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Mental Health

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On depression and sunshine

Wildflowers in Valley Spring, Texas. Photos: Summer Anne Burton

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When veganism is seen as just another diet fad, it benefits no one

A painting of a gray bunny rabbit next to a red brick wall, chewing on carrot leaves with a piece of lettuce nearby.
A painting of a gray bunny rabbit next to a red brick wall, chewing on carrot leaves with a piece of lettuce nearby.
‘The Rabbit’s Meal’ (1908). Credit: Henri Rousseau/Barnes Foundation via Rawpixel

I wish that I had come to veganism because of my love for animals, my care for the environment, and my hope for a better, kinder future. But I didn’t. I came to veganism because I thought it would be an easy way to lose weight and, in my mind, make my deeper body image and eating issues go away.

During my first visit home after starting college, I had a regular checkup and my doctor told me to “make sure I didn’t gain any more weight” when I went back…


As a Black, queer woman still unlearning the respectability politics of my youth, growing plants has helped me grow, too

Photos: Ciarra Jones

My mother, a Black woman, and a single mother of three Black children, demanded excellence for as long as I can remember. Teaching us excellence was her way of arming us against white supremacy. Throughout my childhood, she taught my siblings and I that if we were excellent enough, that if we existed without error, then we could circumvent the pain and trauma of racism.

After reading Black feminist and womanist literature, I know that the framework of perfection that my mother offered us is problematic. Respectability politics, or the belief that Black people will be humanized when we achieve…


How to eat well during times of distress

I was feeling anxious and disgusted with myself — I stepped on the scale and found that I had gained 20 kilograms. How did I let this happen?

Startled, I opened my eyes and realized it was a dream. I went up to go to the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror — I am a grown person with a clear understanding that we should be prioritizing the way we feel and act in our bodies rather than numbers, and yet it seems I still intrinsically struggle with this fear of gaining weight. Why?

I have been overweight…


We can learn from these clean and consistent creatures in the wake of a global pandemic

Photos: Emily White

So you’re housebound because of the spread of COVID-19. You might have been housebound for days now, and there’s seemingly no end in sight, with pandemic numbers continuing to climb.

Are you bouncing off the walls? Do you feel a sense of malaise, depressed at not being able to go about your normal business? Or perhaps a sense of hopelessness with the uncertainty ahead?

I know am feeling all of these things. I am not good at being housebound. My significant other-turned-isolation partner, however, pointed out the other day that my cats


Having a pet made me care about myself more

couple and dog walking on a beach, grey sky
couple and dog walking on a beach, grey sky
Photo: Emma Dau via Unsplash

I’ve had my dog for nearly six years. I’ve had her since she was a puppy, taking her home after I helped care for her unbearably adorable litter of nine. She’s a healthy and energetic mutt, who loves people, fetch, and a good chew on a bone. She’s lived with me in three different states and traveled with me on many adventures.

Dogs are “man’s best friend” for a reason. We’ve co-evolved with canines for about 14,000 years. Our two species have a long history of helping and influencing each other. My dog and have a very symbiotic relationship. …


I never knew that a loss could be so traumatic

Photo: Fernando @dearferdo via Unsplash

In 2016 my cat friend died. Anyone who has ever loved a pet knows that this can bring unbearable pain. They’re not just animals, they are family members.

Boo Boo and I had this great routine. Every evening, I would sit on the couch with my laptop and write. And Boo Boo would be right beside me, perched on the top of the couch watching over me, purring. Often he rested his paw on my shoulder. It was such a cozy scene, the two of us, listening to music while I wrote. I achieved a lot that year, and was…


By focusing on caring for him, I learned to care for myself

A photo of me lying in my bed asleep with my cat lying asleep very close to me facing me
A photo of me lying in my bed asleep with my cat lying asleep very close to me facing me
Photo: Jodie Hare

My cat is an anxious cat. He is a black cat with white markings underneath his chin and white paws which make it seem as though he’s wearing little boots. Whilst growing up I had one other cat, and I’ve spent time around various other cats belonging to friends and family. But of all the cats I’ve known, there has never been one who wails like my cat, my Jackson. My cat is not afraid to make his grievances known. He does not shy away from demonstrating his needs. If he does not get what he needs he will wail…


A true story of creature comforts

Gassi the Setter birdwatching. Photos: Fiona Cameron Lister

“How many can you get?”

“Eight. Ten maybe. Any more and it looks suspicious.”

“When can you bring them?”

“I’ll try tomorrow. But under cover of darkness. Less chance of being stopped by the police.”

I hang up feeling like I’ve just concluded a drug deal. In fact, I have just ordered bales of alfafa hay for my alpacas in time of lockdown. Giuseppe lives a couple of miles away, but in a different municipality. Technically he should show a permit if he gets stopped.

This is what it has come to. …

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