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Mental Health Experts Share Their Top 3 Tips for Surviving The Holiday Season

mental health Dec 07, 2021

Mental Health Experts Share Their Top 3 Tips for Surviving The Holiday Season 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” a song that rings throughout elevators, restaurants and shopping malls at this time of year. But what if it’s not how you actually feel? Instead of feeling the joy and cheer, you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, anxious, disconnected, lonely or stressed. We are all continuing to navigate the transitional period of the pandemic in 2021. This holiday season may be your first time traveling, or seeing extended family, or attending a large gathering, and so even if the holiday season has always been a joyous experience in the past, this year may feel different and that’s okay! Mental health experts Audrey Grunst, LCSW & Brittany Polacek, LPC are here to help with their top three tips to surviving the holiday season.

3 Tips For Surviving The Holidays

Tip #1: Create Boundaries

Boundaries are rules or limits that we create to...

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An open letter from an educator to an educator

What we are experiencing is hard. Regardless of what your iteration of pandemic teaching has looked like, I know it’s been challenging personally and professionally. I know you’re worried about your students, their progress, and their social-emotional well-being. I know you’re trying somehow to embrace a new normal. 


I know you’re tired. I am, too. 


I get that we can’t pour from empty cups, but for just a moment, can we pause? 


Self-care cannot be something to check off the list. Self-care is not one-size-fits-all. 


Self-care is not an initiative. 


Cultural shifts that value teacher mental and physical wellness take time to fully impact the system. Incredibly, the conversation is starting. It’s helpful that many see our value in a new light and want us to be well. 


But, a slow shift is not enough right now, and we’re third-year pandemic-teacher-tired. 



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More Peace Anyone?

Blog post by Stephanie Bersh, Simply Bee resident yoga teacher

I had the pleasure of co-hosting a wellness workshop with our therapist Jacqueline Ritz, LCPC. We created this workshop in response to the overwhelm and stress so many of us are feeling as our lives return back to a busier state post-pandemic.  As a provider for mental health, we understand how much of a toll stress can place on our emotional state and physical bodies. Our goal was to share tools that would help us manage that stress and find more peace to quiet the constant chatter and to-do list in our heads.

As we joined together on the mat, we spoke about the shift back to busy schedules and overly demanding days. We shared our struggles to quiet our minds and the exhaustion felt from overactive thoughts rooted in stress and anxiety. 

Jacqueline started with a breathing technique called Wim Hof that had us move through multiple cycles of deep breathing and a long hold at the end of the breath cycle. ...

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Finding Strength In 2021

Uncategorized Jan 13, 2021
We wake up each day craving normalcy but this new way we’re all living is anything but normal. In fact many days it can feel pretty disappointing, hopeless and disheartening. The uneasiness of anxiety and depression begin to creep in and stay a little bit longer each day. Some of us can push it away while others fight and fight but still end up giving in to it. Eventually the depression and anxiety get the best of all of us—we are human after all.
So what do we do with this unexpressed emotion that sits inside of us while we have to live our life, go to work, take care of our families and households? You might hear the voice of your mother saying “it is what it is,” encouraging you to move on with your day. Despite her best intentions, that wisdom doesn’t quite do its job and you still feel weary. But nonetheless, life does move on and you have to buckle down and get the work done, whether there is a pandemic or not.
You’re not alone...
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Mental Health Is Changing

Uncategorized Dec 31, 2020

Things Are Changing

In the last twelve months I have found people accepting that mental health is real in all of us.

Therapy is trending, anxiety is a buzz word, and mental health is a common discussion in the media...and for that I say  HALLELUJAH.


what what if therapy is not available?  

What if you are not ready for therapy?

What if therapy is too expensive?

What if you are curious about mental health and you don't know where to start?

What if you need a break from therapy?

Where do you go when you need a inspiration and new ideas to keep your mental health, healthy?

Despite all of this you are are struggling with accountability, consistency and inspiration.

You. Are. Not. Alone.

