Wellbeing in a Quarantine World

Wellbeing in a Quarantine World

Wellbeing amidst a pandemic.

According to the ​Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC​) “Wellbeing is a positive outcome that is meaningful for people and for many sectors of society, because it tells us that people perceive that their lives are going well.”

As we transition into our 5th month of quarantine due to Covid-19, a greater lens has been laid onto the situation of people’s wellbeing. Not only is there a crisis regarding healthcare, but these events have shed light on the fragility of our systems on housing and employment bringing more stress to the turmoil. Many people are forced to continue working to pay expenses for necessities especially if they have a family. Although some enjoy the privilege of working from home, the fear of public crowded spaces often discourages many to even leave their households.

Much time has passed since we all transitioned into the world we live in currently and although circumstances are not as progressive as we could have imagined for our country many people have taken upon themselves to focus on improving their wellbeing through mindfulness.


By definition mindfulness is the psychological process of purposely bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without judgment, which one develops through the practice of meditation and other trainings.

During this lockdown I find myself on my tech devices more and more to the point where it took away time that I could have been investing into other pursuits.

With the state of the world, anyone’s mind would run rampant amidst a time of quarantine causing anxiety for one’s wellbeing to rise. Practicing mindfulness isn’t just believing the term to be true, but applying mindfulness techniques/behaviors to the various dilemmas of life whether that be from the sanctity of your bedroom or a spot you found at a park outdoors.

Here are some mindfulness exercises you can practice during the coronavirus lockdown as taken from “​Mindfulness Exercises to Use During the Coronavirus Lockdown​” by Paul Greene, PhD:

These first two techniques I found personally helpful throughout my months in quarantine!

Total Beginner

“If you’re completely new to mindfulness, a great first exercise to do is called “unplugging.” This is best done at home (perfect for the lockdown!). Take 30 minutes where you don’t look at your phone, computer or TV. Nothing electronic. Notice the impulses you have to turn on one of these devices. Notice what sensations and thoughts come up. Notice your emotional reaction – do you find yourself feeling relieved? Irritated? Sad? For 30 minutes, try to become a fascinated observer of your own experience.”

Advanced beginner

Mindful eating is a great practice because eating is something you need to do anyway! This exercise literally takes no time out of your schedule. The next time you sit down to eat alone, whether it’s a meal or a snack, pay attention to your sensory experience very closely. This will require you to make sure you’re not multi-tasking – so no phones, no TV, no computers or magazines or books.

Pay rapt attention to every moment of the experience as best you can. Notice the temperature of the food as it touches your lips. As you begin to chew, notice the impulse to move the food from your lips to the back of your mouth, and remember there is no need to rush. Try to find something new about the appearance of the food, even if you’ve had this item hundreds of times before. Does the lettuce on your sandwich look more red-tinted than you’d thought? Is the mustard gloppier than you remembered it? Good, these are exactly the kinds of things you want to look for.

Anytime that you notice yourself having a distracting thought arise (e.g., this sandwich is better than I expected), return your attention to your sensory experience of the food. Throughout the exercise, remember that your job is to observe your experience, not evaluate it. So it’s not important if the sandwich is tasty or not, only whether you observed your experience.

More intermediate to advanced techniques can be found on:

https://adaa.org/learn-from-us/from-the-experts/blog-posts/consumer/mindfulness-exercises-use- during-coronavirus

Mindful Habits!

During this long period of lockdown we can easily delve into maladaptive behaviors that could eventually develop into long standing behaviors impacting our overall life satisfaction. With the extra time on our hands we can take advantage of the lockdown to pursue mindful habits that can bring us more abundance in overall wellbeing! But like any habit it takes time to establish it into our day-to-day lives which is why small healthy calculated risk are the way to go! Once you have created mindful habits into your life, you are on your way to a journey of overall positive wellbeing by being mindful of the moments of our lives during a lockdown.

