Health and Wellness

Stress Less – Blog Series to Help Lower Stress

Stress Less - Blog Series at Better on a Budget


In my newest blog series, Stress Less, I will be sharing some of my personal favorite tips, tricks, and ideas for lowering stress in my daily life.


Why stress?


I’ve always struggled to handle stress well.  I like to say that I’ve got a “low stress tolerance”.  :)    A little over 7 years ago, my son was diagnosed with Autism.  Just a month previous, he’d been diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, and I began having chest pains that were later diagnosed as Pleurisy.  2 weeks after his autism diagnosis, he had his first seizure.  It was a time of a lot of stress, and my body did not handle it well.  I spent the next 4 years being in constant pain.  Migraines, joint pain, digestive struggles, you name it.  I had my gall bladder removed, was put on prescription medication for acid reflux for a year, had a biopsy in which we found 3 ulcers, and still was not getting better.  I finally was tested for Celiacs, and that test came back inconclusive.  I still tried going gluten free, and saw a world of difference.  Unfortunately, it was temporary.  About 6 months after going gluten free, I started experiencing joint pain again.  Almost immediately following began the digestive troubles, and a crazy lack of energy.  I soon found myself stressed and depressed again.  I struggled for a couple more years until last year I went to see an endocrine specialist.  I spent 6 months and over $6,000 out of pocket to be given extensive testing and to fix what was wrong.  I was finally gaining my health back!


And then I started my new job 2 months ago.  In the last two months, I’ve seen a complete reversal in my healing.  My adrenal glands began struggling, my thyroid fell apart, the pre-diabetes that I had rid myself of had come back.  Life got stressful, and I felt the effect, big time.  And so, I decided I have to do something about it, and do something NOW.


Maybe your story isn’t as obviously tied to stress as mine is.  Maybe you’re suffering way more than I could imagine due to stress.  Whatever your situation, I want to share what I have learned (and am still learning) about managing and lowering stress…for our health’s sake!

Live with Less Stress

I hope you’ll join me as I delve a little deeper into different topics.  Share with me your thoughts, and your ideas.  Feel free to comment below with questions and/or topic ideas.  I want to make this a valuable resource, not just for myself, but for you as well.  Let’s stop stressing, and let’s start living.

Talk soon,



P.S. Be sure to check out 10 Simple and Affordable Ways to Lower Stress as well.  We’ll be talking more about these!

Got Stress? 10 Simple, Affordable Ways to Combat It 2 comments

10 Simple, Affordable Ways to Lower StressStress.

It’s everywhere.  We all experience it…some of us more often than we should.  And man, it’s dangerous stuff when it’s something that is being constantly experienced.

I know from personal experience that stress is a major health destroyer…and I know I’m not alone.  Obviously it’s good to have adrenaline pumping in a dangerous situation, but when it’s constantly going, it’s going to cause problems.  What kinds of problems?

Well, for me personally, it turned into adrenal dysfunction (my adrenal glands stopped working properly), thyroid damage, and chronic inflammation (including in the gut, which was stopping my body from being able to absorb nutrients like Iron and Vitamin D).  It felt like migraines, and joint pain, and mind-numbing exhaustion.  It looked like crawling up the stairs because my knees hurt too bad, and like falling asleep sitting on the toilet in the middle of the day.  It sounded like me crying because I didn’t know how I was going to get out of bed, or of me yelling at my kids because I was SO TIRED and wanted to be left alone.StressSymptoms

I know I’m not alone.  The world we live in is chaotic.  Everyone is just so dang busy, and it seems like most of us are struggling to make ends meet.  There are more demands on our time and money, and it just seems to be too much at times.  How can we change that?  The sad reality is that we cannot often change our stressful circumstances.  We can’t just up and quit a job that is causing stress.  We can’t stop raising our special needs children.  We can’t stop thinking about money…as much as we’d like to.

