The Importance of Rest with Kristen Ernst

Listen in as Lisa Baue of Your Funeral Coach is joined by her Collaborative Network Partner, Kristen Ernst, MA LPC from the Center for Hope and Healing as they discuss the importance of rest. Kristen shares mindfulness tips and tricks and how you can implement them into your practice.

By |2023-02-20T09:33:40-06:00February 20th, 2023|Podcasts|0 Comments

Caring For Yourself with Kristen Ernst

Listen in as Lisa Baue of Your Funeral Coach is joined by her Collaborative Network Partner, Kristen Ernst, MA LPC from the Center for Hope and Healing as they discuss the importance of taking better care of yourself and your team by setting wellness goals.

Wellness is a popular topic today that funeral service and owners need to pay attention to as they care for themselves and their team members. They discuss setting wellness goals and how to use them to help relieve stress in the workplace and one’s personal life. By finding ways for employees to take breaks, exercise regularly, and focus on healthy eating, employers and managers who wish to be successful in the future will need to help their company’s culture by putting wellness and mindfulness programs into their workplace to support their staff as a top priority.

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By |2022-11-09T12:55:22-06:00November 9th, 2022|Podcasts|0 Comments

Caring for Your Staff with Kristen Ernst

Join Lisa Baue and Kristen Ernst, MA, LPC as they discuss the need for employers and managers to make staff their first priority in the Caring for Your Staff Series from Your Funeral Coach Talks.

Making staff’s needs your number one goal this year is imperative to improving retention, becoming the employer of choice, and growing your business. Listen in as Lisa and Kristen share ideas about how to create a better culture of appreciation and stress relief programs Their guidance and advice will teach you how to help your staff feel better cared for and fulfilled in their most meaningful work in funeral service.

By |2022-11-09T12:54:13-06:00November 9th, 2022|Podcasts|0 Comments

Grief Support Programs During The Holidays with Kristen Ernst

Join Lisa and her guest/Collaborative Partner Kristen Ernst, MA, LPC, of the Center for Hope and Healing as they discuss what those who mourn need most and what funeral homes, cremation companies, and cemeteries can do to help them.

By |2022-11-09T12:53:08-06:00November 9th, 2022|Podcasts|0 Comments

Grief of a Child.

18 years. My son died 18 years ago. It’s been 18 years since I kissed my son’s cheek for the last time. I begin to imagine that I would be packing him up to go to college. He would be excited and nervous about the upcoming changes in his life. And I would be worried. I wonder what he would be studying. What his interests would be. I don’t know these things….I can only imagine. I DO know that I miss him everyday. The day that he died, changed my life forever. I know that although the grief has changed over the years, the sadness is just below the surface to access. I know that a large scar has formed over my womb and over my heart.

July is National Bereaved Parents Awareness Month. It is dedicated to raising the awareness about the unimaginable grief parents go through and the emotional support needed to attend to those with child loss. Parents grieve the child that once was and the potential growth that was stolen from them. A parent will mourn the child and the identity that was wrapped up in that person. There are physical symptoms to combat: tiredness, achiness, loss of appetite, numbness, anxiety, insomnia, and gut related issues. Many times, parents lose social circles, motivation, and the ability to tolerate others. In the first few years of child loss, the grief can be a grim, long and dark road that seems impossible to navigate.

Since the loss of my own son, I have attended to those mourning the loss of a child. Parents who have lost their child need a safe place to talk without cliches or religious platitudes. They need a place to feel the strong emotions without judgment or a silver lining. Many people ask,”What do you say to someone that has lost a child?” Grieving parents need your presence. They need your kind support. Sometimes, the best thing to say is nothing at all.

