Health in a Minute: Art Therapy, How to Build a Budget, & More

For Her

Art Therapy

Did you know that taking time to be creative can boost your brain power while relieving stress? You don’t have to be a wildly talented artist to reap the benefits either. This is because art stimulates parts of your brain that don’t always communicate with each other to interact and even form new neurons. It can also release satisfying hormones like dopamine. Studies show that simple things you can do at home, like coloring in a coloring book or doodling, can produce the following amazing benefits to your mental health:

  • Increased self-esteem
  • Increased feeling of accomplishment
  • Boosted brain activity
  • Increased tolerance
  • Increased empathy
  • Increased creative thinking
  • Boosted brain connectivity
  • Improved quality of life
  • Lessened burden of chronic health conditions

Art therapy is also a real, clinical practice. Art therapists have certifications in both art and psychology and can offer help to patients experiencing:

  • High stress levels
  • Mental health disorder
  • Brain injury
  • Chronic illness
  • Learning disability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression


Don’t Skip Your Annual!

Be sure to visit your gynecologist at least once a year for your annual pelvic exam and at least every three years for a Pap test. While it may not be your favorite doctor’s visit, it can truly save your life. It’s also a part of maintaining responsible preventative health routines.

  • Annual gynecological exams should begin around age 15 unless there is a medical need earlier.
  • Once you turn 21, you should have a Pap test every three years to check for cervical cancer.
  • Between ages 30 and 65, you should have a Pap test and HPV test at least every 5 years.
  • Over 65, you might be able to stop testing as long as your doctor confirms that you’re low risk.

Many cancers such as ovarian, breast, and cervical have symptoms that are not always obvious. Regular screenings and doctor visits increase the chance of catching any of these serious illnesses earlier.

Sources: WebMD

For New Moms

Baby Food

The American Academy of Pediatrics calls for bottle feeding or breastfeeding exclusively for at least the first six months of your newborn’s life.

However, according to the Mayo Clinic, you can begin letting your newborn try solid foods between four and six months.

Signs that indicate your baby may be ready to try solid food include, if they are:

  • Holding their head up and steady
  • Mouthing hands or toys
  • Sitting with support
  • Interested in what you’re eating

You should consult your baby’s doctor before deciding to pursue solid food trials, but if the above list applies to your baby, it’s probably time to ask. If you’re ready to let them try some food items, the Mayo Clinic offers the following tips:

baby food
  • Start simple with one ingredient foods that contain no sugar or salt.
  • Focus on important nutrients for their age like iron and zinc.
  • Mix 1 tbsp. of iron-fortified baby cereal with formula or breast milk, help them sit up, and serve with a baby spoon.
  • Wait three to five days between each new food introduction.
  • Start with pureed vegetables, then move on to fruit.
  • At eight to 10 months, babies can begin trying finely chopped finger foods.
  • Always consult your baby’s doctor with questions or concerns.

Baby-proofing is an important step to take before your little one starts grabbing, crawling, and walking. There is a long list of circumstances to consider for your unique household. A handy resource to consult is – they have a comprehensive list of all the areas of a home to examine for safety.

They also recommend viewing the world from your baby’s perspective as a starting point for baby-proofing. Crawl around the floor, peer down from the crib, and explore your home from the angle your baby will. This will help you identify corners to cover, cabinet doors to secure, and anything else that little baby hands shouldn’t be able to reach.

Baby-Proofing Your Home

A Quick List of Items to Check:

  • Stairs
  • Electrical outlets
  • Sharp corners of furniture
  • Medications
  • Tripping hazards
  • Choking hazards
  • Harsh chemicals/cleaning products
  • Strangulation hazards (long curtain ties, loose cords, etc.)
  • Heavy items that could tip over
  • Low glass that could break

And that’s just to name a few. You can consult your baby’s doctor for resources as well.


baby boy leaning on the stairs

For Mom

Trick-or-Treating Safety Tips

Largely celebrated by children, Halloween is a holiday that provides plenty of concerns for moms. However, you can make this night less stressful on yourself and more fun for the kiddos by following these simple safety tips…

Always Trick-or-Treat with an Adult

Children 12 or younger should never be out without adult supervision. If your child is mature enough to go out on their own, they should stay with a trick-or-treating group, and in familiar, well-lit areas.