So… what CAN we do to combat stress?  I absolutely believe that we can still fight for our health and peace of mind.  While it may be ideal for us to quit a stressful job or to take more time off work, that may not be realistic.  I believe that if we cannot change our circumstances, we can at least change how we are dealing with them.  How?  Read on:

  •  Eat every 3 hours.  Yep.  When you eat every 3 hours, you keep your blood sugar steady, and guess what?  That lowers the stress on your body.  Keeping blood sugar levels steady allows your body to relax more, because it’s not on alert to start pumping insulin, or to stop, etc.  Make sense?


  • Drink a LOT of water.  The recommended amount by most experts is half of your body weight in ounces (if you weigh download (1)140 lbs, divide that in half and convert to ounces, so 70 ounces/day would be your goal) per day.  How does this combat stress?  It helps your body to flush out toxins, to digest, and more.  Again, if we can’t stop the emotional stressors in our lives, we can certainly help our body to deal with the physical stressors on our bodies.


  • Laugh.  At the risk of sounding, well, weird, I am so, SO grateful for Jimmy Fallon.  I personally love to watch segments from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on YouTube.  I don’t have time to watch an entire episode at a time, and frankly, I’m usually in bed by the time it airs, so I fit a segment in here and there.  It is an amazing and wonderful feeling to laugh OUT LOUD after a stressful day at work.  My load feels a little bit lighter after having a good belly laugh.


  • Meditate.  This is one that is free and doesn’t take much time at all.  It can, however, be difficult to shut your mind off…at least it is for me.  I find that I do better if I simply listen to “meditation” or “relaxation” music from YouTube.  Having the soft music gives my mind something to focus on, so that I can let go of the hectic thoughts I usually have running through my head.


  • download (2)Take a bath.  Not only is it a mental relaxer, you can turn an ordinary bath into a truly therapeutic, healing bath by adding some special touches.  Maybe throw in some epsom salt and essential oil for a nice detox blend.  Perhaps you can light a few candles and turn the lights down.  There are so many wonderful options.


  • Avoid as much stress as possible.  We’ve talked about how difficult this can be, because we can’t always change our circumstances.  Don’t watch the news or drama TV shows.  Combine errands so you’re not out on the roads as often.  Apologize quickly to avoid fights.  Do whatever you can!


  • Watch your favorite movie genre.  You can avoid spending a penny by borrowing movies from the library.  You may love a good action movie, or a comedy.  I personally love inspirational movies based on true stories.  They usually put me in the mindset that I can indeed work harder, try again, and keep going.


  • Breathe deeply.  Breathing slowly, deeply, and engaging the stomach can reduce stress.  Yes, it really can!


  • Light a candle.  Or plug in a Scentsy warmer.  Or diffuse your favorite essential oil into the air.  Scent is powerful, and can change the mood/feel of a room, which can in turn influence your emotions for the better.


  • Avoid sugar and processed foods.  I know, I’m no fun. :)  Realize, though, that those types of foods put stress on your body, as it forces your body to try and digest and find nutrients from foods that aren’t very nutrient-dense.  Avoid adding this stressor to your body!


10 Simple ways to lower stress

There are so many other things we can do to combat stress and to improve our mental/emotional health.  Over the next several weeks, I will be going into more detail about the ideas listed above and sharing more.  Do what you can NOW to fight stress.  I’m telling you, your health, your peace of mind, is worth it.  YOU are worth it.


Meditation Music

I believe firmly in the power of relaxation and meditation.  My son has recently begun seeing the positive effects it has in his life.


My boy is 8 years old, and he has autism, sensory processing disorder, and anxiety.  Finding things to help him relax can be hard, but when we find something, it’s most definitely worth the search!  The video I’m sharing with you below is one of his favorites.  I massage him at least once a week while playing this video and music.  The melody has become familiar to everyone in my family, and we all relax automatically upon hearing it, because our minds and bodies know it means the lights will be low and there will be some awesome back rubs happening. :)



Getting in Shape on a Budget – Jump Rope, Anyone?

