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Simple ways to deal with stress and depression

smoothie by the pool

Everyone at some stage in their lives will go through a period of stress and/or depression. It might be due to a life event, or overwork, or for no obvious reason. Most will work through it but some struggle to cope with this low period and if it is accompanied and caused by a life event, it will often be difficult to cope with everyday life.

The effects can take a toll physically, causing tiredness, aches and pains, low immunity to illnesses, such as colds and flu, sleepless nights, increased or decreased appetite and many other physical problems that make us feel uncomfortable. The mental effects include loss of confidence, low self-esteem and difficulties with relationships and communicating in general, apathy about things that usually motivate and excite us and a general feeling of flatness.

If stress or depression is affecting life in a very debilitating way then professional help should be sought.

There are things you can do that will help; it’s just getting the motivation to do them when at such a low ebb. So, what simple steps can we take to help ourselves that don’t require too much effort?

Here are a few tips that are virtually effortless and should help to lift your body and spirit. Once lifted its much easier to take control of the situation and start to get back on an even keel and tackle the causes that created this state.


  • Breathe. Never underestimate the power of focussing on the breath, as it’s an effective way to reduce stress; simply by breathing in slowly and deeply and extending the outbreath, it will calm the heart rate, reduce blood pressure and slow down mental agitation; breathe in for a count of 4 and exhale for 6, once you have mastered this, increase to inhale for 6 and exhale for 8. Do this regularly, especially if you wake up in the night feeling anxious.
  • get as much sunshine as possible
  •  reduce or eliminate stimulants such as coffee and alcohol
  • eat plenty of fresh foods and vegetables and if appetite is lost, try smoothies and juices
  • Invest in a journal and write down your feelings, speak to yourself and ask yourself what will help to make you feel better? Write down those thoughts, you will be surprised at how speaking to yourself can often help…you have the answers within and by asking yourself in quiet times, the answers will often rise to the surface.
  • walk, do gentle stretching, exercise in some way, so that you focus your attention on your physical body and that allows you to spend time in the present, instead of worrying about past events, or the future which hasn’t happened yet.
  • find a yoga teacher, especially restorative yoga, as this is very beneficial for those times when your energy is at its lowest.
  • Do nothing, think nothing, just be aware, listen, to music and calming sounds, light a candle, or use some lavender or aromatherapy oils. Give yourself a gentle facial and head massage.
  • Have an affirmation to encourage and help you and repeat many times until you feel your spirits lift, for example; ‘I’m happy and bright and everything’s right, Im healthy and strong all day long’.

If you try one or all of these things it will definitely help, but remember in most cases, stress and depression is a temporary state and will usually pass, so acceptance helps too.

Find time for yourself, love yourself and know that you are special. Be as kind to yourself as you would be to others.

De-stress weekends at Tara Casa are available check here




I have been running my holistic weight loss course for 4 years now – WeighLess4life.

I was inspired many years ago to get involved in the weight loss industry. As a teacher of exercise and dance, it had such huge benefits but I was aware of how many people could not, or would not attend classes because of weight issues. Either they were uncomfortable exercising, or they had poor body image and therefore didn’t want to be in a class situation. So, I became a Rosemary Conley teacher, which involved gentle exercise, unlike other slimming clubs and groups, who mainly focussed on the diet.

One of the classes I ran had around 60 to 70 people in and I ran the class in a big centre. The dieters would queue up to be weighed and then I would jump up on to the stage and take them through their routines – the latter was the part of it that I loved. The weighing section was a total nightmare for me and it seemed them too, unless of course they had had a substantial drop in weight and then they would be ecstatic – but they had gained weight, or stayed the same, there could be tears, stamping feet and accusing my scales of being wrong this week – questions like, when did I last get them calibrated, or the diet doesn’t work, it was my Birthday, anniversary, Husband’s birthday, the excuses were never ending.  Then suddenly the failed dieters would no longer come and I would worry for them…to be honest it was a nightmare and I hated every moment of those weighing sessions. One of the observations I made, was that some people were deeply psychologically affected by their dieting issues – many didn’t even need to lose weight – issues were often not related to their weight but were pinned on their need to have the right body.

So, over the years with experiences of my own, counselling courses, sports nutrition courses and self-study of nutrition for my own benefit after cancer and a subsequent diagnosis of Osteoporosis, I learnt a lot about what could work better for long term weight loss. The first thing that went out of the window was the scales and in came the tape measure, a much more effective way of monitoring how the body is improving. More focus on health issues, healthy natural foods, reasons why the focus is on food and thus encouraging changing habits BUT most of all the Exercise – that’s the hard work bit. Everyone loves an easy and quick answer but there isn’t one – Simple, it takes discipline, planning to fit sessions in, and commitment to change. So, having the opportunity to be in a relaxing retreat, totally focussed and totally nurtured, is a great opportunity to look at issues, get the motivation and gain a better understanding of what foods suit your body, what exercise is best for you and how relaxation promotes better health and therefore in turn, a more natural weight loss can ensue and a better, healthier mind-set around the subject.

Fad diets, yo yo dieting doesn’t work long term. Many people who have for a long time attempted to lose weight and not been successful, may need to accept that they are not going to have the same body they had when they were teenagers, or in their 20’s but they could look really good with a change of body shape and a healthier diet could make them feel better. So with this weight loss course, you can guarantee a better shape and slimmer waist in your weeks stay with the excellent Pilates core work exercises, your exercise regime is specifically tailored and your meals will keep hunger at bay. Your spirits will be lifted in a relaxing environment and you have a good plan to go away with.