Walk Safely

  • Cross at corners and crosswalks.
  • Look left, right, then left again.
  • Teach children to make eye contact with drivers when crossing in front of them.
  • Teach children to never dart out from between parked cars.
  • Teach children to put down electronics when walking and stay on sidewalks whenever possible.
  • Watch for cars that are backing up or turning.

Make Costumes Safe

candy corn on cyan blue background
  • Use reflective tape on costumes or bags/buckets.
  • Opt for face paint over face masks to avoid obstructing child’s vision.
  • Make sure costumes won’t trip your child or catch on anything.
  • Provide children with flashlights or glow sticks.


Speeding up Your Morning Routine

Prepare the night before. It’s a no-brainer, but worth new encouragement every time. Laying out your outfit, packing all of your work essentials, getting the kids’ things together, and having a general plan for your morning will save you oodles of time when the alarm goes off.

Start your day with water. While it’s easy to head straight for the coffee pot, by starting your morning with a tall glass of water first, you’re providing hydration to your vital organs and assisting your bodily functions. Plus cold water will help you wake up.

Make a shower playlist. If you create a playlist for your allotted amount of morning shower time, when it cuts off, you’ll have an automatic reminder that it’s time to hop out. Plus you can choose uplifting tunes to start your day.

Shave with a moisturizer. Shaving with something like baby oil or lotion will protect your skin and save you a moisturizing step when you get out.

Merge two beauty steps into one. Mix your foundation with your daily moisturizer in an even ratio to save yourself the extra step. Or, even better, opt for a BB or CC cream which contains moisturizer, a light tint, and SPF for sun protection.

Save your stockings. When you’re pressed for time, not many things can be more frustrating than snagging your tights. By simply applying a layer of hairspray to the entire surface, you can reinforce their strength and add protection. Just be sure to reapply after each wash.


For The Whole Family

Camping Safety

Fall is family time, and a quintessential family activity that’s perfect for the cooler weather is camping. If you’re enjoying Chattanooga’s beautiful fall foliage and some quality family time, there are several safety tips you should keep in mind:

Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Never use a propane camping stove or heater inside a tent, camper, or any other enclosed area.

Prepare Safe Food and Water

These are the essentials, so make sure you have plenty of potable drinking water and properly stored food. This means keeping all food, cooked or raw, at appropriate temperatures and in tightly sealed, waterproof containers.

Protect Yourself from the Sun

two yellow tents in dark landscape with night sky above

Even in the fall, SPF protection is crucial to preventing skin cancer and premature aging. In addition to that, make sure, if it’s a warmer weekend, to have a place to find shade and keep yourself hydrated.

Plan for Safe Activities

Whether hiking, climbing, swimming, canoeing, or something else, camping is a perfect time for outdoor activities. Just be prepared with proper safety equipment like helmets, sturdy shoes, life jackets, etc.

Avoid Wild Animals

They are fun to observe from a distance, but avoid feeding or touching wild animals that can carry various diseases. Also, keep food sealed in containers and out of reach of animals.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Stand Up for Your Right to Stand Up

The research abounds, sitting is literally deadly. Linked in numerous studies to premature death and a long litany of other health ailments, sitting goes against the nature of the human body. It can contribute to cardiovascular degeneration, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, bone, joint, and muscle problems, mental health issues, lowered energy levels, lessened productivity and creativity, and the list doesn’t stop there.