I am a person who will never own a gym membership.


I simply can’t justify the cost.  I know there are cool exercise machines that I don’t have at home, and I know that going to a gym helps you really be in the zone while working out…but I just can’t convince myself that it’s worth the cost when I can get a perfectly good workout at home.

There are SO many affordable options out there for getting in shape at home.  Some products require a one-time purchase, and then you’re working out for free.  Other options are completely free.  It doesn’t cost a thing to walk around the neighborhood in shoes you already own!  It doesn’t cost a thing to do push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, or burpees!

I won’t lie, I do have a few small pieces of equipment that I use and love.  I own a couple of exercise DVDs.  They’ve been well worth the cost.  I own a couple sets of dumbbells and an exercise ball.  I own a jump rope.  I LOVE to jump rope, but my wrists tend to get sore when using them a lot….until I found this one:

The rope rotates inside the handle so smoothly that there is no need for me to turn my wrist to compensate the rope turning. I LOVE that about it. It’s really easy to cut to your own personal size, too. Simply unscrew the “cap” from the handle and cut the actual rope to size. My kids both love it and keep trying to steal it from me, but I guess I’m okay with that. :) It seems like a durable rope, and I am getting a lot of use out of it!  The best part is that you can get it on Amazon for a little over $12!


Still need some ideas?  Here are some of my favorite free or affordable workout options and gear:



*I received the jump rope free in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions are mine alone.  NONE of the links posted are affiliate links; I will receive NO compensation if they are clicked on.  I simply like the products. :)
What are YOUR favorite ways to get exercise?


1 Good Thing to Use “Cheap” Essential Oil For

Y’all know how I love my essential oils and natural living products. :)


essentialoilI’m a big believer in saving money, but I’m also a big believer in getting quality products.  Buying a cheap essential oil isn’t going to be worth the money that buying pharmaceutical-grade is, in some cases.  I try to buy high quality essential oils from trusted resources.  If I’m going to spend money, I want to know it’s going toward something worth the money!!


That being said, I realize that money is tight for many.  The idea of spending $20 – $90 or more on a small bottle of essential oil is intimidating.  I mean, holy cow, do you know how many groceries I can buy for that much money?  It’s actually a lot like the grocery dilemma:  the higher quality, non GMO, organic foods cost more, and it can be hard to justify spending the extra $$$, even when we believe it’s better for us.


When is it okay to use a more affordable essential oil?  I would never recommend doing so when you are using it for health purposes.  If you are ingesting or applying topically, I think it’s worth using the good stuff.  Our bodies are worth it.  I do feel, however, that at times, it’s okay to go for the more affordable option.


For example, I have a big bottle of lemon essential oil.  It’s labeled “Pure”, but not food-grade or pharmaceutical-grade.  It is 4 oz (114 ml), so much bigger than the standard 5-15 ml bottles.  Yet it costs less than the typical $15 (for 15 ml) or so price.  I love it and use it all the time.  Wanna know when?  I use it in my bathroom.  I usually deposit a drop or two in my toilet bowl to keep it fresh.  I do it each day, as well as in between big restroom breaks. :)  It’s cheaper than Poo-Pourri, and works just as well, ha ha.   I also use a bigger tea tree oil bottle and put a few drops or so in my garbages every once in awhile.  It really helps to deodorize.


What are situations that you feel a more affordable EO option is worth it?

The Healthy Mind Cookbook – Review

Eating for brain health?  I’ll drink eat to that!  I was very excited to read this new cookbook from Rebecca Katz.


9781607742975About the Book (from the website):

In The Healthy Mind Cookbook, Rebecca Katz has harnessed the latest research on the brain to identify the foods that can improve the brain’s ability to control cognition, emotion, and physical function—all of which dictate memory and mood. She then translates the very best of brain science into the kitchen, using delicious nutrient-dense foods as a tool for promoting a healthy mind from childhood through the golden years. 