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Using a mantra to stay mindful

Man·tra /ˈmantrə/
noun: mantra; plural noun: mantras
A word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation; a Vedic hymn.

I use a mantra to guide and inspire me. I like to think of it as a daily message guiding my path, a place to return to and encourage me to move forward. Typically when we want to create change in our life, we use goals or resolutions to keep us on track. However, goals and resolutions require structure and planning. They require lists and when I fail to check off the boxes on the lists, I am constantly faced with disappointment. When I work with a personal mantra, I have more freedom. My mantra gently guides me to what I want to manifest. Sometimes it is a word or phrase that I need in a pivotal moment in my life or sometimes my mantra will change based on circumstance. At the beginning of every year, I always begin with a new mantra to open the door to all the possibilities I can manifest.

As educators, creating a mantra at the start of the school year...

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My yoga practice has taught me the importance of letting go every time I step on my mat. When I first began to practice yoga, my focus was on perfecting the poses. After a while though, my practice would not progress. I was burnt out, frustrated, and unkind with myself when I could not master the poses perfectly. I discovered I needed to let go of all my preconceived notions, my perceived limitations, and perfectionism in order to grow in my yoga practice.
Yoga has shown me that I am always a work in progress, but once I stopped letting my inner perfectionist guide my path, I was able to let go and grow tremendously. I found perspective, grace and surrender.
As teachers, it is easy to fall into this same pattern. You may spend hours after a long day in the classroom trying to create a perfect lesson plan. You may tell yourself you cannot move on to your other projects even though you could have easily stopped hours ago at “good enough”....
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COVID-19: A Story of Hope

mental health Mar 24, 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic crashed down on me like a fierce mid-afternoon thunderstorm.  It was unexpected, jarring and left me soaking wet in disbelief. It seemed that no matter where I turned, the rain surrounded me. At first I accepted the rain, then I refused it, then I briefly tricked myself into using playfulness to temporarily deny the reality of what was happening. But then I was forced (quite literally) into shelter and forced to fall on my knees and surrender to the storm that has still yet to pass.

Every day this week, I wake up in hope that it will stop raining—but I look and only see flooding all around me. I pray for relief—but I am only met with uncertainty. The despair creeps in and I can no longer fight the rain. But even in dark hours when the rain is beating down on me, I force myself to find my inner voice of hope. Sometimes, I hear a little whisper that tells me that I will survive. I hear the whisper in the dark hours and it reminds me...

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Embracing The Uncertainty

mental health Mar 18, 2020

The universe is calling to reorganize your life.  Your life has a funny way of revealing what next steps of growth are required of you. It is hard to change the path you have been on because to change your course of direction is a call to walk into the unknown. The unknown place is like dropping you off into the woods with no compass to guide you. When you arrive at this unknown place you look outside of yourself, for a trail carved into the earth by somebody else. This unconscious urge to find a forged path will always be your initial response to crisis but this is not the task at hand, the task is to discover your own course that includes physical, mental and emotional skills that will serve you now and far beyond.

It’s time to stop looking around to see if someone else has figured it out. It’s time to turn inward and discover that it is your job to figure out your own strength and aptitude to move forward.

“You might be tempted to avoid the messiness of...

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A letter to my fears

Uncategorized Mar 15, 2020

A letter to my fear...

Your mind is telling you to stay calm but your gut is telling you that something terrible is happening. It’s hard to find a compromise between these two places.

As homosapiens we struggle to hold the balance between good and bad. We want to decide, is this going to be okay or is this going to be bad? It’s important to notice that inclination to “choose” a side.

But be careful if you do because attaching to either one disqualifies the other and therefore disqualifies the gut feelings and the minds reactions. Instead allow yourself to have vastly different feelings and thoughts at any time.

Accept your negative feelings and thoughts and also your positive ones. Let yourself feel the spectrum of the human emotions.

No one said this would be easy.

No one said you will have all of the right answers.

You are allowed to worry, be afraid and also find reassurance through hope and love.

It’s okay to see this time as an opportunity...

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