No unreasonable goal setting, no pressure, just an easy, calm and peaceful look at how to improve your health and body shape for life.

Weighless4life courses, available in December and January with  discount

Viv Wharton

qualified Pilates and Yoga instructor

weight loss advisor

Yoga Helps to Beat Breast Cancer

Breast cancer patients who practice yoga experience lower stress and improved quality of life compared to counterparts who do stretching exercises, a US study indicated Wednesday.Researchers at the University of Texas.

MD Anderson Cancer Center studied 163 women with an average age of52 who were undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer, ranging from early onset to stage three.

Download PDF Here


Diets don’t work

Worrying about our weight seems to be a natural daily pastime for every woman I have ever met, and a lot of men seem to worry too.

This is how it goes; ‘On Monday I am going to start dieting’, ‘after Christmas or New Year I am going to start a diet’, ‘before I go on holiday I will lose weight’, ‘after my holiday I will lose the weight I gained on holiday’ and so on and so on, over the years like an old record….Yes, that old chestnut “I AM GOING ON A DIET”.

Download PDF Here


A Natural Approach to Arthritis

Arthritis affects the musculoskeletal system, specifically the joints. It is one of the main causes of disability among older people and there are various forms of arthritis.

Various treatments are available for arthritis to reduce inflammation but the problem with medications is that they tend to suppress the body’s natural reactions. However it is necessary to use these medications in many cases but there are natural alternatives that can be used alongside traditional medicine or as an alternative. The inflammatory response of the body can be changed by a healthy alkaline diet and balancing the body´s pH.

Download PDF Here


How Important is Vitamin D?

Here in Spain we are definitely in the right place to get the very important vitamin D and without the right levels we can suffer many illnesses – Osteoporosis and immune deficiency diseases just to name a few. But are we still getting enough? The vitamin, ‘D’ is nicknamed the “sunshine vitamin” because the skin makes it from ultraviolet rays. Sunscreen blocks its production and we know we need to protect ourselves from skin cancer but now scientists are questioning the sunscreen advice as we may not be getting enough of this all important Vitamin.

Download PDF Here


Looking after Number One!

Have you often wondered what you should be doing to stay healthy and strong? Do you get tired and lose stamina easily; do you find joints are achy and sore? I often have clients telling me they feel like this and believing the answer is to rest… YES, rest in moderation but the most important answer is staying active.

I remember a few years ago a lady joining one of my Pilates classes who made a particular impression on me; Muriel was lovely, well dressed, and exuberant, she expressed a self assured, poised confidence that gave her an attractive presence. All of the people in my class were drawn to her. Although Muriel couldn´t do all of the exercises, she would rest on the more difficult ones by just relaxing and then would rejoin when it suited her. This lovely lady was so in tune with her body and so motivated! When I found out that she was 83 yrs old and had started exercise at 63 for the first time, I was truly amazed. It was another experience for me that gave me more insight and understanding into what I do and how it is so beneficial. There was no doubt in my mind that Muriel’s attitude and health were due to her weekly Yoga, Tai chi and Pilates.

Download PDF Here


Why Pilates?

Pilates has been extremely popular in the UK and the United States for many years. Most cities can boast a Pilates studio with professionally qualified instructors every few square miles. It is an expensive method because the equipment and training is very costly and the method is very effective for all – particularly those with back or postural problems and injuries. It is the favoured method for many professional dancers and athletes to enhance their performance and to keep their joints and muscles balanced and healthy.

There are a lot of exercise classes that include Pilates based exercises but for Pilates to be truly effective it should be taught by a professionally qualified instructor. This way the instructor is trained to help individuals master the technique and once that happens the true benefits will be illustrated. It is necessary to commit to a course of lessons to achieve these benefits and different people will progress at different rates.

Download PDF Here


The benefits of relaxation or meditation.

I discovered meditation 7 years ago when recovering from breast cancer treatment and I have to say it was the best thing I ever did and it was the catalyst that led me to the path I’m on now. I was so impressed with the benefits; it not only aided my recovery but it helped with the natural fear I was experiencing. So I decided to take up a course with the British School of Yoga as a meditation teacher. Now I include this as part of the Pilates and Yoga courses I teach.

The benefits are amazing and there is nothing mysterious or mystical about meditation at all. Some people that meditate regularly have some very positive profound experiences and have found it life changing. It is usually considered to be a spiritual practice but it is also a very practical tool that can help us with the challenges of life. Meditation is simply deep relaxation and a focusing of the mind. I have come across many people who are a little afraid of it, they don´t want to let go and relax in case they can’t get on with things, or they lose focus on their tasks or business. However it is quite the contrary, it helps you to focus and helps to be more productive. It improves body health, as it boosts the immune system.

Download PDF Here

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CPR – 9052675



Thanks for a relaxing week which has really helped me recharge my batteries over the extended Easter holidays.

Peter - 26th April to 2nd May

WeighLess4Life was one of the best things I have ever done. Not only did I lose 1.5 inches from my waist during my weeks stay but I have returned home with a new perspective on life.

Jackie London - 23rd May to 30th May 2011


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