With a culinary pharmacy listing the benefits of key ingredients, complete nutritional details for each dish, and flavor-packed recipes for every meal of the day, including Avocado and Citrus Salad, Sweet Potato Hash, Turkish Lamb Sliders, and Chocolate Cherry Walnut Truffles, The Healthy Mind Cookbook will help lift the fog of everyday life so you can reach your full physical and mental potential.


Oh, my.  The recipes look AMAZING.  The pictures are absolutely beautiful.  There are so many wonderful, delicious meal options, even for me with all of my dietary needs.  I love that the author(s) include an introduction, explaining some of the science behind the book, without taking up too much time and space.  It seems that a lot of health cookbooks are filled halfway with the science and reasoning, and then you’ve only got half a book left for a few recipes.  This book provides information, but not overwhelmingly so, and the focus is on creating good recipes.  I cannot wait to try some myself, especially the tonics and elixirs.  Food-wise, I think the Quinoa Turkey Meatballs and the Meyer Lemon Pudding recipes will be the first that I try.


* I received a complimentary copy of the book from Blogging for Books for the purposes of this review.  NO monetary compensation was received.  The opinions are mine alone.


Sleep Better With NeuroBeats

*I received a complimentary digital download for the purposes of this review.  All opinions are mine alone:



Sleep.  It’s CRITICAL to health.  But it’s so hard to get enough, it seems!  I’ve always made getting 8 hours of sleep a priority, and have made the time, but sometimes most of the time, my body argues.  I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and be up for hours, or I’ll have a hard time falling asleep in the first place.  It makes me crazy, and I know I’m not alone!!


I can feel a HUGE difference when I get a good night’s sleep, and not just mentally.  My digestive system works better when I’m rested.  I swear!  I never realized those two things could be related, but I have experienced less bloating and pain when I am well rested.  I’ve had stomach aches and nausea go away after taking a long nap, more times than I can count.  Sleep is important, and we have got to make it a priority if we are going to find better health!


resize_18ad3bdf6416566cb232fc60e78702fe19e9c61dea4f66fb0ad460d6656db762ad0c1689256256Let me introduce you to a possible option:  NeuroBeats.  It is a  Digital Supplement: Sleep Better.  Seriously, a DIGITAL supplement!  NeroBeats claims that just by listening to their album you will improve your sleep quality.  Sounds great right?
They use technology based on neuroscience studies which you can easily find on their website.  So how does it work?

To start sleeping better, just listen to Sleep Better for 30 minutes before going to bed, with quality stereo headphones. Keep this routine for 2 weeks.


I’ve tried it out for myself, and it’s really interesting.  I listen with the headphones and I don’t actually hear much.  I thought I’d be listening to music, but no…it’s like I’m hearing sound waves or something.  I don’t feel like I’m getting sleepy while listening or anything, but each time that I’ve listened before going to bed, I’ve managed to stay asleep longer.  Whether it’s a coincidence or not, I’m not completely sure yet, but I’m certainly planning to continue trying it out to see if I can feel a big difference as I continue listening on a consistent basis.  I will certainly update as I continue using.  For now, I’m definitely intrigued, and feel it well worth my time to continue.   Here’s to our health!



Total Tea Herbal Energy – Giveaway! 6 comments

*I received a complimentary sample of the product for the purpose of this review.  NO monetary compensation was received, and the opinions are mine alone.


Total Tea Herbal Energy is a unique blend of herbs created to promote energy and reduce mental fatigue. Plus it’s all-natural and packed with antioxidants.

