How To Avoid Stress While Quarantined Alone?

When the news about the statewide quarantine reached me, I had two choices. I could either fly to my parents’ farm in Minnesota or stay here in New York. I ended up choosing the latter because the internet was essential for my work, and there was hardly any signal at the farm.

Despite making that choice by myself, I could not help but feel stressed about quarantining alone. I was not allowed to order food often; the laundry shop was also closed. Still, I had to tap my face several times and remind myself that stress would not do me good, especially now. So, I did the following instead:


Start An Aquaponics Herb Garden

The most stress-relieving activity in my book is tending to a garden. I used to do that in my parents’ backyard and plant vegetables there. However, since I live in a small apartment in the city, the best thing I can do is start an aquaponics herb garden.

This project is genuinely easy; all you need are a few mason jars, water, and seedlings. It is especially useful these days, given that you are not supposed to go out only to buy basil or thyme. With an herb garden of your own, you will be able to get by without buying herbs even after the lockdown.

Subscribe To A Video-Streaming Platform

Being an old-school individual, the first week of my quarantine passed with me playing DVDs. I have an impressive collection of them, including all the Harry Potter, Twilight, Charlie’s Angels, and Star Trek movies. However, I realized that I could not watch them a second time around, so I asked my sister about what I should do. Her reply was, “Subscribe to Netflix, Disney+, HBO Go, or Hulu.”

If you ask me why it has taken me this long to sign up for any of them, I don’t know either. I have never stayed at home for weeks on end, so the idea has not crossed my mind. But I have subscribed to all those video-streaming platforms now, and I love it!


Recreate Your Favorite Foods

The quarantine has pushed plenty of entrepreneurs to close their restaurants temporarily. My go-to place around the corner is one of them, and I feel bummed whenever I think about their rigatoni. I missed it too much that I decided to try to make the dish in my kitchen. It was not the same, but it was close, and I was pleased with its taste.

This positive experience with cooking allowed me to try recreating my other favorites. E.g., KFC’s fried chicken, Scarr’s pizza, Steve’s key lime pie, etc.

Communicate With Loved Ones

Before the lockdown, you may have barely had time to connect with family and friends. We all get it; you are busy making money and building your career. But now that the state requires you to be at home 24/7, you can talk to everyone you miss from dusk till dawn.

A routine that my parents have created is to do a video conference with my two sisters and me daily. They call around breakfast, and we watch each other cook and do other chores. It is as if we are all in the same house.



Yes, sleep. What else can you do when you feel like you have done everything else on your list?

Sleeping is the best for two reasons: 1) it relaxes your mind and body, and 2) the time can pass by freely. There is no need to come up with new activities or chores for yourself; you do not have to watch the news. If you keep on getting seven or eight hours of sleep until the quarantine is over, you will become a brand-new person.

What are you doing to avoid stress while quarantining alone?

How Massage Therapy Can Help Reduce Stress


As part of the  2017 Michigan Stress Relief Week, they gave free massages and desserts to all students to help them relieve their stress, relax, and refresh. This event is an excellent initiative since massage therapy is known to help those who suffer from stress find a way to unwind and prioritize their health and wellness. Moreover, students experience much stress due to their deadlines, research, and exams. But how does massage therapy help people reduce their stress?

Nowadays, massage therapy is offered almost everywhere. Gone are the times when massages are only available through luxury spas and health clubs. Whether you are in airports, clinics, hospitals, or malls, people who seek massages can get soothing treatment quickly. A session of massage therapy usually goes on for about 50 minutes. It uses low and subtle lighting in the room to help create a comforting and relaxing environment. It also utilizes the power of music to support the soothing atmosphere. 


Massage strokes and manipulates your skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments to release tension and pain. A massage therapist can use a variety of techniques for a session, and it may range from light stroking to deep pressure. There are more than 80 types of massage therapies in the world. You can discuss your preferred treatment with your therapist.

Benefits of Massage Therapy

Massage therapy has a couple of benefits, including the following:

  • Allows people to respond better to medical procedures and other related treatments
  • Reduces muscle tension or soreness and helps rehabilitate muscle tone
  • Increases range of movement and flexibility
  • Increases autoimmune function
  • Helps people cope with pain, depression, stress, and anxiety-related illnesses

Some studies also found massages can be helpful for the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Digestive ailments
  • Headaches
  • Sleeplessness due to stress
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain
  • Soft tissue tensions or injuries 

Beyond the conditions and benefits it can bring, most people enjoy massage therapy because it often makes them feel light, comforted, and connected. However, it is no way a means to replace your regular medical care. If you have specific health conditions, it’s best to consult your doctor if massage therapy can help you.

It’s not a crime to seek ways to reduce your stress and find solace in your world; we all need a little help sometimes.

