Categories
Mental health & Wellbeing Parenting Advice

Music brings families together!

Music is a powerful tool to help build and strengthen relationships especially in families.

Children from a young age are drawn to music and you will often see children dancing away to a beat without a care in the world and when adults join in with them this can really build a stronger bond and memories.

I will never forget when I was around 10 years old and we were at the disco at a holiday camp and my dad got up to dance with me. He was doing a real dad dance and just letting go to the beat of the music without a care in the world.

Although I remember a few people were staring he didn’t care and nor did I, we just danced away. That day he created a happy memory that will live with me forever and that puts a smile on my face whenever I think back to it.

Now with my own children we will often listen to music together and we all get up to dance around the living room. This never fails to put smiles on everyone’s faces and we all feel happier afterwards. We are also not shy about getting up on the dance floor at weddings and dancing the night away together. My girls are usually the first up on any dance floor and we follow not long after.

IMG_20180129_131214_490

We often find songs on Youtube to play and listen to together, my seven year old’s favourite at the moment is Michael Jackson, she loves all his songs and plays them whenever she can. When we hear Michael Jackson we will all get up and try some of his moves and sing along as we go. Not to mention us all trying to learn the moonwalk down the supermarket aisle in Sainsburys (the floors are slick and so it is much easier to moonwalk on).

There has been lots of research carried out to suggest that listening to music can have a positive effect on child development and well-being and also help build family bonds. With this in mind we should all play a bit more music at home even if it is just as background noise while we carry on with the tasks in hand.  

IMAG1290

Music also has the ability to help combat stress and help us unwind. As parents we must have all had a moment when we have been running late for something, we then start to feel stressed and the children pick up on this and start acting up.

As is always the way when you are late you will usually hit traffic and while you are stuck there helpless to do anything the stress starts to build. This is where you need to have an emergency song always handy in the car. Now an emergency song is one that everyone enjoys and that you can all sing to at the tops of your voices like no one is watching. I guarantee you this will melt away any stress and even though it won’t help you with being on time it will ensure you all reach wherever you are going in a happy and carefree mood. Even if you don’t have the music just start singing a familiar song that the children can join in with.

I am not going to hide the fact that I have joined in and sung a car rendition of ‘Let it Go’ at the top of my voice and more recently with all the songs from ‘The Greatest Showman’ and I can say I have always felt better for it and we have all laughed and smiled afterwards. I will never forget the time I drove back from a children’s party with Lia my middle daughter and ‘ Beyonce’s ‘Runnin (Lose It All)’ came on the radio and we both sung it together at the tops of our voices smiling and laughing all the way home. It is one of those memories that we will both never forget.

A study carried out by Philips Research Laboratories in the Netherlands demonstrates that listening to music whilst driving influences mood which in turn can impact driving behaviour. A study carried out showed that listening to music can positively impact mood while driving, which can be used to affect state and safe behaviour.

Music can be beneficial in so many ways, it can help to calm us down, relieve stress, aid sleep and it can also help pump us up before physical activity or even just to do the cleaning.

Everything is always better with music.

Categories
Mental health & Wellbeing Parenting Advice

Why we should choose Memories over Material.

In society these days is it hard not to be materialistic and want to have the best clothes, newest gadgets and the best toys for ourselves and our children but do these items bring real happiness?

Material things bring short term happiness.

If you ask your children what presents they got for their previous birthdays I bet they will have a job remembering. Even adults will struggle with this question but if we have had a memorable experience then the memory will stay with us and we can recall the day as if it was yesterday.

When we buy material items we feel happy at first but the happiness wears off as time goes by but experiences stay in our mind and create lasting happy memories, that we can think back to and recall.

When we get to our final journey in life material items are suddenly worthless and all we have our treasured memories to think back over and remember the amazing things we have done. It is these life experiences that will help us feel accomplished with the life we have led.

Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who has been studying the question of money and happiness for over two decades says “Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods. You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”  

So with Christmas coming up don’t go mad on present that will be forgotten within a few months instead invest in life experiences. Not only will they bring more joy and create lasting memories but when enjoyed as a family they can help build and strengthen relationships.

Online Poll

I recently ran a small poll over my Facebook page to find out if people would rather spend their money on Experiences or Material things. As you can see from the results below 89% of people choose experiences over material things. A few people stating that they just didn’t have the room for anymore material things and that making memories are more important. 

poll-results
DSC_0009

Kayaking down the canal

me-and-dino-star-gazing

Star gazing on a mountain top in Madeira

P7151103

Learning to body board

Tobogganing
Categories
Mental health & Wellbeing Parenting Advice

My Sports Day Break Down

It all started the day before sports day when I had my long day at work. I spent 8 hours in a glass fronted office in the boiling heat with only one crappy fan to blow round the hot air. I had planned that night to prepare our lunch ready for sports day the next day and I was going to make a pasta salad but instead I was feeling so ill that after the kids went to bed and Dino left to travel back to London for the week to work I went straight to sleep. 

I had hoped that if I went to bed early I would be up early and be able to make all our lunches in time for sports day in the morning before the kids woke up.

As you can probably guess that didn’t happen, it was so hot during the night I didn’t sleep very well and of course I then overslept in the morning. We all ended up sleeping in until 8am which on a normal school day we would have been leaving the house at this time to get to breakfast club but this morning we were all still snuggled in our beds.

When we all did finally emerge it was all a rush to get everything ready, well mainly on my part while the kids pottered about all 3 of them moaning at me that they hate sports day and didn’t want to go. I had finally got them all ready when I realised that I hadn’t done the washing up or packed the food or got the blanket ready for sitting on the field with and by that time they should have already been at school.

That was it, I sent them off to school without me (we live 2 mins from the school and my eldest is 10 years old) and I quickly got everything ready and did the washing up then picked up my bags and ran to the school as quick as I could.

Before I could get to sports day I had a meeting booked with one of the teachers to discuss extra help for my daughter. That teacher was then ill so someone else filled in. 

To summarise the meeting it went like this, we have had too many staff absences and a high number of children needing extra help so at the moment we cannot help her, we will try next term, it also seemed to me that they were implying some of the issues were down to my parenting skills. By this point I was a broken woman and didn’t have any fight left in me so I just accepted this with a view to meet again next term when I am in a better frame of mind.

By this point sports day had already started so when I went to the field to get a spot it was packed and I couldn’t find anyone I knew to try and sit with so I ended up walking round to the empty side of the field and sitting on my own.

I sorted the mat out and then sat down and got a drink out as I was so thirsty. As I started to sip that ice cold water it suddenly hit me, oh damn I didn’t give my girls any water bottles or bring enough water for us all. How could I forget their water bottles today of all days, it was a burning hot  day and they would be out running as fast as their little legs could carry them.

That was it I couldn’t hold it any more the tears just started to roll, the harder I tried to stop them the more they came. Thank god for sunglasses, I put my head down let it all out and had a good old sob. Then I managed to wipe the tears away without anyone noticing, well I was still all on my own on the far side of the field.

After crying though I felt so much better, sometimes you need to reach rock bottom to be able to bring yourself back up.

I took a minute to compose myself then sort out what I was going to do. Co-op is only 5 mins walk away and it was still the reception classes doing there events so I had a little while before any of my girls come up to do their races so I picked up my handbag up and headed for the gate.

Before I got to the gate I spotted a refreshment tent (you have got to love the PTA) and they had water bottles for 50p each, I have never been so happy to see a refreshment stall. Problem solved, I bought the water and managed to hand them to my girls before they started their races.   

After that more people came round to the other side of the field and I managed to find another mum that I knew and we chatted. I felt so much better, my previous troubles now seemed a distant problem. Then later on my children in the older years of the school were allowed out to sit with me to watch and cheer for their siblings,  they were in a lot happier mood now so they kept me company.