  • 100% Natural Herbal Energy Tea Aid
    Increase Energy, Boost Stamina and Antioxidants
    Guayusa, Green Tea, Cinnamon Bark, Eleuthero Root, Ginsing Root
    No artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
    Gluten Free & Kosher Certified + Weight Control


I love a good herbal tea.  Herbal teas can provide so many health benefits, and I’m all about improving my health naturally, as you know.  I’m not a purist, however, and I have to add sweetener to my teas.  That’s okay, right?  I’m using homegrown stevia or raw honey, depending on what I’m in the mood for.  The taste of this tea is pleasant and calming to me.  The smell is divine!  I like to drink some in the afternoon when I hit my afternoon “slump”, or in the morning with breakfast.  Besides helping me to “up” my water intake, it provides an additional energy boost with the green tea and other ingredients like cinnamon bark and ginseng root.  Here is a little more information about each of the ingredients, in case you are interested:

  • Guayusa – Contains L-theanine, a glutamic acid analog found in green tea that has been shown to reduce physical and mental stress.
  • Green Tea – Increases metabolism. Polyphenol found in green tea works to intensify levels of fat oxidation. Helps regulate glucose levels slowing the rise of blood sugar after eating
  • Cinnamon Bark – Contains antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral, antispasmodic, and anti-fungal properties.
  • Eleuthero Root – A strong antioxidant. Referred to as adaptogen – and immune system, memory energy stimulant.
  • Ginseng Root – Soothes the nervous system. Decreases blood sugar. Stimulates the endocrine system.


If you like tea, you’d better get excited, because we are giving away a package of this Total Tea to one lucky reader!!  YAY. 😀  Enter below.  Open in the USA only.  Ends June 10…Good luck!!
Total Tea Herbal Energy Giveaway

IM Health – Integrative Diabetes Program

As you may recall, I had a health scare last summer.  I had been sick and fatigued, and things were just getting worse.  I’d gone to my “regular” doctor and was told that there was nothing wrong with me, and that the good news was that I wasn’t pregnant.  I asked for more tests, and was told that they didn’t have time to talk to me….my 5 minutes worth of appointment was up.


It was one of the most frustrating days of my life.  How dare my doctor not listen to me?  How dare she write me off like it was all in my head?  I KNEW there was something going on, and so I found a holistic doctor who, although not covered by insurance (of course) was willing to take the time to talk to me and to dig until we found the problem.


And problems we found…severe adrenal dysfunction, red blood cell degeneration (not enough oxygen in my blood cells), inflammation throughout my body, severe anemia, low vitamin D levels, unusually high calcium levels, 13 food sensitivities, and pre-diabetes.




That one, I confess, stood out to me.  I hadn’t expected that.  And it scared the living daylights out of me.  I was given a holistic approach (you know, a LIFESTYLE CHANGE) and I worked my butt off sticking with it.


4 months later, I had all my tests done again, and I had made significant improvements.  My iron levels, although still low, had more than doubled.  My vitamin D levels had tripled.  My cholesterol had improved.  I was absorbing nutrients better.  Inflammation had lowered.  All of my numbers improved.  And the pre-diabetes?  I had reversed it.




Guys, I’m a HUGE believer in treating problems, especially pre-diabetes, from the inside out.  I’ve lived it.  It can be done.  I paid over $6,000 out of pocket (and I’m still paying it) in order to turn my life around.  I’d do it again in a heartbeat.  I probably would have looked for a more affordable option, however. :)


Did you know that 35% of people in the US have diabetes or pre-diabetes?  That’s more than 1 in 3!!  A lot of people don’t even know it, just like I didn’t.  That is SCARY.  I’ve lived it, and I’ve beaten it, and I’ve found a program ONLINE that is MUCH more affordable than the route I took, and I feel strongly enough about it that I want to share it with you.



IM Health offers an integrative Diabetes and Pre Diabetes reversal program.  They are online, which means no matter where you are in the world, if you have a phone and internet connection, you can participate.  This program has made remarkable and PROVEN strides in reducing/improving blood sugar levels in patients.


All people who have diabetes and pre-diabetes have access to this program, which includes: ­

  •     Comprehensive holistic diabetes education from some of the best experts in the country.
  •     Delicious and nutritious diet plan including many easy to prepare recipes.
  •     Stress reduction and gentle exercise program designed specifically for people with diabetes & pre-diabetes
  •     A personal certified integrative medicine health coach to guide you through the personal healthcare transformation process.