Beat Stress In 8 Ways

Stress for me is encountered when the boundaries within a certain area are being pushed. Just as the fibers on a rope become stressed when tension is applied, the same happens within our thinking and physiology. The more pressure there is, the more tension there is; the greater will be the chances of a catastrophic failure.

According to Jamie Marich, Ph.D., LPCC-S, LICDC-CS, RMT, “Stress is anything life brings our way that has the potential to upset our balance.”

When the stress levels get beyond being manageable, we have to take up ways to reduce them. We might not be able to control the stressors, but we can surely minimize the harm it  does to our mind and body.

The signals of stress

  • Increased heart beat
  • Abnormally high or low blood pressure
  • Sweating or heat flush
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleeplessness
  • Irritability and hypersensitivity.
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Self Doubt
  • Fear of failure.
  • Low mood

Stress is nothing more than a behavioral state. We all have a “built in” stress response. You can get stress because of business. According to Lisa Bahar, LMFT, LPCC, “When an individual is in a job that lacks growth and is fostering complacency, there is a [sense of] a lack of worth.” Managing stress is just a matter of working out a system that best suits you, allowing you to utilize it when required.

The 8 strategies to manage stress

  1. Meditate — A few minutes of meditation everyday reduces stress and anxiety. Choose any time suitable for you. Sit up straight and focus your attention in looking or reciting a particular thing. Take deep breaths and do not let any negative thoughts in. Keep yourself away from any gadgets (phone,laptop, computer, television, etc.) and allow your mind to be free from any distraction while you meditate. You can see the difference after each session.

Saundra Jain, MA, PsyD, LPC says “Mindfulness meditation practices are effective interventions, and sometimes for mild to moderate conditions—depression and anxiety—super-effective as front lines.”

  1. Watch or learn something that triggers positive emotions — This can be looking back at any media footage that produces “positive emotions”; it maybe pictures of your children or family, or even YouTube clips of amazing events. Whatever you choose, do this at least once during the day.
  2. Communicate — Talk out or write down your problems. Talking about problems helps a lot in reducing stress and allow us to see the different perspectives from which we can see a situation. Call a friend or talk to anyone you trust. A reassuring voice and a friendly conversation is all that is needed to let you forget all problems.
  3. Eat right — Stress levels are closely related with the diet we follow. When we are stressed, we usually forget about the calories and sugar. People turn to having snacks or ice creams and other foods that they find comforting. Having a healthy diet in stressful time not only keeps us healthy, but it also lets us concentrate on our own well being.
  4. Tune in to your body — There are many ways to strengthen our physical system. Exercise does not only mean lifting weights in gym. A brisk walking or jogging schedule, stretching, swimming, cycling, dancing or sports — any physical activity can help in reducing stress. It normalizes the body functions and improves the mood almost instantly.
  5. Find your zone — Creating your zone is highly personal and something that is tailored according to your emotions. It may contain music, friends or anyone else, but whichever way you achieve it, it is a mental escapism that allows your thoughts to wander and/or your body to be at rest.
  6. Be thankful — It is amazing how a simple “thank you” can change the dynamics of those around you or the perceptions others have about you. The act of thanking others or of showing gratitude is one that is less demonstrated in the modern society. Sure, it doesn’t rub off on everyone, but the more you practice doing it, the more you will experience it in return. Watch how quickly your emotions change as you thank others.
  7. Replace the negative thoughts — It is not easy to think about rosy things when we are in a harsh time. But our ultimate goal is to wipe out the negativity that causes stress. Practice replacing each negative thought with “three” positive ones.

Only 10% of our happiness is the result of your outside world and 90% of your happiness is the result of our internal world.

So “choose” to make the changes that make you happy. Be in harmony with yourself. As Lord Buddha has said:

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

Stress And Its Impact On Health

“The root of all health is brain.

Stress and the way we express them varies from  person to person. It our perception that makes the difference. What may seem stressful to one person may be endurable to another.

It is important to mention that all stress is not bad. Moderate stress keeps the motivation going. The stress hormones that our body releases (adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol) in response to stress helps us to protect ourselves against any harm to the self.

According to Rachel Fintzy Woods, MA, LMFT, “Stress lasts for a extended period of time, our bodies can begin to break down.”

How stress affects our physical and mental health                                                  



The stress-heart connection : Chronic negative stress has negative influence over the cardiac functions. Stephanie Dobbin, LMFT, CGP says “Maybe your stress comes in a different form. Or maybe your stress feels especially immense and nebulous, and you’re not sure where it’s coming from.”

  • An immediate response to stress is an elevated heart rate, which causes the arteries to constrict and blood pressure rises as a result.
  • Negative stress alters the rate of heart beats. It becomes a matter of serious concern if it persists for long.
  • Our body releases inflammatory markers in stress, which increases the potential risk of suffering a cardiac arrest.
  • Increased stress causes a condition called cardiomyopathy, which creates chest pain, and can eventually cause blood vessel damage in the heart.


