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Christina Tri is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) providing services to adults and couples at our Chicago-South Michigan Avenue location. She believes mental health is as important as physical health, and that anyone can benefit from counseling. You can read her full bio here!

To schedule an appointment with Christina, please contact our intake department.

See below for more information about Christina!

What self-care techniques or activities do you do?

Taking walks along the lakefront, keeping a “daily wins” log (helps keeps things in perspective), journaling daily to process thoughts/feelings, meditation/mindfulness, listening to podcasts on self-care, and spending time with animals.

What made you become a therapist?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been a “helper” and have always wanted to help people live happier, more fulfilling lives. Therefore, it seemed like a natural fit! I honestly cannot see myself doing anything else as a career.

What are your specialties?

Chronic health issues/invisible illness, anxiety, depression, and self-esteem.

Why do you believe that counseling can help?

I believe counseling can help anyone and everyone at any point in their lives. Counseling can help a person learn new ways to cope, explore different perspectives, experience personal growth, and have a space where one can process in a safe, non-judgmental, and nurturing environment.

Why is it important to seek counseling?

It’s important to seek counseling because you don’t have to go through life’s challenges and obstacles alone; psychotherapists are there to provide you support and partner with you in your journey.

The post Therapist Spotlight: Christina Tri, LCPC appeared first on Urban Balance.

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Meal prepping can save you time and money, but did you know it can reduce your stress? Indeed, having go-to meals throughout the week can help you feel more productive. The money you save will also ease your stress when you look at your bank account each week. It’s a winning solution from all angles.

In this guide, we will provide some meal prep tips to keep your stress to a minimum.

What Is Meal Prepping?

Meal prepping is the process of making meals in advance. Some people do this for portion control. Others do it for convenience. Others prepare meals to ensure they have access to healthy food throughout the week. The reasons to meal prep are endless, and the best news is, anyone can do it!

Choose Recipes You’ll Actually Want to Eat

If you meal prep a week of food that you don’t like, it’s going to go to waste. Inevitably, you will find an excuse to grab food on the way. As you search through recipes, think about the foods you actually enjoy eating. If there is a frozen meal you love, try recreating it with fresh ingredients. If there is a style of food you love, look for corresponding recipes. As long as you select food that will save well in the fridge, you’ll have meals to look forward to.

Note: It’s also important to choose recipes you’ll want to make. If you know you’re not a fan of cooking, don’t choose a multi-hour meal from scratch. Select recipes that accommodate your taste, your skillset and your overall availability.

Decide Which Meals You Want to Prepare

Do you want to make breakfast, lunch and dinner, or only a couple of meals? You may prefer eating a protein bar for breakfast, so there’s no need to prepare that. You may get free lunch from work, so all you need to focus on is dinner. Think about which meals you would like to eat throughout the week so you can make a solid plan.

Be Realistic with Portions

Prepare the right amount of food to accommodate your recipes. Don’t make 8 portions of a recipe that you’ll only eat 4 times. Conversely, you won’t want to make 2 portions of a meal you’ll want all week long. Think about how much food you will need for each meal and how many times you will want that meal in the week.

Dedicate Multiple Hours to Meal Prep

Plan your meal prepping for a day with plenty of free time. You will probably spend at least two hours cooking, separating and cleaning. You will be saving time in the long run because you won’t have to worry about cooking throughout the week.

Make Versatile Ingredients Instead of Whole Meals

If you have a hard time eating the same meal several times over, consider cooking ingredients instead. For example, you could cook two pounds of ground beef. Then eat the ground beef in tacos, spaghetti, beef stroganoff, nachos, and any number of other dishes. Cook versatile ingredients that can be used in many different meals. Then all you have to do is assemble those dishes when the time comes.

Plan for Your Eat-Out Meals

If you know you’re going to eat out a few times during the week, plan for that. For instance, you may have family dinners on Friday. You don’t need to prep a dinner meal for Friday then. If you think you’ll get tired of eating pre-made meals for lunch, allow yourself one or two lunches from your favorite places. You don’t have to avoid eating out entirely. Meal prepping just encourages you to eat out less.

Expect a Learning Curve

If you’ve never meal prepped before, it may take a few weeks to get into a routine. You’ll need to figure out what your potions look like, what you actively want to eat, what saves well (and what doesn’t), and what types of recipes work best for your lifestyle. With a little planning, you can create a week of stress-free meals in your fridge.

The post Meal Prep Tips That Reduce Stress appeared first on Urban Balance.