The majority of Americans have desk jobs that leave them sitting for hours on end. Then, when we get home, we sit some more. In fact, according to, the average person sits for 12 hours a day. Maybe even more disturbing is that most research shows that your level of exercise outside of work hours has little to no impact on the negative effects sitting is having on your health.

The good news? Simply standing up can help fend off this overwhelming and sneaky health concern with great success! Here are three quick tips for ways to improve your health by changing your work culture.

Set a timer and stand up at intervals throughout the day. This could be a quick, five-minute walk around the office every half hour or a longer walk and stretching break each hour.

Opt for a sit/stand desk. The ability to raise your computer monitor allows you to keep your body engaged without taking any time away from your work. If you or your employer doesn’t want to invest in this, you can create an effective make-shift standing desk by simply stacking sturdy books or turning a waste basket over.

Move more. Use your lunch break to take a walk, walk to and from work, implement a walking and stretching break, or, if you’re fortunate enough to have this opportunity, try out a treadmill desk.


For Him

Football Fitness

Workouts you can do while watching the game

Football season is a wonderful time of year. But it does inspire a lot of sitting down and television watching throughout the weekend. The good news is, you can enjoy one of your favorite interests, and you don’t have to feel guilty about it! Check out these quick tips to stay fit while you watch your team:


That’s right. At the very least, fidget while you watch – research shows that people who fidget while they sit can burn up to 350 more calories than their immobile counterparts throughout the day.

Do Forward Facing Exercises During the Game

Squats, lunges, walking in place, curls with your free weights – these are all things you can do without interrupting your view of the play.

Do More Complicated Exercises During Commercials

Take this five to 10 minute break in your program as a challenge to see how many pushups, jumping jacks, burpees, crunches, or even stretches you can fit in.

Put Your Workout Equipment in Front of the TV

If you have a treadmill or stationary bike collecting dust somewhere, drag it out right in front of the TV. You can’t see around it, so you’ll be forced to jump on, and maybe even use it.

Your love for ESPN and SEC Network doesn’t have to equate to completely sedentary weekends. These are easy tips you can integrate into your television watching habits as much as you like. 


Packing Your Lunch

Packing your lunch and a few healthy snacks has enormous benefits to not only your health, but also your wallet! For guys who tend to grab their lunch out every day, you’re likely spending big bucks over the course of a month or two. Not to mention, eating out pretty much guarantees that you’ll be consuming significantly more calories than if you had prepared your own meal.

But it can be a hassle to wake up every morning and pack your lunch. So here are a few tips for staying on top of your midday meal game with less stress:

Mix It Up

Don’t stick to the same boring sandwich week after week just because you know how to make it. A quick web search will turn up hundreds of easy, five-ingredient meals and a variety of ideas to help you avoid burn out.

Have Convenient Containers

Having containers to pack your meals in makes all the difference to your morning routine. Just grab and go!

Plan and Prep

Often times, choosing a day on the weekend to pack five lunches and bag a few snacks is the easiest option. If you spend a few minutes each week making a comprehensive grocery list for meal prep, you’ll end up with exactly what you need and no unnecessary, unhealthy snacks and freezer meals.

Don’t Eat at Your Desk

Part of your reason for eating out, whether you realize it or not, may be because it lets you turn your mind off for a while and escape the stress of work. Try to take your lunch somewhere outside, or at least in the break room, to give yourself a chance to unwind.

Source: CNN Health

For Your Financial Health

Building a Budget

Year after year, money and financial struggles are reported as leading causes of stress in adults’ lives. When income can influence every aspect of your life, it certainly has the power to cause stress. And stress is an unhealthy burden for anyone. Take control of your financial health to support your physical health and alleviate some of the stress that money issues can create!

