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Eco-Anxiety in Quarantine: 6 Things That Have Kept Me Sane

Originally published at on September 16, 2020

Monday, September 14, marked 6 full months of stay-at-home orders from the pandemic for our family. On March 14 we went out to lunch, visited the library, and stocked up on groceries. We knew it would be awhile but could not have imagined the past 6 months. A global pandemic, systemic racism, economic and food insecurity, the West on fire — it is A LOT to handle — especially for the kids.

That said, I know how lucky my family is — no one directly impacted by Covid-19 (yet), we still have jobs, and we have teenagers who can handle online school without much guidance or direction. Even so, the anxiety about the state of our world and the future affects us all deeply.

Eco-anxiety is very real.

The sky in Bozeman is full of smoke from California and Oregon. Code RED air quality this week. The American Psychological Association defines “eco-anxiety” as “the fear of impending environmental doom.” Many citizens around the world are experiencing this stress related to the state of the world. Generation Z (born 1997 to present) is especially worried about climate change and the future. My kids talk to me about everyday — that was before the pandemic and the Western fires of 2020.

One of the ways to cope with anxiety is through the arts and through connection. Taking time out for moments of escape, wonder, and fun are essential during this challenging times.

Here are 6 things that have kept me grounded:

1. Avatar: The Last Air-Bender (Netflix)

No, not that Avatar. The animated hit series about air, earth, water, and fire benders from a decade ago that’s had a tremendous comeback. My kids encouraged us to watch this beautiful animated series on friendship, coming-of-age, and finding yourself in an epic good vs. evil battle. I strongly recommend all three seasons. This article in America: The Jesuit Review on the spirituality of the Avatar inspiring and provides solace and hope during these challenging times.

2. Treasure Quest: Snake Island (Amazon Prime)

This over-the-top reality adventure series has been such fun for the whole family. It’s suspenseful and fascinating to follow real life treasure hunters looking for lost Incan gold on the most densely-populated island of venomous snakes in the world. On what island, you ask? Yes, snake island.

3. The Podcast “Song Exploder”

Quarantine life has made me appreciate the arts so much more. This podcast talks with artists about the genesis of their songs and takes the listener through their song creation story. Beautifully produced and incredibly fascinating. My favorite episodes are: ““Fire” with Waxahatchee, “Harmony Hall” with Vampire Weekend, “Cattails” with Big Thief.

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