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Supporting a Loved One Living with Chronic Pain

Date: Wednesdays for 6 sessions: September 19 – October 23, 2019

Time: 6:30pm – 7:30pm

Location: Urban Balance Evanston: 990 Grove St, Suite 303, Evanston, IL 60201

Cost: Most insurance plans cover group therapy including Aetna, BCBS, Cigna, Humana and United.  Our billing department will verify your insurance benefits and notify you of any estimated copay and/or coinsurance amounts as with any other therapy session.  For clients not using health insurance, self pay and sliding scale rates for those who qualify are also available.  Please contact intake@ for your benefit quote today.

Description: When you have a close relationship with someone living with a chronic illness, you may be impacted by their struggles. Day to day functioning, such as important conversations, making plans, and sharing responsibilities can be challenging. This group is designed to support caregivers and others supporting those who are chronically ill. Group participants can expect to share their stories, increase their resilience, and gain effective coping skills.

Group Objectives:

  • Engage in discussion with participants to strengthen support system
  • Identify coping strategies to reduce stress and increase resilience
  • Learn how to create healthy boundaries to provide support, while also maintaining self-care
  • Explore uncertainty and/or fears regarding loved one’s health and impact on relationship

For more information email Joe Flint: jflint@urbanbalance.com

Download (PDF, 1.08MB)

The post Urban Balance Group Starting In the Fall: Supporting A Loved One Living with Chronic Pain appeared first on Urban Balance.

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Grief Support Group

Date: Tuesdays from July 23rd- August 27th, 2019

Time: 6:00pm – 7:00pm

Cost: Most insurance plans cover group therapy including Aetna, BCBS, Cigna, Humana and United.  Our billing department will verify your insurance benefits and notify you of any estimated copay and/or coinsurance amounts as with any other therapy session.  For clients not using health insurance, self pay and sliding scale rates for those who qualify are also available.  Please contact intake@urbanbalance.com for your benefit quote today.

Location: Urban Balance River West, 935 West Chestnut Street, Suite 204, Chicago, IL 60642

Description: In a culture where it can be difficult to talk about loss, this grief support group offers a space where you can talk freely and without judgment. During the weekly group sessions, you will also be able to find companionship from others who may understand what you are experiencing and develop coping strategies.

Group Objectives:

  • Receive support and understanding in a safe, nonjudgmental environment
  • Share your story and listen to the experiences of others
  • Develop new coping skills to take care of yourself
  • Learn about how grief affects others who are also experiencing loss

For more information, please contact Sue Schwendener at sschwendener@urbanbalance.com

Download (PDF, 1.02MB)

The post Urban Balance Grief Support Group At River West! appeared first on Urban Balance.

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Your morning routine sets the tone for the day. Minimal stress, maximum productivity – that’s what we want you to enjoy every single morning. Check out these morning routine tips for better mental health.

Establish a Consistent Wake-up Time

Waking up around the same time every morning will make it easier to go to bed and wake up each day. Your body will learn your habits, and your mind will thrive with predictable comfort. Choose a time to wake up every morning, allowing plenty of time for the rest of your morning routine. Early wake-up times tend to yield the most productive days, but not everyone was meant to wake up at 5:00 AM.

Gradually Introduce Your Eyes to Light

If possible, avoid bright light right when you open your eyes. You may turn on your tableside lamp, then transition to your bathroom or bedroom light. You may open the curtains slightly, then open the blinds after a while. Bright light can jolt your brain, making you feel disoriented when you wake up.

Don’t Check Your Phone First Thing in the Morning

When you first wake up, don’t immediately jump on your phone. This will get you trapped in the social media scroll, and it will encourage you to stay in bed. Try starting your day with a shower, some fresh coffee, meditation, a morning jog…anything that gets you up and moving. Save your phone time for later, which you have more motivation behind you.

Prepare for the Morning at Night

If you feel rushed to get to work, you’re starting the day flustered. Give yourself an easy morning by preparing the night before. Set out your clothes, pre-pack your lunch, and get the coffee maker ready to kick-on. Instead of saying, “I’ll do that tomorrow,” find as many ways to do tomorrow’s tasks today. You will wake up feeling accomplished, which will make the entire day that much easier.

Eat Breakfast

Getting some protein in your system first thing will naturally boost your energy levels. You don’t have to eat a big breakfast. A smoothie and a protein bar are sufficient. Whatever you do, make sure you plan to eat breakfast before starting your day. You can even prepare a meal the night before, such as overnight oats. This frees your mind to focus on other elements of your morning routine.

Play Energizing Music or Listen to an Uplifting Podcast

These are great ways to get you in the right mindset for the day. Listen to music that makes you feel good, or put on a motivational podcast. If you watch TV in the morning, choose a program that is going to put you in good spirits.

