even though our mental state was also ebbing and flowing, we did have an awareness of, we don't always get this much time together, so let's really try to enjoy one another and read stuff and learn, and also chill and give ourselves a break."

"I do think it gave us some perspective too, just the way that we were prioritizing work before and moving so, so quickly," the Promising Young Woman actress says. "We probably will get back to that state, but right now, it feels we're easing back in, being like, 'Okay, we don't have to do everything.' We can decide the important things."

Dave Franco, Alison Brie
Franco and Brie at the drive-in premiere of The Rental
| Credit: Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Franco, 35, and Brie announced their engagement in August 2015 after more than three years of dating and tied the knot in March 2017 in a private ceremony.

Last year, the actress opened up to PEOPLE about working alongside her husband for their thriller, The Rental, and how much she also loved writing with him amid the pandemic.

"I enjoyed watching him work with everybody and seeing the crew fall in love with him because he was so collaborative and so passionate," Brie said at the time of working with Franco, who directed the film. "His enthusiasm on set is infectious and it made me fall in love with him all over again."

She added, "We've been writing together and actually wrote a rom-com script for Dave to direct and me to star in. It's been a really great creative outlet for us and a way to feel productive during this time."

In addition to writing with Franco in quarantine, the at-home time also allowed for the actress to focus on her "health mode," turning her love of oat milk into a way to help the environment — something she cares deeply about.

Alison brie
Credit: Jeff Lewis/Invision for Planet Oat

By teaming up with team Planet Oat and nonprofit One Tree Planted for their Earth Day initiative, the actress is able to bring awareness to the nature organization's cause of promoting healthy land and air.

"Over this year of COVID, it has really felt like the world is on fire ... emotionally and politically and then quite literally, most of California was really devastated in the wildfires ... you read things about climate change and global warming, and we seem to be on this very dangerous trajectory," says the Planet Oat project ambassador. "So to have a tangible solution to that — working with One Tree Planted."

The April initiative, which Brie took part in herself, encourages people to get outside and get their hands dirty by helping plant trees in their own neighborhoods through the organization's local tree planting events.

"It feels really good, a really good way to give back and in a way that you can actually see and experience," she says.