Stress and Nerves : A direct effect of stress is seen in the Autonomic Nervous System, which is responsible for releasing the stress hormones. Although the nervous system is not under our control, but there are symptoms which signal that the nervous system is affected.

Symptoms of nervous tension are:
  • Blushing and heat flushes
  • Tremors
  • Dryness of mouth


Immunity and Stress : Immune system is the interaction between our cells and the foreign elements in body. The frequent activation of the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for the “fight or flight” responses to stress interferes with the immune system causing immune deficiency and making our body susceptible to diseases.                                                                       



Stomach and Digestion : Stress affects the rate of absorption of nutrients in the digestive system. People  suffering from stress disorders often report abnormal eating behaviors (uncomfortably low or high amount of food intake) resulting in significant weight loss or gain. Enduring negative stress hampers the normal lifestyle and affects bowel and bladder functions as well. Digestive dysregulation causes :

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Frequent Stomach aches
  • Disturbance in bowel and bladder functions
  • Diarrhea and Dehydration


 Physical Diseases triggered by stress :

  1. Diabetes — There is a higher risk of developing diabetes for people in stress. Continuous stress increase the levels of the stress hormone cortisol which is responsible for maintaining the glucose regulation in blood. The American Diabetes Association has found out that the management of diabetes to be much difficult for people who are enduring stress than those who are stress free.
  2. Substance Abuse and addiction — Taking the help of alcohol, cigarettes or drugs has always been related to stress. Substance Abuse becomes a mental escape for the person and day by day he/she keeps increasing the quantity to attain the same amount of pleasure.


Mental Health : Not only physical health, stress also challenges mental health and well being of an individual. Stress triggers intense emotions which determine the way we react. According to Simon Rego, PsyD, “It seems obvious that experiencing a depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, would be required for someone to be diagnosed.” Researches have suggested that the brain activity during stress deviates from the normal state. As a result, negative thoughts and emotions are experienced that cause distress and lead to the development of disorders like social phobia, depressive disorders (minor to major), mood disorders and schizophrenia.

The results of numerous scientific studies have added much weight to the belief that the human mind has the power to facilitate healing in the body. Managing stress is a combination of lifestyle modification, nutrition and exercise — all of which aim towards a fully functioning body and mind. We always have enough resources within ourselves to fight stress ; we only need to find and make the most of them.

One way to fight stress is by trying out BetterHelp. This site is offering one on one virtual counseling and group therapy as well.

Choose to be happy and live stress free.

Simple Stress Management For High School Students

But can you really go back to your high school days for a moment? Back then, as a student wasn’t there anything that caused you worry? I am sure there was. High school students do face stress and sometimes they are major ones which affect their physical and mental health.

From pubertal changes to peer pressure, from emotional sparks to ongoing pressure of board exams– high school days are really tough as perceived by most teenagers. Many adolescents become over stressed and feel they just can’t take the pressure anymore.

According to Rachel Fintzy Woods, M.A., LMFT, “Since we differ in what we consider stressful., it’s important to determine your personal threshold for stress.”

Stress can be managed. Talk therapy can help which can be done through BetterHelp. Specialists are ready to talk to you anytime to relieve you of your stress.

The Common High School Stressors

Source: shanghaimamas.or


The factors causing stress in high schoolers can be categorized into four broad types:

  1. Academic Stressors – Including home works, tougher academic responsibilities, grades, assignments, too much syllabus, too less time, examinations, and so on. These things really do impact a high schooler’s mind. As such, it is important to take a break every now and then. “People need time off from work (school) to recover from stress and prevent burnout,” said David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA.
  2. Family Stressors – It is the “have to do” stress that many families put on their kids. Like the pressure of doing better than siblings or cousins and living up to parents’ expectations. Parenting styles, broken homes and parental divorce also stresses an adolescent mind hugely.
  3. Social Stressors – The impending need of complying with peers, looking, staying in shape, social networking (which has recently become a big cause of stress for high school students), all these social attributes do nothing except increase the social stress on the young minds.
  4. Stressors Related to Future – The stress of getting into a good college, passing the boards with good grades, choosing the right career, making the love successful, there is so much to achieve.

A quick guide for high schoolers on how to handle their stress.

Here are few stress management strategies for the high school students.



  1. The 3 A’s of stress management:
  • Accept – Accepting that we can never excel in everything reduces the overwhelming stress of achievement to some extent. Know your capabilities and set your standards accordingly. Too high or too low expectations would bring nothing but disappointment.
  • Adapt Learn to adjust. Adolescence is “the” period of transition. Any new change brings stress, but the ones who can adapt themselves to the changing situations are the survivors.
  • Alter – If you are stressed try to make some positive change in the situation. Rather than sitting back and letting the stress engulf your mind, it is always wise to take the initiative and change your circumstances. Remember you are in charge of your happiness.
  1. Learn from your past mistakes – Never allow the same mistake to affect you twice.


