Queer Kiwis Surviving Self-Isolation: Matt Holster

    Mr Bear New Zealand 2019 Matt Holster

    ‘Bear in the window’ Matt Holster is enjoying the last week of Level 4 in Christchurch; sipping rosé, taking ‘multivitamins’ and still wearing that sash!

    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?
    After Wellington pride, I flew to Christchurch to take part in their pride season. Level 4 isolation started halfway through their programme of 55 events over 10 days, which also meant I didn’t get home to Tauranga.
    Fortunately, I am isolating in the beautiful area of Lyttelton with two wonderful members of our community, Andrew & Glen, and their adorable pups Toby & Molly.
    To maintain my mental wellness, I am continuing my daily dose of “mental health multivitamins” – aka Sertraline and Buproprion. And trying to balance my isolation comfort calories with daily exercise including walks outside with the dogs, group-fitness via Zoom and making sure I associate with people who are making the most of this experience to focus on body/mind & soul. Oh and getting sunshine when it’s out and having a Friday tipple via group video help to keep things sane!

    What are your top tips for express readers who are struggling with self-isolation?
    Hmmm, I hate to be clichéd though the phrase “healthy body, healthy mind” would be a starting point, I would also temper it with, “be gentle with yourself.” By that, I mean try to eat well, get fresh air, ensure regular sleep while also acknowledging that these are extraordinary times that are hard and challenging. It’s okay for things to not be okay. Keep in touch with people, video calls are a lifeline and personally I would definitely encourage allocating a day and or a block of time each day when you switch off all media. Being saturated with COVID-19 news is draining, so a media detox can be a welcome relief. Remember, we are all in this together, you are not alone, reach out if you are struggling – many would appreciate hearing from you too!

    What is the most positive aspect of self-isolation you’ve experienced so far?

    Getting reacquainted and comfortable with the idea of slowing down and taking time to appreciate simpler pleasures. I really appreciate the way people are reaching out and connecting.

    What plans do you have between now and day 28 of lockdown?
    Currently, the plans are aiming for a walk every day, rain or shine (hopefully shine), more gardening and trying to get into a habit of drinking more water.

    What are you missing most about ‘normal life’?
    The ability to spontaneously go out and being able to make the most of those attractive casual connections that sometimes pop up.
    Being able to get a 6 pack of wine is a distant memory (though handy tip, rosé comes in a cask these days, so even with a limit of 4, you’ll have plenty of supply. And before you judge, don’t knock it until you try it – I recommend the Yalumba Rosé).
    Oh, and being able to have takeout!

    What will be the first thing that you can’t wait to do when regular life resumes?
    Group picnics and swims at the beach, starting with hugs to those I love.

    Moving forward is there anything you think you will change about your life following self-isolation?
    I will be trying to continue to focus on simple pleasures. Being comfortable at a slower pace and trying to keep the practice of blocking time in my day to touch base with old friends.

    Is there a closing message you would like to share with our gorgeous LGBTI+ community?
    Don’t forget to wash your hands! While we may be physically isolated individuals, we are not alone. Block out the negative Nancy’s and focus on the opportunity this brings for positive growth as individuals and as a community.
    Please send us a pic of you in self-isolation to include with your answers!
    The Pic is of me taking part in the great NZ bear hunt… As a bear in the window.