IMG_20180710_115530

(My older two keeping me company at sports day)

From there my day got better and I did have an enjoyable day, so did all my children despite them moaning in the morning they didn’t want to go and I even took part in the mums race.

I wanted to share this post with you not for sympathy , believe me I hate sympathy, it is to highlight that you never know what people are going through, on the outside they may look like they are fine but inside they can be fighting a secret battle. Even superheroes can’t be super all the time they all have their breaking point.

Categories
Children's Crafts and Activities Mental health & Wellbeing

The benefits of nature and ways to get out and enjoy it.

This Summer lets go wild, get outside and enjoy nature at its best. Nature can really help improve our health and the more we embrace it, the more we will benefit.

Why not get the whole family together to enjoy the great outdoors, breathe in the fresh air and don’t be afraid to get dirty.

P5060419

There has been so many studies showing how beneficial spending time in nature can be for both adults and children. An article I found by the BBC reported that spending time in nature can improve vitality, mood and also help anxiety.

I also found on Askthescientist.com a list of 10 interesting health benefits of being in nature these include strengthening the immune system and relieving stress.

DSC_0766

With mental health problems on the rise in today’s society and more and more children suffering from stress and anxiety we owe it to ourselves and families to use the healing powers of nature. We need to all take time out from our stressful lives and enjoy some relaxation in our natural surroundings.

DSC_0796

Here is a list of ways you can get out with the kids and enjoy nature this summer  –

Bug Hunts

Get the kids digging around in the dirt, looking under stones and in the plant pots to see what bugs they can find. This will help children understand about habitats and they get to see bugs up close. Playing in the dirt has health benefits and there have also been links to it helping fight depression.

IMG_20180516_191422

Grow your own Vegetables

This is a lovely way to enjoy the outside world as a family you can spend a day together planting your favourite fruit and vegetables and once planted everyone can watch them grow and tend to them. The best reason to grow your own fruit and vegetables is that you are rewarded with delicious home grown produce which always tastes so much better than anything food you buy in shops.

Even if you don’t have a garden you can grow produce in pots and grow bags or go all out and get an allotment.

OI000129

Wild swimming/paddling

Wild swimming is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in nature it is both invigorating and refreshing. This can be done in rivers, natural pools or even the sea. Here is a website with a list of places you go wild swimming. Wild swimming can also help boost your immune system and can decrease inflammation and pain. Please do check that it is a safe place to swim beforehand especially in a river.

P5060426

Nature walks

Just getting out for a walk with the family is a great way to really enjoy nature and there is always so much to see. There are lots of set walks throughout the UK and with the wonder of the internet you can find routes and walking trails before you leave. The National Trust has a list of UK walks and also the Forestry Commission has a list of woodland walks around the country.

DSC_0882

The beach

I love the beach and always find it a relaxing environment. There is always something for everyone to enjoy at the beach and it is perfect way to get out and enjoy the natural environment. We do tend to avoid the highly commercialised beaches and stick to the quieter more natural beaches.   

DSC_0457

Build a Den

Den building is a great activity that everyone can join in with it brings out the inner child in you. Whether you hunt for and collect your own materials to build a den or you go to a wood  where materials have already been provided for you it will be an enjoyable activity for all.

DSC_0892
IMG_20170708_183405
My girls found all these materials left in the bush by the builders and built themselves a den out of them.

Pond Dipping

Pond dipping is a lot of fun and can teach you a lot about what lies below our rivers/ponds and is a very relaxing activity. Just listening to the trickling of the water can help calm any mood.

alexa-fishing
Categories
Mental health & Wellbeing Parenting Advice

Love The Skin Your In!

With the rise of social media and the ability for anyone to add filters and edit pictures with ease our screens are filled with flawless looking people all showing perfection in every picture. We are bombarded with these unnatural pictures of celebrities, acquaintances and even friends with the pictures being changed from the subtle overlay filters to full on Photoshop/airbrushed photos.