Quarantine Time is Still Time!

In a matter of days the entire world came to a stand still. While hospitals geared up for what seemed the worst economies froze, recreation & leisure pursuits became limited, and overall social connection was dwindled down to isolated time with ourselves and whoever resides with use in our households. During such times even I myself felt frozen as it was hard to work in the moment knowing that tomorrow was unsure. This quickly disheartened my sense of hope until one day I decided to flip the switch, or change the lens of the actual situation at hand. I was aware of the new limitations of life, but now saw it simply as a new life reality in an ever changing world. Adjustments were made and suddenly negative beliefs went from “I’m frozen, alone, and unmotivated” to “Time didn’t stop why should I?, We are all in this together, and I am more excited for the opportunity to reflect and develop myself and my interest!”.

A great article I came across was ​“Positive pandemic?”​ where Jennifer E. Symonds considers whether lockdown can actually improve your mental health and wellbeing. She brings to attention what I have come to believe about our current condition that all the limitations brought with the new reality of a world in Covid-19 can be observed as opportunities to pursue mindfulness & meditation, deeply connect with our loved ones, appreciate nature & less populated areas like small businesses, more hours to exercise & reflect, and overall appreciate our overall wellbeing!

Mindfulness at Point School Puerto Rico!

At PSPR our young men have the opportunity to immerse into a rich biodiverse island giving way to more opportunities to reflect deep. Mindfulness plays a huge part in being a component of engagement in one’s life especially in the student below.

Whether it be floating out on the teal emerald waters to the peaks overlooking the island PSPR student’s will have the ability to create meaningful purposeful moments that will reverberate with them throughout their lives as they reflect on their journey thus far!

Be Kind to Yourself!

When it all really comes down to it you really are the closest connection to yourself and hold the full ability to affect your overall wellbeing at the whim of any choice you make. A virus runs rampant throughout our communities and negativity a virus itself can aswell, but amidst a pandemic that limits social interactions you will always have yourself so why not be kind to yourself! Not to be considered selfish behavior self-care is nothing, but positive and in turn can help foster the growth of yourself and those around you! We all seek overall life satisfaction through happiness; the quickest way to start that journey is to embody it ourselves!

Where we feel hopeless and alone with life’s dogmas in a world in pandemic we actually share this struggle with every human in the world making us not so alone in this effort after all.

By Austin Tonel, Therapeutic Recreation Intern

Sean Rose Announced as Founder and Co-Owner of Point School Puerto Rico



Point School Puerto Rico, a Hybrid Gap Year program specializing in adventure-based programming for young men from all over the world, named Sean Rose their Founder and Co-Owner. 

Mr. Sean Rose, of Worcester, will pioneer the evolution of this exclusive, one-of-a-kind program. With his extensive experience in mental health, program evaluation and therapeutic consultation, “Mr. Rose is an ideal fit for this role. We are elated by the breadth of knowledge he brings. It will be of huge benefit to our clients, families and partners all over the country,” states Tim McMahon, Executive Director of Brightstone Transitions. 

Brightstone’s Director of Business Development, Jason Cox, echoes those sentiments as he says, “Mr. Rose is as proven as it gets in this field. We all win with his oversight.”

Sean Rose leaves Justice Resource Institute, where he has been employed since 2006. Most recently, Mr. Rose held the position of Executive Director of the JRI Connecticut Division. He has also been a part of the Trauma Center at JRI’s adjunct training faculty since 2012. “This is a dream come true. I have been working for years to have an opportunity like this.” states Mr. Rose. 

Sean Rose holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts with a minor in non-profit management from Lesley University in Cambridge, and a master’s degree in Education from American International College in Springfield. He is also certified in Massachusetts as an assistant principal and principal for kindergarten through eighth grade. Mr. Rose is set to embark on his second term as the District 1 City Councilor in Worcester, Massachusetts. 

