Christchurch Pride Committee Member and Trans Advocate, the ultra-glamorous Joanne Neilson tells us she is missing her Salon clients, but loving the challenge of home yoga.

Tell us about your Level 4 Lockdown – where are you? Who’s in your bubble? And what are you doing to keep your mental health in check?
We are at home, my husband Cia our two fur babies and I. On the night before the lockdown we talked about what we wanted to achieve during the isolation period. So we have a list of DIY jobs to complete and I have taken up Yoga, which is much harder than I thought it would be. Having a focus is important I believe.

What are your top tips for express readers who are struggling with self-isolation?
Be kind to yourself. Read a book or ten! Try and limit social media there is a lot of repetitive posts about COVID 19 and I think that can be anxiety-inducing. Go for a walk and try something new, a recipe may be or do some baking and of course, stay in touch with friends and family. This will pass!


What is the most positive aspect of self-isolation you’ve experienced so far?
Actually I am enjoying the chance to try Yoga in the privacy of my home. Cia has done it for years so he is helping and it is good to try something new with someone. And we are enjoying being together without all the invasions of everyday life.

What plans do you have between now and day 28 of lockdown?
More renovations. My husband is an active relaxer so painting the ceiling in the lounge and kitchen and the back decking if the weather plays ball. Eat well and be kind to each other. We survived Week One and if things go as well as they have, I think we will get a lot of jobs finished and have a lovely home to live in, so when we get back to work we will enjoy our weekends, instead of working out what we need to get done on a Sunday.

What are you missing most about ‘normal life’?
I am actually missing my clients from my hair salon, I love my customers and my old girls especially. I become involved in their lives so they are part of my extended whanau.

What will be the first thing that you can’t wait to do when regular life resumes?
Have a dinner party with my friends and find out how everyone has got on.

Moving forward is there anything you think you will change about your life following self-isolation?
We have a lot of “stuff” so being mindful about “do I really need those extra things?” –  I probably don’t!

Is there a closing message you would like to share with our gorgeous LGBTI+ community?
Christchurch has been through a lot as a community with the earthquakes etc and of course, the COVID 19 outbreak affected the last week of our Pride Week celebrations. So to my community I say Kia Kaha Whanau stay strong we will get through this and you can bet we will have some great events in the future. Arohanui, Jo xx