For those that have lost a child, know that your feelings are valid. Allow your feelings to be felt. Although they are strong, it is better to move through those emotions than numbing them.
Try to take breaks from despair. Even if it is for a brief second. Parents tend to punish themselves when experiencing any kind of joy, but dosing the grief is the only way to survive it.
Find people that make you feel seen and heard in your pain. It will not always feel the way it does at this moment. Find ways to honor your grief and honor your child. That may be in nature, a favorite picture, or a song that reminds you of them. Honor it with intention and purpose. You will never move on from this grief, but it is possible to move through it.

I am 18 years removed from that incredibly traumatic day. But my son, Aiden, is honored in my work with others, my children, and my ability to find love and joy while still holding pain. May you honor your own journey in the month of July and every morning that you open your eyes to start a new day.

By |2023-02-01T11:06:46-06:00September 20th, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Emotional Regulation

Navigating feelings of stress, anxiety and collective heaviness.

“I’ve been feeling a lot of collective heaviness…I feel it in private practice with students, teachers, parents, and also people returning to the office after working from home”. – Kristen Ernst, MA, LPC
We invite you to view this personal message from Kristen for more information.
If you are interested in attending our upcoming, Emotional Regulation Educational Webinar Series, please click the button below.
By |2021-10-15T07:38:02-05:00October 14th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

PODCAST: Addressing Mental Health Issues and Access in a Post Pandemic World

Click one of the links below to listen or download this episode of the, running eyes podcast, featuring Kristen Ernst, LPC.


Kristen Ernst, MA, LPC

Owner and Operator of the Center for Hope and Healing in St. Charles, MO

By |2021-10-14T08:25:26-05:00June 11th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

17 Years Later….A Mother in Mourning

David Kessler once said, “The greatest loss you will ever experience is your own.” As a grief counselor and educator I use that quote to validate a person’s experience and reiterate the fact that grief is unique to each individual. This past week I have reflected greatly upon the death of my own son and I hope that my grief experience provides some insight and a sense of community in your own grief journey.

My son, Aiden, was born in 2004 with a large tumor in his chest cavity. After a couple surgeries and a bunch of disappointments, we were faced with the most difficult decision to take him off life support. The day that he died was the first time that I was allowed to hold him. The moment that he was placed in my arms, he opened his eyes. I held him for hours as hot tears streamed down my face. After he died, I had the privilege of bathing him before the funeral home arrived. It was the darkest and yet, one of the most meaningful moments I have ever experienced. I remember the first few years feeling full of despair. Although I would go on to have more children, I grappled with the feeling as though I would never genuinely smile again. As we mourned, our family found ways to connect to Aiden. A family friend sketched a beautiful family portrait with Aiden in it, we always celebrated his birthday, we hung his stocking and kept his picture on our mantle. Someone once said to me in a grief group, “Grief doesn’t get easier, but we tend to get better at doing it.” I am here to say that after 17 years, there are moments of meaning, genuine joy and authentic compassion for others that are on this grief journey with me.

Aiden died on the 18th of January and was buried on the 21st. My new year begins after that time every year. I give myself time to reflect, to cry, and mourn him during those dates. I slow down and give myself a pass to get a little more sleep and work little less. My heart will always ache for him, and I have adapted to living with that pain. It is now used to provide empathy for those that carry the same heartache. If you have experienced a loss last year or 20 years ago, your love does not end for the person who died. I want to encourage you to find a few people that can hold space for your grief. The act of mourning needs to be a witnessed experience. Find those that will stand in the trenches with you. I will never forget Aiden, the lessons that he taught me, and the ongoing insight that my own grief gives me everyday. My hope is that you will find the same meaning in the midst of your pain.

