Victoria Isolation Diaries: Chantelle Pasychny

Locals share what they’re doing during the COVID-19 pandemic and talk about their worries, habits and hopes.

Chantelle Pasychny, owner of designHouse Salon is isolating at home in Fernwood with her husband Kurtis and their puppy Zulu. 

“Unfortunately, my stepson had gone to his mom’s during spring break, right before all of this,” she says.  “So we really aren’t sure when we will get to see him again. 

She shared with YAM what her new normal looks like.

Chantelle Pasychny, owner of designHouse Salon, marks the 8th anniversary of her salon at the Hudson during the COVID closures.

What has been the biggest change for you since Covid hit?

Closing the doors to both my hair salons. They are empty — no chitter chatter, no sound of blow dryers, no music playing with the sun shining in. [It’s] kind of an eerie feeling. Hairdressers are people people. So for all of us not to have that human connection is a big loss. We no longer have the reward of helping someone look and feel their best. That’s why most of us do what we do. It is that exchange of energy that serves us most. 

What does your typical day look like?

Wake up to Zulu wanting tummy rubs and kisses. He’s just too cute! Talk about timing to have a puppy! Coffee, and then I get to work. My work looks a lot different these days but it’s in my blood to work. Discussing opportunities, ideas,  webinars, running my online store for beauty products and marketing — and then happy hour. I’m not one to sit around. Although it has been nice to slow my days down. I find I’m usually operating at 120 per cent and I’ve been wanting to learn to approach things a little more calmly. 

What are you most worried about?

I’m worried about the unknown new norm. The uncertainty is what keeps me up at night. I am a pretty adaptable person and, let’s face it, being an entrepreneur is always uncertain, but this is different. My business will likely have to operate at half-capacity for a long time after reopening — we won’t be allowed to fill all of our chairs with clients. Nor will we be able to double book. Will we be wearing masks? Gloves? Will I have to put plexiglass between stations and shampoo sinks? How can we afford all the missed rent and expenses at this rate? Will there be a wage subsidy from the government? Not to mention the global economy crashing from all of this. It’s all a lot to think about!

How do you destress?

Hot tub: morning, afternoon or evening, it’s good anytime of day! Gardening: we are so lucky that everything was in bloom during COVID. Nothing makes me feel more grounded than my hands in the dirt, watering the plants and watching them grow. And Zulu! I can’t get enough of puppy love. The sun shining for the past three weeks has been so rejuvenating. We sit in the backyard soaking it up most evenings, chatting with neighbours over the fence. 

What have you been reading/watching/listening to?

I finally replaced my record needle and have been enjoying classic records handed down from my mom. 

Have you rediscovered any hobbies?

I enrolled in guitar lessons just weeks before the closures so I was able to get enough in to learn my chords and now the rest is up to me. It does not come easy to me, but I enjoy the challenge because I really do want to learn. 

Is there anything from this time you hope carries forward when this is over? 

I hope people have a new appreciation for connection with others, kindness and enjoying the little things in life. I know there will be some great technology changes from all this and people’s willingness to adapt and learn how to interact with this technology will change the way we do things. I’m excited to see what that looks like. Also, gratitude for the opportunity to work. 

Let’s not forget to reach out to neighbours, friends, family and acquaintances as we don’t truly know how each other is coping. Just a hello can go a long way.