It’s no wonder so many people feel self-conscious and have the need to add these filters to their pictures to keep up with how we feel we should look.

I have never been confident with the way I look and until I started writing this blog had never taken a selfie in my life. I always tried to be behind the camera taking pictures instead of being in them. I could not stand to look back at myself and I never would have dreamed of sharing a photo of myself. 

A changing point for me was recently when I went out in a snow blizzard and when I got home my mascara had run all over my face and my family were all laughing away at me. There is nothing better than spreading laughter even if it is at me so I thought I would take a picture and share on my page for all my lovely followers to enjoy. After taking my selfie I loaded it onto the computer and immediately started flicking through filters to make myself look half decent but then I stopped in my tracks and thought why am I doing this?

I can’t stand how everywhere we look there are fake edited pictures of people making us feel insecure and yet instead of taking a stand I am adding to the problem by sharing my own filtered photos to the world of social media. That was it enough was enough I was going to face my demons and show me for me.

As you can see from my Facebook post I did post my unedited selfie and to top that off I wasn’t even wearing any make-up as it had all run off. Even though it did take me an hour to gather the courage to actually share my post I am so glad I did because I realised that I need to start loving the skin I am in and not caring what other people think.

OI000078

Let’s help put a stop to these unhealthy touched up images one unfiltered selfie at a time. Let’s stop hiding behind filters especially the dog/bunny ones that are everywhere at the moment. Be proud of how you look and share your pictures of your true beauty. If we all dropped the filters and filled social networks with true pictures of real women and men then we would all feel a lot better and more confident about ourselves and embrace the way we look.

Beauty comes from the inside and radiates out through your smiles. So share your unfiltered selfies and let your true beauty shine through for everyone to see.

Share your natural beauty with #lovetheskinyourin 

Categories
Mental health & Wellbeing Parenting Advice

All You Need Is Laughter

The Beatles may have famously sung ‘All You Need is Love’ and while Love can bring you together it is Laughter that will keep you together.

We hear stories all the time about people who love one another but argue all the time and this doesn’t just go for couples it is the same for families. While you may love your mum, sister, brother or child unconditionally you may not get on with them or even like them.

Laughter can strengthen relationship bonds and bring you closer together. Real laughter can only be achieved when you are in a state of true happiness so the more laughs you can achieve together the happier you will be with each other.

As we grow older we tend to laugh a lot less as the stresses of life take over which is a shame as laughter can help alleviate stress and there have been some evidence to show that laughter benefits our health too. (Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm )

If you ever needed an excuse to take time out and watch a comedy sketch, movie or even visit a comedy club together this is it, put down phones and immerse yourself in comedy allowing the laughter to take over. You also find laughter can strengthen memories. If you have been somewhere with a friend or family member and had a really good laugh in the process you are more likely to remember this event in time and put it as one of your happier memories.

If you are in search of laughter as a family there are plenty of ways to achieve this together. If you have children listen and pay attention to them kids say and do the funniest thing no doubt you will catch something to make you laugh and children most of the time will join in the laughter and smiles when they see you doing it even if they have no idea what the laughter is about.

You can also play games together, there are games like Pie Face and Speak Out that are designed especially so you can laugh at each other. Also you can make your own games my children love the ‘try not to laugh challenge’ they either make up their own version or put one on youtube. We as a family have also been getting really sour sweets and taking it in turns to eat them and laughing at the faces we all pull whilst sucking on them and if all of the above fails to raise a laugh then a good old tickle fight is sure to have you laughing.

Installing a good sense of humour in children is important and it will help them in the future to build relationships and combat stress and as adults we need to work on adding more laughter to our lives to help balance out the stress we already have. Not to mention laughter is a great tool towards helping mental health issues and stress. With 1 in 6 of us experiencing mental health issues at some point in our lives  it is important to try and look into ways to prevent and aid recovery from mental health.

