Corinne | Wānaka, Otago

“For quarantine, we were in lockdown and my friend Bella was kind enough to have me live with her for the full time, because my house was quite small, and so we kind of locked down together, and had fun.

First of all, we thought that it was very important to have a routine, and to actually wake up in the morning and go to bed early. It kind of helped with mental health and staying happy and active. So we did a bit of yoga, a lot of walking. I would go mountain biking on my own, because she couldn’t come with me, because she was hurt, but we also ordered the My Food Bags, that are already organised for the week, so then we didn’t have to think about meals. We had fun cooking the meals. We baked scones. Perfected the scones baking technique. Read a lot of books, especially your psychology books and kind of humanitarian books, and kind of philosophical things to get thinking about life, and what’s important and the right values and stuff. We also had quiz nights every week with her family, which was fun. We also had a little bit of work to do from home, but that’s a tiny part of it.

It’s definitely important to have kindness in the community or between each other. I think staying closed on yourself and either being negative or not being open to the world kind of creates a lot of darkness within you. I think happiness is a lot more fun than negativity. So if you smile at someone down the street your day is a lot better than not. I’m from Montreal, and when you walk in the city in Montreal, no-one says hi. The first week I got here in New Zealand I went and did Roys Peak, and everybody says, gidday mate. And everybody’s smiles to each other, and that’s not something I’m used to, and it’s fun. It forces you to smile, so you just feel better. I think that small act of kindness that’s quite important.

I grew up in Montreal, Canada in the city. I have a brother and a sister and lived with them until the age of 17, and then I was on my own, had a partner for a while, and lived with him for about eight years, and kind of grew in the outdoors, worked in summer camps and loved being outside and being in nature. So that went on into my career. I currently work at an outdoor store in retail. I just love giving that passion out, and teaching other people about that passion. I’m skiing and mountain biking now. 

Selfishly I value my mental health, but to be able to keep that mental health, I value my friends and my family, and trust and honesty, being genuine. I say this, and I’m not necessarily the perfect image of it, but I work on it every day, and I think that’s a part of the journey. 

It’s just important to talk about it. Like autism as much as depression, I think it’s important not to be shy. It happens to almost everyone. I think four out of five adults experience it. It happened to me at quite a young age, and I’ve been going through it and you just work with it. You just have to know that it’s a lifetime of work. You just have to stay positive, and when you’re going down, just know to reach out and to get help and to cope with what helps you.

Unfortunately my sister is now 15,000 miles away from me, but anytime I can call her in the middle of the night. I can call her anytime and she’s going to listen. I never feel judged by my sister. She has not gone through mental health issues herself, but she’s been going through it with me, and other members of my family, and she might not understand it, but she is the most amazing person in the world. She’s just loving and kind and accepting, and she never judges me, and I think that’s the most important part. I never feel like I need to refrain from telling her something. She always listens, and accepts it and helps me the way that she can.”

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