Kiwis in Level 4 Lockdown: Karen Ritchie

    Karen Ritchie (right) pictured with fellow community stalwart, Apa Temata.
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    Express talks to notable members of our LGBTQ+ community to find out how they are doing in Level 4 Lockdown and hear their tips for maintaining mental health in self-isolation. Today we chat with the founding Director of Cartier Bereavement Trust Karen Ritchie.

    Tell us about your Level 4 Lockdown – where are you and who is in your bubble?

    I live alone with my cat. Level 4 Lockdown is better to handle than 2020, I understand it better. Two weeks before the 2020 Lockdown, I moved house. I didn’t know anyone and found I was starting to feel really anxious. Rang my Dr ended up on pills for anxiety. On reflection, we were all going through the unknown. This year I have a great neighbor and we share our bubble.

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    What are you doing to keep your mental health in check?

    I think it’s important to keep some sort of routine in our life, having structure and normality in your day can help lower stress levels and give you a greater sense of control. For me, it’s get up morning have breakfast, shower and plan some of my day with chores, and go for a little walk when I can. To sit around doing nothing only leaves the door open for depression and anxiety to set in.

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

    Having time to face chat with family and friends, and catch up on mundane things at home that one tends to put aside for another day, and that day never arrives lol.

    What plans do you have between now and the end of lockdown?

    To stay on top of this, because we can.

    What are you missing about normal life?

    I’m a person that likes to hug, so I do miss giving friends and family hugs, especially my grandchildren.

    What will be the first thing that you can’t wait to do when regular life resumes?

    To be physically close with family and friends, having a few drinks and laughs.

    Is there a closing message you would like to share with our LGBTQI+ community? 

    Have a check-in buddy or two, whether it’s someone in your house or face time, share how you are feeling.  Reach out you’re not alone, we are all in this together and we will get through it, believe in yourself, love yourself. You’ve got this, we’ve got this. Big virtual love and hugs to you all.

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