The BBC Trust me I am A Doctor states that laughter can be as effective as exercise as it release endorphins, which can make us experience positive feelings. 

So let’s do our best to try and install some laughter back into our lives and spread the joy of laughter to as many people as we can.

If you enjoyed reading my post why not take a look at my other post –

Why you should choose memories over material

Music brings families together

Rock Painting

Rainy Day Children’s Crafts and Activities

How to Make a Pom-Pom Rug

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.


Categories
Mental health & Wellbeing

The Benefits of a fitness watch and how mine keeps me active!

I am what you would call and average Joe in the health & Fitness department. I am not over or under weight just right in the middle however saying that I don’t go to the gym and I eat a lot of cakes and biscuits. I work a 9-5 desk job and after the kids are in bed in the evening I like to laze in front of the TV with a cup of tea and biscuits.

Although my weight is fine my arse and my belly has more jiggle in it than a jelly and upper body strength is just none existent. I can just about manage to carry my shopping let alone lift weights of any sort.

I am one of these people that have a period of really not caring and doing nothing and then all of a sudden deciding that I need to change and inspire to become one of these super fit women I see on social media.

When I decide to start a fitness regime I like to see my progress so I take a before selfie in the mirror so after a few weeks I can take another and see how well I have done. Unfortunately I never get to the after photo, I went through my phone pictures the other day which were spread over 2 years and I found 6 different before photos with an extra roll added on each new one.

For me I have very limited time to fit in exercise and I also really struggle with motivation. I can’t go to the gym or do any classes as my partner works away and I have no one to look after the kids so youtube videos are as close as I can get but the motivation soon leaves me.

Last year I heard all the mums at the school discussing their activity watches and was intrigued to find out what they were. I could hear them all comparing who had done the most steps and others saying that they had won a challenge that they had been entered in too.

After looking into them I decided that I wanted to get one, even if I gave up on the motivation with the activity side, it would still make a great smartwatch and was water proof so I wouldn’t need to take it off when doing the washing up or taking the kids swimming.

As I had a birthday coming up I got Dino to get me it as a present. After he had read and watched countless reviews on which one would be best he got me the Garmin Vivosmart HR he also at the same time got himself one.

When you first get the watch you need to sync it with either the computer or the app for your phone or tablet. On the app you are asked a series of questions with regards to your age, height, weight and how active you are. Once you have filled out the questionnaire you are then set daily goals which increase or decrease depending on what you have achieved the day before.

garmin-steps

This for me was great as although I am not very good at motivating myself I am very competitive and once a goal has been set I have to achieve it. Everyday I would do that little bit extra to make sure I reach my goal and if it gets to the evening and I still have some steps left to do I have even walked or run round my garden. There is a daily stair challenge as well trying to get you to walk up 10 flights of stairs a day and again I would find reasons to go upstairs just so I could achieve my goal.

These subtle little changes really made a difference and day by day I was doing more and more steps and increasing my fitness level. Garmin also set you a weekly target of 150 active minutes which I have to admit I really struggled to achieve and even tried to amend the amount but 150 is the lowest it goes and you can only increase this figure. After I realised I couldn’t cheat I had to do something to make sure I was achieving this goal. That is when I decided that I would start cycling to work every day and since then I smash this goal twice over. I also try to fit in a quick HITT workout here and there just to add a few more extra minutes even though I am not so great at keeping this going.

My Garmin monitors my heart rate so when I am really working hard and my heart rate is raised then the minutes I work at this level are doubled. For example if I am working at high intensity and my heart rate is raised for 10 minutes then 20 minutes will be marked off the active minute goal.

garmin-active-mins

To help me better my step goal and I am not sure if you would class this as cheating or not as I am still working hard, when I am cycling to work I have figured out that by putting my watch on ankle my steps go up with every full turn of the pedals.