There’s really no better approach to financial health than creating and implementing a healthy budget into your daily life. Building a budget is one of the essential steps to understanding your financial state and managing it knowledgeably. As nationally renowned financial advisor Dave Ramsey says, “This (a budget) is your game plan where you tell your money what you want it to do!” Here are a few tips for beginners trying to build a successful budget:

1. Set a Goal – You don’t create a budget just to watch each dollar you spend. You create a budget to spend less than you make and make your remaining income work more effectively toward your goals – saving, building a large retirement, buying a house, traveling more, etc.

2. Observe Spending for Set Amount of Time – If you track spending for a short period of time to get started, it’s almost always an eye-opening experience. Knowing your own spending habits can help you form a more effective game plan.

3. Use Only 3 Categories – There’s no need to track every category you can think of, as many of them won’t inspire you to change your habits. Tracking “Fixed Expenses,” “Variable Expenses,” and “Non-Necessities” gives you a clearer picture of which areas of your spending habits you need to adjust.

4. Try 50/20/30 – A popular and helpful plan, it calls for putting 50% of your income toward expenses, 20% toward long-term saving, and 30% toward lifestyle choices.

5. Contribute to Savings First – After paying fixed expenses immediately set your predetermined savings amount aside and use the remaining for non-essentials.

Start with these simple tips and expand your goal-oriented budgeting knowledge with research and practice. With a  structured budget and confidence in your money management skills, you’ll be actively reducing one of life’s major stressors and promoting a healthier, happier lifestyle for yourself.

Source: Forbes

For The Home

Importance of a Perc Test

Thinking about buying land? Conduct a perc test, or percolation test, before signing any papers. This test is a soil evaluation that measures the rate at which water drains through soil. It’s a crucial first step before buying land and important for your family’s health.

How it Works:

A hole is either drilled or dug into the ground, then the hole and surrounding area are saturated, and the hole is filled with water. The amount of time it takes for the hole to completely drain of water indicates the soil’s absorption rate.

Why it’s Important:

This test determines whether or not a property can suitably hold a septic system, and it is usually required by county health departments for any property before installing a septic system.

drawing of house with grass and dirt underneath

Without one, you run the risk of having a septic system backup and overflow near your dwelling.

This is because most septic systems depend on what’s known as a “drain field,” or system of perforated pipes. Solid waste settles in the septic tank, while the drain field allows excess “gray water,” or waste water, to be drained through the perforated pipes into the soil.

The gray water is then absorbed into the soil, where it is naturally filtered of contaminants, and the newly clean water is allowed to return to the water table (property’s natural store of underground water). This whole process is called percolation. And for it to happen effectively, without backing up or overflowing the septic tank, the soil must drain at a fast enough rate to accommodate a normal household.

Without a successful perc test, it is doubtful that you will ever be permitted to build a healthy dwelling on said property, which is why it is a crucial first step to buying land.


Winterizing Your Lawn

With colder weather approaching, check out these quick tips to help you easily bring back a lush lawn in the spring.


Each type of grass requires a different action in the fall.

Warm Weather Grasses: Bermuda, St. Augustine, zoysia, and centipede

Care: If you live in a region where cool breezes begin in autumn, do not fertilize your lawn after September. This allows your lawn to go dormant through the cold months without being stimulated to stay active longer, risking damage and death. However, if you live in an area with a mild winter, you should fertilize in the fall with a formula that contains a slow-releasing nitrogen.

Cool Weather Grasses: Kentucky blue grass, fescue, and perennial rye

Care: Apply a “Winterizer fertilizer” around October or November.


Assuming you’ve planted shrubs that are hardy and thrive in your area, winterization is minimal. However, here are a few tips to help them thrive during their peak season:

Mulch: Apply two to three inches for added insulation and nutritional benefits.

Water: If there isn’t enough rain, make sure they don’t go thirsty.

Don’t Prune: You should actually save pruning for early spring when new buds can guide your decision.

Avoid Pests: Liquid repellants or physical barriers, like deer netting or even burlap or wire, can keep foraging rodents and other animals from snacking on your shrubs.

Sources: HGTV and Proven Winners

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