Erica Chan gets a facial from aesthetician Amber Lally at her...

Erica Chan gets a facial from aesthetician Amber Lally at her Smithtown home. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Erica Chan, 31, of Smithtown describes her life in one word: “Stressful.”

Chan works full-time in dental sales and has an 8-month-old son to take care of when working from home. “I’m always on and my stress level is always high," Chan says. “I get phone calls morning, noon and night during the week and on weekends."

But Chan says that once a month she makes sure to set aside time to take care of just herself. She has licensed aesthetician, Bay Shore resident Amber Lally, come to her house to give her a soothing treatment such as a facial or a massage.

“It’s my way to decompress,” Chan says.


Chan is among a growing number of adults who see life today as synonymous with stress — with pressures always coming at them from a wide range of sources such work, kids, and technology that keeps you always plugged in, according to authorities. And to cope this group is increasingly turning to "self-care," which is deliberately taking care of one’s mental, emotional and physical health.

Stress experts say self-care is something that’s often neglected although it’s vital for improving our moods and reducing anxiety. They say there are a lot of interesting and fun things you can do to take care of yourself and get away from it all these days, including new spins on exercise and other activities ranging from salt therapy and adult nature hikes to anger management and being soothed by "music" created from a tap on a crystal bowl.

“We’re having difficulty unplugging,” says Brittain Mahaffey, a stress disorders expert and assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral health at Stony Brook University’s School of Medicine. “Even when we’re on vacation, we don’t put down our devices, so we still have access to our work emails.”

Customers relax at the Montauk Salt Cave.

Customers relax at the Montauk Salt Cave. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

That’s a real problem, Mahaffey notes.

“Stress has a major impact on people’s mental and physical health, and we’re not doing an adequate job of taking care of ourselves,” Mahaffey says. Everyone needs a time out from today’s nonstop world, she adds


Lally says the fact that she has many people taking advantage of her house call services means they want stress relief however they can get it and are happy to have it come to them to save time and effort on their part.

“Self-care is today’s health care,” says Lally, who does house calls throughout Long Island and specializes in massages, meditation, body scrubs and body masks and face lifting and toning using oils.

When not doing house calls, Lally works at the Noble Savage Barbershop in Bay Shore and Earthtone Therapies in Sayville.

She says one of her more out of the ordinary offerings is the 15-minute Indian head massage. “It touches on all the pressure points in the scalp leading to the meridians and all the organs of the body,” Lally says of the massage based on an old East Indian technique. “It’s equal to a full body massage in the sensations and the benefits.”

Jennifer Eagen, a Hauppauge resident and owner of the mobile yoga studio, Pop Up Prana Yoga, says New Yorkers are among the most stressed out from living in such a fast-paced environment.

Eagen will host Meditation Under the Stars April 13 at the Vanderbilt Museum's Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium in Centerport. The first such event happened earlier this month and sold out. During the 60-minute guided meditation complemented with “healing” music, participants look up at the planetarium stars while seated in reclining chairs.

Says Eagen, “They’re seeking that sense of serenity.”

Where to destress

Here’s a sampling of upcoming stress management events:

Meditation Under the Stars encore

WHEN | WHERE 5:30 to 7 p.m. April 13, at the Vanderbilt Museum's Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium, 180 Little Neck Rd.,  Centerport. 

INFO Tickets are $25. 631-626-0566, 

Montauk Salt Cave

Offers events with stress management through breathing in Himalayan salt for respiratory benefits and sound meditation.

WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m. Fridays, 2 and 3 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. Sundays at the Montauk Salt Cave, 552 West Lake Dr.,  Montauk. 

INFO Admission $40. 631-668-7258, 

Sands Point Preserve Forest Therapy Walk

WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. April 27 at Sands Point Preserve, 127 Middle Neck  Rd., Sands Point. 

INFO Tickets are $40. 516-304-5076, 


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