Written By:

Kristen Ernst, MA, LPC

Owner and Operator of the Center for Hope and Healing in St. Charles, MO

By |2021-01-25T08:19:15-06:00January 25th, 2021|Uncategorized|3 Comments

“Not the Same New Year Resolutions”

There was not an official poll taken for this article, but most people that I speak with in private practice, grief groups, and professional and personal social circles are happy to say goodbye to the year 2020.  It has been a difficult year for so many.  Many have lost jobs, businesses and many have lost loved ones.  2020 has been a year of collective grief with no place to have intermittent moments of joy or distraction.  Without the ability to gather, many have had to sit with difficult emotions.  Many have had to dig deeper and find other methods of self- care and more creative ways to nurture each other.  A new year always brings much hope and a sense of broadening the horizon.  Many are looking forward to a return to normalcy and safety with a promising vaccine; however, this type of collective grief that we have all experienced changes us.  After a loss, grief educators explain the need for those in mourning to find a new normal.  The new normal suggests that we will never be the same.  The event has forever changed our situation, our mindset, and our way of life.

Mental health professionals know that the isolation has created an abundance of depression and anxiety for all ages.  There are many ways to boost the happy hormones produced in the brain.  Mindfulness and movement are two of the most effective ways to improve overall mental health.  Mindfulness can help improve sleep, lower blood pressure and relieve stress.  Mindfulness is slowing down and paying attention to the sights and sounds around you.  For instance, as you pour a cup of coffee in the morning, listen to the sounds as it hits your favorite mug, smell the strong aroma, observe as you pour creamer or sugar in the coffee and see the color change, and feel the warmth in your hands.  Taking a deep breath and observing these moments are just one example of how mindfulness can be created throughout your day.  Creating intentional movement in your day can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.  Taking a walk around the block, stretching in between virtual appointments, and paying attention to your breath can boost your mood in a small amount of time.  Physical exertion and mindfulness can help manage difficult emotions and can also improve memory and decreases stress.

As this difficult and tumultuous year comes to an end, Baue Funeral Homes hopes that you can take some time to practice some self-care.  New year’s resolutions are common to discuss this time of year. The staff at Baue hopes that you can take some time to slow down, be attentive to the simple things around you, and create some pockets of time for mindful movement in the new year.  After such a difficult year of collective grief, prioritizing your mental health and committing to healthier coping skills will create sense of meaning and tranquility.  Committing to improving mental health will assist in creating a new normal after the year we will never forget.


Written By:

Kristen Ernst, MA, LPC

Owner and Operator of the Center for Hope and Healing in St. Charles, MO

By |2020-12-21T12:42:05-06:00December 21st, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Creating New Traditions out of Necessity…and Trying to Make the Best of a Difficult Year

The holiday season is looking different this year amidst the pandemic.  Some families are choosing to meet outside under space heaters, or they are making gatherings smaller than usual.  People are abandoning regular traditions and inventing new ones to keep everyone as safe as possible.  Although gatherings appear to different, there are some things that never change during the holiday season.  This season tends to emote an expression of gratitude.  Whether you start a gratitude journal, say a prayer of thanksgiving, or write a card of appreciation to a loved one, these are practices that can be carried out year after year.  Practicing gratitude allows us to be mindful of those we love and helps us connect to self.  Studies have shown that practicing gratitude can even alleviate anxiety and make us feel more connected to others.  This is an important practice when everyone feels so physically isolated.

Although physical connection is limited, our meaningful relationships with others can be fostered in creative ways to boost the holiday time.  Use technology platforms to connect separate households during dinner or sing a carol or two with each other.  Donate to your family’s favorite charity to promote a common good during an especially needy time of year.  There are even online games available for a family scavenger hunt or silly sing along.

This year may not seem like years past but expressing memories to each other will nurture connection and fondness of previous years.  Start an email feed of sharing favorite recipes and memories of being together.  Create a tree decorating contest among households.  Contribute old pictures of family and friends gathering from previous years to a text thread.  Or make a favorite playlist of music for the entire family to enjoy. These activities may provide a glimmer of hope for you and your friends and family.  Although these are substitutes for gathering, the traditions may stick for years to come.


Written By:

Kristen Ernst, MA, LPC

Owner and Operator of the Center for Hope and Healing in St. Charles, MO

By |2020-12-01T08:39:09-06:00December 1st, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments
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