Point School Puerto Rico serves young men, ages 18-22, who are seeking an experiential learning environment on the culturally rich island of Puerto Rico.  It includes cultural immersion, activities and humanitarian efforts, with additional focus on strength and character development.  More information can be found on their website, www.pointschoolpr.com 

International Day of Happiness

Today is the International Day of Happiness! As a gap year program whose philosophy is based on positive psychology theory, research, and practice, we would like to extend an invitation for you to help us celebrate!

You may be asking yourself, what does positive psychology have to do with happiness? Well, we have so many answers to that question!

Brief History of Positive Psychology: 

Positive psychology was termed by Dr Martin E. P. Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania. After many years as a clinical psychologist and the leading researcher of learned helplessness, Dr Seligman realized that there must be something to those who are never willing to give up and remain helpless. He wanted to know more about the people who display impenetrable resilience, gain and maintain success, happiness, and well-being, and undoubtedly lead flourishing lives. Long story short, he restructured his thought process and research focus and, thus, the field of positive psychology was born! 

Definition of Positive Psychology:

Positive psychology is the study of well-being, strengths, and flourishing lives. Positive psychology relies on empirical scientific research on the factors that allow people to be their best selves and to thrive. It is not a ‘be happy’ ‘think positively’ ‘ignore adversity’ option. It is understanding the journey of eudaimonic well-being. 

Eudaimonic well-being is an internalized happiness, fulfillment, and life satisfaction based on having meaning and purpose in life. Gaining eudaimonic well-being is gaining the best version of yourself. 

Now we’re heading for the full circle moment in this article! You see, it would be pretty difficult to find the best version of yourself and be fulfilled by your purpose in life without being happy. 

Ta Da! Happy International Day of Happiness!!!

At Point School Puerto Rico, we want just that for our young men. We want them to understand their strengths, find meaning in daily tasks, develop positive self-identities and, ultimately, gain a strong sense of eudaimonic well-being and happiness!

Q: How do we support this process towards eudaimonic well-being? 

A: Through our four intentional program components as followed.

Positive Self-Discovery Component:

We start by having all of our young men take the VIA Character Strengths Survey. This is a validated and reliable positive psychology survey used to help people become aware of and optimally use their core character strengths. Our Director of Well-Being helps our young men create short- and long-term goals around their top five character strengths in order to develop them for optimal use. Please see our website for more information: Strength Development

Cultural Immersion Component:

The young men at Point School Puerto Rico are asked to immerse themselves into the Puerto Rican culture. In Puerto Rico, we are on island time. We still need to accomplish our goals and tasks and fulfill our expectations but, generally, the sense of anxiety and urgency surrounding these situation is lessened. In Puerto Rico, there is time for mindfulness and reflection. We ask our young men to live in the moment, see the island, smell the salt water in the air, taste the authentic Puerto Rican cuisine, hear the waves and the music, and feel their genuine emotions and ideas. 

Island Activities Component:

Another way we support eudaimonic well-being is through activity. Mihay Csíkszentmihályi is the leading researcher on Flow Theory. What Flow Theory suggests is that you can experience the psychological state of flow by engaging in activities that demand total absorption of focus and control from the mind and body, resulting in a loss of self-consciousness. Flow cannot be reached by mere engagement in an enjoyable activity, but requires a balance between the amount of skill possessed by an individual and the amount of challenge presented by the activity. By engaging in island activities such as SCUBA diving, surfing, hiking, snorkeling, etc, we hope to ignite the flow experience allowing our young men to find competency, self-efficacy, and confidence surrounding these activity. 

Volunteer Component: 

Finding meaning and purpose in life is major contributor to experiencing eudaimonic well-being. So often, adults in our society become ‘stuck’ in mediocre jobs that don’t bring fulfillment or enjoyment. The young men who come to Point School Puerto Rico are often feeling directionless in regards to what they want to do with their professional and/or academic futures. It is our goal to provide them with volunteer opportunities that align with professional/academic interests or goals in order to give real-life experience in those fields a shot. We want all of our young men to find a direction for future employment that they can get excited about and draw intrinsic motivation from. We keep these experiences to a volunteer status because research suggests that the meaning you find in giving back and being helpful to your community is directly correlated to boosts in well-being.

