*Dis­claimer – I’m not a doc­tor, nurse or dietician*

Don’t com­plain about anoth­er acronym to remem­ber – this one’s easy!

D – Diet
E – Exercise
R – Reduce stress
T – Ten­der Lov­ing Care

Check out every­one you know who has: chil­dren with devel­op­men­tal or behav­iour­al issues, rel­a­tives with Alzheimer’s, peo­ple going through post sur­gi­cal rehab, stroke vic­tims and a myr­i­ad of oth­er issues.

In my opin­ion, if in almost every case my “D.E.R.T. pro­gramme” was part of their lives those indi­vid­u­als would show improvement. 

*Obvi­ous­ly every­one with med­ical issues should seek pro­fes­sion­al advice before con­sid­er­ing the “D.E.R.T. programme”.*

So let me explain the “D.E.R.T. programme”. 


Pay atten­tion to the types of foods you con­sume, the quan­ti­ties and how often. Any­one who goes to their local (cheap!) sushi restau­rant every day or their local fast food restau­rant, isn’t on the right track.

Now you might think that sushi is healthy food and I sup­pose basi­cal­ly it is but if you think about the actu­al nutri­tion you get from eat­ing sushi every day, there isn’t so much going into your body.

And don’t get me start­ed on all the places that are ‘cheap’!

Rea­son­able por­tions of fruit, veg­eta­bles, good carbs, pro­tein and dairy should be con­sumed through­out the day. That means you can be a veg­e­tar­i­an too, you just have to bal­ance your food intake well and under­stand your pro­tein sources.


There isn’t a physi­cian, exer­cise phys­i­ol­o­gist, health relat­ed spe­cial­ist, book or mag­a­zine any­where that doesn’t pro­mote exer­cise. It’s the pri­ma­ry help in stress man­age­ment pro­grammes and every weight loss pro­gramme. So we all need to exercise. 

Choose some­thing phys­i­cal to do every day — even mod­est gar­den­ing. I’ve only just realised that when I’m in the gar­den (using the Eng­lish word here, mean­ing the whole ‘yard’) I do a lot of bend­ing, stretch­ing and mod­est lift­ing – I’d just nev­er thought of it as exer­cise because it’s some­thing I love to do, giv­en the chance.

The elder­ly peo­ple I’ve known who still hang their clothes on a wash­ing line to dry get their lift­ing and stretch­ing sev­er­al times a week – my moth­er can reach up to her wash­ing line eas­i­ly at 88, I strug­gle! Not a prac­ti­cal use of time these days but it’s the rea­son why that gen­er­a­tion lasts so long in their own homes!


Exer­cise comes back into the pic­ture as one of the keys to stress man­age­ment, but there are oth­er ways to reduce stress. 

Become involved in a vol­un­teer activ­i­ty in your com­mu­ni­ty that makes you smile or feel pro­duc­tive – for us it’s the men’s Bar­ber­shop Har­mo­ny Soci­ety, which we vol­un­teer for togeth­er, and also Boy Scout lead­er­ship for my hus­band and my gar­den club for me. 

Those cheer­ful friend­ships each month or sev­er­al times a year make a big dif­fer­ence and give us some­thing to look for­ward to; phone calls and emails to receive from car­ing peo­ple and the real social­is­ing at meetings. 

We treat every encounter with peo­ple who make us smile as a ‘stress reduc­tion move’. By the way, the more cheer­ful­ly you treat peo­ple the bet­ter they treat you – what a concept!

T: “TLC”

There isn’t a per­son in this world who doesn’t love TLC. Some peo­ple (from lit­tle chil­dren to adults) squirm away from it. The lit­tle chil­dren and adults who squirm have nev­er received it freely so they don’t even know how to receive TLC. It most like­ly means they weren’t held much as babies – now there’s an inter­est­ing place to start!

A lov­ing grand­ma I know is very con­cerned about the emo­tion­al state of her 4‑year-old grand­son. When she cares for him after school he very often just wants to be held by her – for­tu­nate­ly she knows that giv­ing that TLC is the best use of her time with him, and prob­a­bly all he’s get­ting right now!

I give TLC very freely and eas­i­ly (which quite amazes me con­sid­er­ing my fair­ly rigid, not very tac­tile, British upbring­ing!) to the elder­ly, Alzheimer’s patients, infants and young chil­dren, my hus­band dur­ing his rehab, my chil­dren, even to ani­mals and my pet cock­atiel! They have all respond­ed postively! 

It’s a great chal­lenge to give TLC to my moth­er because she was nev­er accus­tomed to receiv­ing it. Quite sad real­ly. I just have to find oth­er ways to be kind, like work­ing in the gar­den with her and enjoy­ing inter­est­ing days out together.

Get TLC on your own radar and you will start to see what a dif­fer­ence it makes. 

My husband’s won­der­ful, pas­sion­ate, hand ther­a­pist was kind enough to check out my son’s hand after a seri­ous and trau­mat­ic car acci­dent near­ly two years ago. But the first thing she did was give him a big hug. My son said the hug was the most ther­a­peu­tic thing she could have done for him. She deliv­ers all her ther­a­pies with the same amount of TLC — and boy do her patients do well!

So there you have it. 

D.E.R.T. – Clean up the miss­ing pieces of your own puz­zle and just watch your life improve!

D.E.R.T. – ‘the mir­a­cle drug’!