Make a Plan for the Day

Quickly make a list of tasks for the day. Break them up into timeslots: morning, afternoon, early evening. Allow a sufficient amount of time for each task, with breaks in between. Be realistic about your abilities and the time available for you. Then you can check off each task as you accomplish it.

The post The Morning Routine for Better Mental Health appeared first on Urban Balance.

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Dr. Chavaux Turnbull is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Missouri. She has over 25 years of experience in various clinical settings, including outpatient counseling providing individual, group, marital and family services, inpatient treatment, crisis intervention and substance abuse, as well as serving in mental health leadership roles. You can read her full bio here!

To schedule an appointment with her, please contact our intake department.

See below for more information about Therese!

What self-care techniques or activities do you do?

Camping, hiking, mountains, rafting, reading, and watching comedy.

What made you become a therapist?

My older brother struggled with mental health issues and I decided I wanted to become a helper to those who need support. I also have a teaching degree and a Ph.D in Counselor Education so that I may teach and support our next generation of therapists.

What are your specialties?

Attachment, anxiety, depression, relationships, and child/adolescent issues.

Why do you believe that counseling can help?

Because of the power of personal connection, a safe space to feel, talk, and interact without judgement.

Why is it important to seek counseling?

To keep one’s life balanced, and to navigate the bumps, hills and mountains of life.

The post Therapist Spotlight: Therese Chavaux Turnbull, Ph.D., LPC appeared first on Urban Balance.

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You just finished college. This is supposed to be the best time of your life! So…why are you so sad?

Post-graduation depression (aka post-grad depression) is a common experience after college or graduate school. Some high school seniors also face depression before entering college. What is post-grad depression, and what can you do to combat it? Here are some tips from Urban Balance counseling centers.

Common Causes of Post-Grad Depression

Post-grad depression is rooted in anxiety. You’re embarking on a new chapter in your life, filled with unknowns. Will you be good at your new job? Will you like the city you’re moving to? Will you actually find a job you loved? Was your education worth all your hard work?

The depression may also come from the recent changes in your life. For instance, graduating may have pushed you into a new environment, away from your old support system. Your college friends may be moving away to start their own journeys. You may feel like your progress is delayed in comparison to your fellow classmates. Self-doubt, loneliness, unfamiliarity – these are all factors that contribute to depression.

Signs of Post-Graduation Depression

Now that we know the sources of post-grad depression, we can evaluate the warning signs of it. You may be…

  • Disorganized or easily flustered by a new task
  • Unmotivated to do even the smallest tasks throughout the day
  • Tired, regardless of how much sleep you get
  • Wasting time and procrastinating
  • Reaching out to negative influences, just to achieve some sort of support system
  • Irritable or experiencing frequent mood swings

Some graduates say they just feel ‘off.’ If you’re not feeling like yourself, you might be in the midst of a depressive episode. Follow the tips below to learn how to move forward in a positive manner.

How to Overcome Post-Grad Depression

Every person has a unique experience after graduation. You have to find the coping strategies that work well for you. Here are some tips to overcome depression after graduation:

  • Establish routines. You had routines in college, and now those routines are gone. The mind and body thrive in a structured environment. Establish meal times, sleep times, fun times, and other scheduling elements that work with your new life.
  • Maintain contact with your old support system. You can develop a new support system as well, but be careful who you trust. Don’t lean on a toxic person just because you feel lonely right now. Instead, keep in touch with your old friends while you work on finding new ones.
  • Talk to a therapist. A therapist can help you find coping strategies specific to your lifestyle, personality and experiences. Therapy also gives you a reliable foundation for your support system. Work through your mental health struggles, and find solutions for obstacles in your future.
  • Acknowledge your accomplishments. You’re a college graduate! Remember how hard you’ve worked to get here, and be proud of where you are right now.
  • Set realistic goals. If you feel unmotivated, make a list of personal goals. Break them down into small, manageable steps. If your goal is to get a certain job, commit to filling out a certain amount of applications per day. You can’t predict the outcome of those applications, but you can control the effort you put into them.
  • Find something to get excited about. It could be something as simple as having a washer and dryer in your new apartment. You need a light at the end of the tunnel – something that showcases the positive side of this life transition. Look for positives through every change, and you’ll find the drive to get through the day.

If you’d like to see a depression therapist near you, contact Urban Balance: (888) 726-7170.

The post What Is Post-Grad Depression? appeared first on Urban Balance.

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Gretchen Koenig is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who earned her Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Chapman University, Orange. She has been in practice for over 15 years, with focus on individuals, families and couples, and the LBGTQ population.  Gretchen works at our Denver-Centennial location, you can read her full bio here!