Conclusion, finally:

Now, I would love to go on and on about the theory, research, and practice behind each of our components, but this blog is already too long! Only 10% of you have made it to this paragraph, and I thank you for sticking to it! 85% of you glanced through the subtitles. 5% of you opened this blog on accident or because you wanted to be able to say that you looked at it. I appreciate your attempts. Please be on the lookout for follow up blogs digging into the aforementioned details in each subtitle category!

And most importantly!!!

Happy International Day of Happiness! 

Please do something that brings you joy today. You deserve to have a smile on your face!

By Tracey Bachrach

Master of Applied Positive Psychology

Coordinator of Business Development at PSPR

Point School PR’s Hurricane Protocol


Puerto Rico’s hurricane season runs from June through October.

Hurricane season is upon us again. Here are the steps we are taking to ensure the safety of our clients and staff.

A month’s worth of the following supplies will be kept on-hand:
  • Water
  • Food items
  • Extra fuel
  • Materials need for securing the facilities
  • Prescriptions and over-the-counter medications
  • Batteries/ solar lights
  • Satellite phone
  • Evacuations will depend on the severity of the forecasted storm and the preference of the clients and their families.
  • In case of an emergency evacuation, all clients will be housed at the Brightstone Transitions facilities until other necessary arrangements can occur.
Local Support:
  • Our staff team is well-versed in hurricane safety protocol.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen is located less than 10 minutes from our facilities.
  • Our house is located on the top of a bluff, set back one row of houses from the cliff. It is unlikely to experience flooding.
Helpful Resources:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The Puerto Rico Hurricane Center

Ready.gov: Hurricanes


Seven Months After Hurricane Maria


On September 20th, 2017, the island of Puerto Rico was hit by category 5 hurricane, Maria.

Today is April 17th, 2018.

It has been almost seven months since Point School Puerto Rico braced for impact against the storm.

It has been almost seven months of resilience, patience, and hard work, not only from the team at Point School Puerto Rico, but within the entire island community.

Martin Seligman, founder of positive psychology, suggests that, historically, the weeks and months following national disasters aid to the cohesiveness and shared meaning of communities. This idea is called post-traumatic growth, and it could not be any more true for the island of Puerto Rico.

In the days following Hurricane Maria, neighbors fought their way across property boundaries to ensure the well-being of their neighbors. Those with severe damage to their homes were invited into the homes of their neighbors. Food was prepared without electricity and shared with those who needed.

In the weeks following Hurricane Maria, community members met in town squares to organize donations and deliver supplies to individuals and families in needs. Sometimes this was done by loading backpacks full of food and goods and hiking to villages that were not yet accessible by road. Women, men, and children worked side-by-side to clear fallen trees from roads, fix damages done to local homes and businesses, and clean the storm debris from their neighborhoods.

In the months following Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans celebrated each small success together. The return of phone service, water, internet, and electricity. The return of family members and friends who had been evacuated. Schools opened their doors. Banks, gas stations, restaurants, and other businesses reopened. Life slowly began to steady into a “normal” pace.

But will life in Puerto Rico ever be “normal” again? Hurricane Maria was traumatizing and debilitating, and there are still many people suffering from the effects of the storm. But the camaraderie and resilience shown throughout the past seven months is not to be forgotten.

Neighbor helping Neighbor

Stranger helping Stranger

Puerto Rican helping Puerto Rican

The definition of Post-Traumatic Growth is finding meaning and growth due to a traumatic experience.

And as the New York Times printed on October, 24th, 2017:

In Puerto Rico, we invented resilience.