COVID-19, Depression/Anxiety, Trauma

Stress Reaction- Overthinking

C9E6B3FC-1211-465B-AC05-0EE562000D52_4_5005_cI sprained my ankle last week. Yeah, I know, right? How can this happen?

The answer is: I was too occupied with everything going on. When I got a chance to go out for a run, I was thinking about everything I needed to do and moving my schedule and tasks around my head. So, I didn’t see the stones on the road and by the time I was on the ground, it was too late.

It took me a good minute to finally got up. Luckily, I was only a mile away from home and it wasn’t too difficult to drag my bump ankle home.


So, in the past five days, all I can do was got up, plan my day, meditate, and work. I started to feel my mood sour and tank after so many days just sitting around.

Being an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapist, I know it’s important I cope with the stress bottom up (meaning not from my head but with my body). This morning, I decided to do some yoga. I did about 15 minutes of Sun Salutation and about a minute of Toe Stretches to stretch out my sprained ankle.

Here is the link for the Sun Salutation, a very easy one.

Here are the YouTube Yoga website I commonly visited for your reference.

Here are the appts for meditation I often used to help me calm dwon with my anxiety.

I felt great when I looked at the sun rise outside of my window while I saluted to the Sun.

Overthinking? Maybe moving around your body for about 10-15 minutes will be helpful.

Now, onward with our day. May your day be healthy and safe.


COVID- 19 Week 3 (3/30 to 4/3) Journal

week 3Moving into the 3rd week (3/30 to 4/3), I finally feel that I have a handle of my schedule and my routine.

I feel some sort of anxiety to adjust to my new schedule. I can feel myself holding the breath every Tuesday and Friday, at the end of the night. I found myself holding breath while cleaning the office from top to bottom, making the mental notes to be sure I can find a systemic way to clean so that I don’t miss out cleaning any spot in the office.

I also continue to hold my breath, got home, jump into the shower with the hottest water I can tolerate, and clean myself, then, dumped all the clothes into the washer.

I wondered if this is also how my clients who are first respondents and nurses felt like in their daily life?

I also start to see some patterns in my clients’ reactions to this pandemic. Some people seemed to be nonchalant about the situation while others were crumbling under the stress. This is where I was at the beginning of last week. It’s worth documenting these patterns so that I can have a better handle for those clients who might come in later. 

How have you been coping with the stress? Check out my article of the stress reactions I have observed from myself, my friends, and my clients.

Stress Reaction — Stress Eating

Stress Reaction- Overthinking

(Finally, the documentation of these reactions is in the article now. Please check out Crisis—- A Dangerous Opportunity)

COVID-19, Depression/Anxiety, Trauma

Stress Reaction — Stress Eating

What’s yours tress reaction? A few friends and I were talking about “stress eating” due to coping with COVID-19. It got me to think about the stress reaction.

One of my stress reaction, somatically, is hives. I don’t usually “feel” stress. When I was writing my doctoral dissertation, I had hives the entire year. I went to see three different doctors and they did bunch of test for allergy. I was severely allergic to cats, dogs, and mold. Otherwise, it’s just the regular seasonal allergy. So, one of the doctors suggested that my hives might be the reaction to stress. “Stress?” I think, “How could it be possible. I don’t “feel” stress.” I was telling the truth. I really didn’t feel it but my body was telling me what I didn’t feel. How do I know that? I defended my dissertation with one of the eyes swollen with hives but it disappeared few hours after I finished my defense.

What’s your stress reaction that you are not aware but showing up somatic? In this coming week, pay attention to yourself about your stress reaction.

Oh, as to my stress eating, this is what I did. I posted this sign on my refrigerator to remind myself.  Does it work? Yeah, sometimes, I was able to stop myself from opening the refrigerator but sometimes I just say to myself: “oh, well, I am going to eat that no matter what.” Haha.



COVID-19, Trauma, Uncategorized

COVID- 19 Week 2 (3/23 to 3/27) Journal

week 2Moving int the 2nd week (3/23 to 3/27), the Governor shut down the essential business on 3/24, and the news announced on 3/23. I started to call all the clients and to prepare for the shutting down of my practice. About 4 hours later, I finally got the news that my office is considered an essential business, and I am able to see clients in person.

This week is chaotic. “Flexible” is the word I have been keeping in mind. I had to constant adjust my schedule and my work. This is not easy for me because I have always had a routine. Suddenly, my life is unpredictable and I am not sure what would happen next.

What’s worst for me was uncertain whether to completely closing down the office. I know that it’s important for me to remain open to some clients who really need this time for some reason. I almost had nightmares everynight.

I would wake up from hearing some clients told me: “it’s all your fault that I am in the hospital because I can’t see you in person.”

After falling into sleep again, I would wake up from another nightmare of the news headline says: “x number of people contracted COVID-19 at Dr. Grace Chen’s Office!”

I continued to struggle with the balance of seeing clients face-to-face or via Telehealth. Then, I realized that I can ask my friends’ help. I consulted some of my friends who are doctors and psychologists working in the hospital in Taiwan. They provided me their guidelines and criteria to screen the clients before the meetings, which allows me to come up with some gudelines for myself. (Please see my office response to COVID-19 and screening criteria.) 

COVID-19, Trauma

COVID- 19 Week 1 (3/16-3/20/2020) Journal

week 1I have known the COVID-19 virus since January. The news broke in Taiwan since the 2nd week of January. In a way, I have lived through the experiences of my friends and family in Taiwan vicariously since January. I have known the severity of the issues. However, it is until the 3/13, when the Governor declares the state of the emergency that I realized that “The Great America” is not invincible.

The first week (3/16-3/20) was chaotic for me. I knew this would be a long haul and needed to have some strategy. However, I have some difficult time to figure out what to do. Immediately, I know that some of my clients are not able to do the Telehealth sessions because they don’t have the privacy at home or internet access at home. My other concern is the clients with EMDR treatment. How am I going to continue to provide the EMDR treatment to them via Telehealth?

On the other hand, I also knew that I need to make changes for the sake of the public. I would feel morally responsible if anyone catches the virus in my office. I stuck in the dilemma for a week while gradually moving my clients to the Telehealth.

In the meantime, I tried to ask myself: what can I do? What do I have in control? I hopped onto any online resources I have to learn how to do EMDR online.