To schedule an appointment with her, please contact our intake department.

See below for more information about Gretchen!

What self-care techniques or activities do you do?

I road cycle, hike, knit, crochet and read.

What made you become a therapist?

Couldn’t help it! It’s my personality!

What are your specialties?

I specialize in working with couples, interpersonal relationships, and LGBTQ issues.

Why do you believe that counseling can help?

Unconditional positive regard.

Why is it important to seek counseling?

To learn to love and live free of suffering.

The post Therapist Spotlight: Gretchen Koenig, LMFT appeared first on Urban Balance.

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Traveling can be relaxing and refreshing, but it can also be incredibly stressful. If you’re worried about your mental health for an upcoming vacation, these tips from Urban Balance will help you stay on track. Read on to learn how to maintain your mental health while traveling.

Be Early for Important Travel Times

Flights, cruises, tour buses, train rides – these are some time-sensitive events you may have when you travel. Plan to be available well before your travel times in case there are any delays. Show up at least two hours before your flight departure time. If the travel time to the airport is estimated for an hour, plan for an hour and a half. The more time you give yourself, the less stress you will feel if something goes awry.

Don’t Plan Every Second of the Trip

Planning is an important part of traveling, but it can lead to extra stress. If you meticulously schedule every minute of the trip, there is little room for error. You can make a general schedule for the vacation, but give yourself plenty of flexibility. Perhaps you could make a list of activities you want to accomplish, along with approximate dates/times. Prioritize this list so you can achieve your biggest goals early on. Then you can enjoy the rest of your vacation in full relax-mode.

Schedule a Therapy Appointment Shortly before Your Trip

You may miss one or two of your weekly therapy sessions because of your trip. Ideally, you should plan for a therapy session shortly before you leave. This gives you a chance to address last-minute issues you may be facing and get a much-needed pep talk from your therapist. If you feel your stress surging, you can find comfort in the upcoming therapy session. Your therapist can give you additional mental health travel tips that are personalized for you.

Stick with Your Normal Sleep Schedule

Having a sleep routine is crucial for depression and anxiety treatment. However, you may not have the exact same sleep schedule when you’re away from home. Do your best to maintain your sleep routine while traveling. Make some accommodations to adjust to the new time zone or environment, but stay close to your normal arrangements. This will make it easier to feel comfortable, no matter where you are.

Make Checklists for Everything

Checklists are great for curbing anxiety. You know exactly what you need and exactly what you have. Before packing, make a list of everything you need to bring with you. Include medications, phone chargers, personal items, complete outfits, passports/travel documents, and all other necessities. Go through your day in your head, and think about all the objects you encounter. Make sure the appropriate ones land in your luggage. Make a duplicate checklist to take with you when you re-pack to head home.

Give Yourself a Buffer Day before and after Traveling

If possible, schedule one day off before and after traveling. This gives you a day to fully prepare for the trip and another day to unwind and readjust when you get home. If you have to immediately get into the travel mindset, you may feel overwhelmed and forgetful. Prepare for that by planning additional time off.

For more mental health tips, contact Urban Balance at (888) 726-7170. We will gladly put you in touch with a therapist near you.

The post Mental Health Travel Tips That WORK appeared first on Urban Balance.

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Turqoyz Rogahn works out of our Denver-Littleton office and is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Addictions Counselor and National Certified Counselor who earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling, with an emphasis on Couples and Family work, from the University of Northern Colorado. She has a passion for, and is experienced in, working with adolescents, adults, families and couples struggling with trauma, relationship issues, depression, anxiety, anger management, self-esteem and addictions. You can read her full bio here!

To schedule an appointment with her, please contact our intake department.

See below for more information about Turqoyz!

What self-care techniques or activities do you do?

I love to hike, travel, dance, cuddle with my dogs, listen to music, read, and workout.

What made you become a therapist?

I always wanted to have a career where I helped people, and after taking a psychology class in high school I knew that I had found the area that I wanted to pursue further and was interested in.

What are your specialties?

Trauma, relationship issues and depression.

Why do you believe that counseling can help?

Counseling gives people the opportunity to have a safe space where they can openly talk about their struggles, feel listened to and be given tools to move forward. Sometimes we all need a third party to give us insight into our life. If people are ready and willing to put in the effort, counseling can help immensely.

Why is it important to seek counseling?

Sometimes we hit a point in our lives where we need a little extra help and guidance. No one needs to go through their struggles alone.

The post Therapist Spotlight: Turqoyz Rogahn, LPC, LAC appeared first on Urban Balance.

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