Screen-Shot-2014-10-27-at-11.48.49-AMBest of all, they offer a FREE consultation with a Life Coach.  FREE!  I actually had a consultation myself, and was able to speak with a coach.  It was some of the most insightful 30 minutes of the year for me!  My coach, Linda, helped me to see the origin of some of a problem I chose to discuss, and then helped me to set goals (specific, action steps) to address the issue.



Like I said, the consultation is completely free.  It’s worth your time to learn more and see if it’s something that you, or a loved one, could use.  Diabetes is no joke!  It’s out of control, and we’ve got to do something to fix it!  They offer payment plans and you can use a health savings or flex spending account.  It’s MUCH less money than the $6,000 program I paid for.  Like 85% less!  I wish I’d known about this program last year.


I’m telling you, this is worth looking into.  You are worth it.  Your health is worth it.  Don’t become a victim to this epidemic.  GO HERE to learn more about the company and their program.  Heck, schedule a consultation while you’re there if you feel so inclined.  And if you do, tell them I sent you.  Let ME know how it goes.  I’d love to hear your success stories – all of them!  I changed my life.  I know anyone else can too.

Sorry for the long post.  I feel SO strongly about this.  I simply couldn’t stop typing!  :)  Let’s get control of our health as a nation….once and for all.

Tea Tree Oil Benefits – Natural Living 17 comments

As you know, I’ve been using more essential oils as part of my quest for more natural living.  I love so many of them.  There is one oil in particular, that I am extra fond of.  It is tea tree oil.  Let me tell you a little about it:


  Tea Tree Oil is one of the most versatile essential oils.  It naturally fights acne, toenail fungus, lice, yeast infections, skin tags, cold sores, dandruff, ringworm, fleas, warts, psoriasis, and more.

You can use it to make your own shampoo, lotion, soap, face cleaner, body wash, and toothpaste.

It is a powerful disinfectant, and can be used to make all natural household cleaners, detergents, shower sprays, bathroom disinfectants, and kitchen sprays.

Every large 4 ounce bottle from Apothecary Extracts comes with a FREE 100 PAGE GUIDE. They provide you with all the ways to use tea tree oil to improve your life, and replace harmful cleaners around the house.
Many essential oils are diluted to cut costs. Apothecary Extracts insists on the absolute best quality. They have the tests to prove their Tea Tree Oil’s purity and potency.


I have used Tea Tree Oil for most of my life.  I never liked the smell, but after years of being exposed to it, the potency of the smell doesn’t bother me as much anymore.  Spiders also seem to hate the smell, and I know a lot of family and friends who use it as a spider deterrent in their homes.

I am ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED of the goodness of this oil.  My mom had gum disease and needed surgery, it was so bad.  She couldn’t afford it, so she began saving up.  At the same time, she started using a toothpaste with Tea Tree Oil in it.  When she went back into the dentist months later, she was told that she no longer needed the surgery because she’d improved so much!


Another time when my son was 1, I was cooking bacon.  He came up behind me as I was grabbing the hot plate full of bacon and bacon grease, and tripped me.  The grease dropped all over his face!  We both screamed and after keeping a cold wet rag on him for 10 minutes, I applied Tea tree Oil to his face.  He cried and didn’t like the smell, but 2 minutes later he stopped crying and 30 minutes later you couldn’t even tell he’d been burned.  Yes, I believe in the power of this potent oil, and I’d recommend that EVERYONE have a bottle in their household, as long as it’s a brand they trust.  I’ve used this oil in shampoos for my dermatitis, for bug bites and cuts, to disinfect my kitchen sink/fridge/etc, and so much more.  I will never be without it!


Wanna win your own bottle? Well, then enter below. Good luck!!

Apothecary Extracts Tea Tree Oil

*I received a bottle of the product in exchange for an honest review.  No monetary compensation was received.  The opinions are mine alone!