  1. Have a healthy diet – Diet is very crucial to keep our mind and body going well. High schoolers are prone to binge eating, junk food, smoking, drinking, etc, which can bring long lasting health hazards. Following a smart diet can really help you accomplish health goals and maintain a good look.


  1. Exercise daily – It is the ultimate stress release mechanism for all age groups. Doing regular exercise keeps you fit, mentally and physically, lets you communicate with yourself and gets you the energy to deal with the everyday stressors of life.


  1. Have a confidante – Be it siblings, friends, cousins, teachers or even parents sometimes, having someone with whom you can share every small thing can be really helpful. It will give you support, a better understanding of the situation and help you cope with the stress more efficiently.


  1. Use stress busters – You can make stress balls at home, write down the causes of your stress, maintain a personal diary, listen to music, play, or use any other activity that makes you happy. You may make your own stress management plan and follow it, that can also be helpful in managing the stress.


No matter how much we say or how hard we try, these stressors are part of life. There is no student who has not faced any stress during his/her high school years. So, what is important is not what causes the stress, but how we can deal with them.


As they say,  Don’t stress, do your best, and forget the rest —- So look for the right ways and remember it is not the stress that puts you down, it is the way you carry it. Make sure to try therapy too. According to Lisa M. Vallejos, MA, LPC, NCC, “Therapy is confidential and therapists are bound by both laws and ethics to maintain client confidentiality to the best of their ability. There are exceptions that I will cover in detail.”





Why Your Psychiatrist Recommends A Vacation

People are currently living in an extremely demanding world. In the United States alone, about 86 million people were employed full-time by private companies in 2014, and these people mostly take part in keeping the country afloat.


The living cost is continually on the rise, and the needs only seem to increase. It’s not hard to see why people obsess over their careers, but it’s important to talk about why people need to take a step back.

It’s Widely Accepted

It’s only quite recently that mental health and positive working environments became a priority for private companies. For a significant population, gone are the days where strict hours need to be completed or terrorizing employees to deliver results. It’s been proven that a good work environment is also a great business decision, and many employers acknowledge that.

There is less reason to hesitate about requesting for a vacation. It won’t be considered as a risk of an adverse career move or seen as a negative light by other people. Granted, it’s harder for traditional companies, but it’s definitely worth it.

Stress Relief

It’s pretty self-explanatory, but a vacation is one of the best ways to relieve stress and anxiety, precisely for reasons like it lifts a person’s mood when they have something to look forward to. It’s something that breaks routine, and it’s naturally exciting to deviate from a pattern. On vacation itself, worries and the weight of the stress become diverted from your mind.


Many people might see taking a break as being left behind or an opportunity for work to pile up, but you still need to prioritize the balance.

Family Time

Scientifically, many basic human needs are better satisfied by family time more than work. The family is the source of loving relationships, comfort, safety, enjoyment, and many more. Going on vacation means some free time and a chance to nourish relationships with the family, with little regard to what kind of vacation, or for how long, or who with.

It could be a solo trip, a long break from work, or even just a few mental health days. It’ll still go a very long way.

Post-Vacation High

Studies show that people who come back from vacations exhibit better work performance, so it’s even more evident that taking a vacation is a great career move. Things like an improved sleeping pattern, becoming less irritable, and fewer chances of burnout, in the long run, are all career-related benefits of taking an enjoyable vacation.


In summary, being in a better mood has numerous effects on one’s personal mental and physical health, but a vacation transcends explicitly to many other aspects of adult life. Read more about the benefits and take time for yourself.

Here are the things that therapists and counselors have to say about vacation:

A vacation might be one of the best things for your mental health, but remember that it’s not meant to be a one-time quick fix. Mental health must be nurtured and given importance to. Engage in other activities good for your mental health like regular exercise, reading and doing things that inspire you.

When going on a vacation, be sure that you will not deny the truth that you are having problems. Instead, remember what Janis Manalang, LPC says “

Top 5 Stress Relief Tips For Couples 

There are many sources of stress for couples, and it’s not always physical manifestations that can be easily identified. Most of the time, there are internal battles and thoughts we keep to ourselves that dictate how we feel, and later on, how we react. Relationships have a lot to do with understanding that we are human, and work through the issues that come with it. 

There are times when you have to slow down or take a break from the relationship. According to Bianca L. Rodriguez, LMFT, “Taking a break usually means that a couple has made a conscious decision to change their relationship status to create space to reevaluate it.” 


Continue reading “Top 5 Stress Relief Tips For Couples “