Time spent by the water- My birthday is in July so I am a water sign. So anytime I can escape to the water, hear a babbling brook or just take a bath it calms my soul.

With all that’s going on in our country, our economy, the world, and on social media, it feels like so many of us are under a great deal of stress. Parenting, in particular, can be stress-inducing. We know chronic stress can be as unhealthy as smoking a quarter of a pack a day. It is also challenging to be a present parent when your relationship is under stress. What are stress management strategies that parents use to become “Stress-Proof? What are some great tweaks, hacks, and tips that help reduce or even eliminate stress? In this interview series, we are talking to authors, parenting experts, business and civic leaders, and mental health experts who can share their strategies for reducing or eliminating stress. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Melissa Vera.

Melissa, is a native of North Carolina. She hails from the coast near Camp Lejeune ( her birthplace) but now lives in a rural community about 2 hours away. She is a proud, Jesus Loving Mom and Wife. She has been with the love of her life, my hubby Raul ( a native of Mexico), for almost 30 years. They have three insanely wonderful and gorgeous daughters, one son-in-law, and an adopted son and his wife.

They also have a menagerie of animals-two dogs and four outside cats, and four cats who call them Grandparents-LOL. Her blog started as a deals and coupons blog but ultimately morphed into this lifestyle blog we are reading right now. When she is not blogging, she enjoys spending time in the Blog Cabin (read about that here), recording Chats from the Blog Cabin, crafting, reading, traveling, and more. Of course, above all else, spending time with her handsome hubby and her amazing adult kids.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to know how you got from “there to here.” Inspire us with your backstory!

I grew up the youngest of 4 girls. My dad was in the Marine Corps when I was born and would be for the first few years of my life. I was and will always be a “Daddy’s Girl”. Growing up in Rural North Carolina, the smallest of the four life wasn’t easy. I was bullied, and some words spoken to me as a child of seven, “No one will ever call you pretty,” stayed with me all through my adult years. It came to define who I was as a person, wife, and mom. Just recently, like in the last 5 years, I am finally rewriting that narrative in my head. I vowed that my relationship with my 3 girls would be different than the relationship I had with my mom.

What lessons would you share with yourself if you had the opportunity to meet your younger self?

Take each moment a step at a time and work to be present in each of those moments. Things pass so quickly by that you don’t want to miss those memorable moments whether big or small.

None of us are able to experience success without support along the way. Is there a particular person for whom you are grateful because of the support they gave you to grow you from “there to here?” Can you share that story and why you are grateful for them?

Yes family, my amazing husband and my three beautiful adult girls. The biggest compliment that my girls have given me is that they don’t think of me as their mom — they think of me as a friend who happens to be their mom. I have learned so much from my girls and I often joke that I want to be them when I grow up because they just get it. My husband who is a native of Mexico doesn’t quite understand what I do but he is still there listening and watching.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think it might help people?

Yes I am in the process of writing a book called The Emptiness Within: My Search for UnConditional Love. It is my journey of healing from having an emotionally unavailable mom. I think it will help people to know I am not alone.

Ok, thank you for sharing your inspired life. Let’s now talk about stress. How would you define stress?

I think the better question would be how would I not define stress? Stress is different for different people. For me conflict is my major stressor and dealing with people who can’t see both sides to every story. They are too caught up in being right or having the last word that they can’t see that is not always black and white.

In the Western world, humans typically have their shelter, food, and survival needs met. So what has led to this chronic stress? Why are so many of us always stressed out?

The keeping up the Joneses or Maybe I should say Keeping up with the Kardashians. To many people tend to strive for outward perfection and compete with everyone like who has the better car/ better house/ better marriage etc.

What are some of the physical manifestations of being under a lot of stress? How does the human body react to stress?

For me, it is not sleeping and losing my hair. I have a head of thick hair but when I noticed it falling out I knew that I had to do something about it. I think stress effects everybody differently.

Is stress necessarily a bad thing? Can stress ever be good for us?

Yes and no. Stress can be bad if we ignore the signs of it but it can be a good indicator for us to take some time away and allow us to go chill for a few minutes.

Is there a difference between being in a short-term stressful situation versus an ongoing stress? Are there long-term ramifications to living in a constant state of stress?

Yes there is. Short term stressful situation could be a deadline ( like answering the questions for this article. HaHa! Or a simple question like what is for dinner. Long term ramifications or stressors like death, and unhealthy relationship with a family member can take a toll on our health. I was born with a heart defect so I have to be aware and listen to my body. But sometimes we stress so much that we ignore the signs our body is giving us to stop and be still.

Let’s now focus more on the stress of parenting. This feels intuitive, but it is helpful to spell it out in order to address it. Can you help articulate why being a parent can be so stressful?

Because everyday is a new day with each unique situations. As parents we all make mistakes and our kids do too. But as a parent we often wonder what the long term ramifications on our kids will be. Did I do the right job raising them? Will they make the right decision? Can they survive on their own? Why can’t I fix their hurt? And then being accused of playing favorites when they are in a fight is the worst.

Can you help spell out some of the problems that come with being a stressed parent?

You are quick to anger for sure. There are just so many times you can ask your kids something then you blow their top.

Here is the main question of our interview: Can you share with our readers your “5 stress management strategies that parents can use to remove some of the stress of parenting?” Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Take a walk- get out in nature. Each time I walk I always ask God to share with me something that will calm me. Sometimes it is just the sound of running water, other times it might be a unique leaf, and then there was this one time when I was on my morning walk that I saw a momma opossum and her babies on her back. Opossums are nocturnal animals so to see what in the morning was definitely a treat.
  2. Getting my craft on- I am a creative person by nature so anytime I can do something that allows me to be creative whether it is writing, working on a project, creating a podcast episode and more- it just relaxes me.
  3. Take some time for yourself- I just had one of many facials this year. And I look back and think what a better mom I would have been if I made the time to schedule self-care. Looking back I know it would have made a difference. But as a parent you think I have to take care of my kids before I take care myself, when in all actuality we should take of ourselves first.
  4. Prayer and time spent with God- I am gonna have to admit that I am guilty of not doing this as often as I should. But I always feel better when I do. When my mom died August, it was very stressful but on the day of her funeral I started looking up Bible Verses to get me through the day and there were so many great ones that allowed me to stay calm in the face of so much stress.
  5. Time spent by the water- My birthday is in July so I am a water sign. So anytime I can escape to the water, hear a babbling brook or just take a bath it calms my soul.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that have inspired you to live with more joy in life?

Yes The Bible for sure, Any Books written by Lysa Terkeurst and Wendy Blight, And the podcasts Can I Laugh?, Where the Dogwood Blooms, and Two T’s in a Pod ( I am huge fan of reality tv and this podcast is my go to because it always make me laugh) and of course my own Chats from The Blog Cabin because I have interviewed some amazing people and gave them a voice when others want to silence them

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂 Honestly I think it would have something to do with being a daughter of a Marine and cancer research. My best friend and the sister who was closest to me in age died of Cancer when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, flash forward to 2015 and my dad passed away from cancer due to the exposure of Agent Orange in Vietnam. Those 2 people had the biggest impact (besides my hubby and my girls) on why I do what do. In fact they have had an impact on my girls as well. My oldest is studying for her PHD in environmental toxicology because of this.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

You can follow along via my website and Instagram:

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.