The watch also displays your calories burned in the day and the distance you have travelled that day. Another great feature is that it shows how many hours you have slept for and also tracks your movement during your sleep and deep and light sleep levels.

On the app you can join in with the weekly step challenge, which again increase and decreases with what you achieve the week before. I was in the 100k step challenge and always did quite well coming between 2nd – 5th every week that was until I injured my foot and was on crutches for a few weeks after that I was back starting at the 0k step challenge. I have slowly made my way back up coming 1st every week until I am now in the 85k step challenge.

Untitled

This watch is the best thing I have ever bought to improve my fitness, I wear it everywhere and check it regularly and it has helped me slowly improve my fitness but best of all maintain my level of fitness. I would highly recommend a fitness watch to anyone whether you are like me not very active or if you are super fit. They are a great way to keep track and gradually increase your fitness levels no matter what stage you are at. If you do have a bit of extra money then purchasing a fitness watch with GPS would be better as it will track you and measure distance when running, cycling or swimming.

I am writing this post as I believe fitness watches are a great tool for keeping active and maintaining fitness levels, I talk about the fitness watch that I have as I am very happy with the Garmin vivosmart HR but just to make clear I have not reviewed or tested any other fitness watches and I am not stating that my own is the best one on the market. My post refers to the benefits any make or model of fitness watches can provide. Which? have a great review of a range of different fitness watches that may be worth reading if you were thinking of making a purchase.

Why not also read my other posts –

Self Care tips for busy parents

I am your friend, A book of Hope

Why parents need yoga

The benefits of Journaling

10 Cheap Activities to do with the Children this summer

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.


Categories
Mental health & Wellbeing Product Reviews

Thrive the stress management programme App

I recently jumped at the chance to review a new app called Thrive which is a stress management programme.

The reason why I wanted to do this trial is because I have a lot of stress going on in my life at the moment. I have 3 children, I work full time as a property manager in a busy (and very stressful) lettings office, I am working hard in the evenings to build my blog and gain more readers and to add to all the above my partner works away from home Monday evening to Friday evening so I am on my own during the week.

I think I can be excused for feeling a bit stressed from time to time. While I can’t change my immediate circumstances I need to start implementing changes to manage and combat my stress.

stressed-selfie

That’s when I saw the trail to review the Thrive app and I was so happy when they picked me to try the app for a month’s free trial. (If you read on they have given me a code for you to try the app for free as well)

The app was very easy to download from Google play and sign up was quick and easy and the code for the month’s free trial was easy to add in.

The first day I downloaded the app I was having a pretty crappy day and was feeling quite stressed. I had the tightness in my chest and tension throughout my body so I was sceptical that it would be able to help.

To start with you are given a sliding scale that asks you how you are feeling today and on one side of the scale there is a stormy cloud and on the other a bright shining sun. On the first day mine was very near to the stormy cloud. After you have picked your mood you are then taken through a series of questions which go more into depth on how you are feeling.  There is a question at the top and then a range of answers below in these purple floating bubbles.

I started looking through to pick my answer and when I read some of the answers I could pick from I realised that my life and problems were nothing compared to some of the problems people are suffering from. After scrolling through I eventually picked work as a cause of my stress and then I was taken on to the next question as to why I am stressed at work and again from looking at the answers I realised that things are not as bad as I thought. So before I had even got into the app and carried out any of the exercises I was already feeling so much better about my life and a lot less stressed just by having things put into perspective.

I am using the app on my smartphone and the bubbles can be hard to pick as they move around quite a bit and having a small screen makes it difficult. If you were using a tablet then it would probably be a lot easier to see and manoeuvre the bubbles to pick your answers.

The home screen is a beautiful desert island with a palm tree and a deck chair, which I am longing to sit on. The background music is very gentle and calming and combines the sounds of the waves crashing against the sandy banks of the island with the soft music.

In the app you have this really cute alien/robot looking guy who is always there to guide you through and carry out the exercises with you. He floats around the screen and has a welcoming face.

thrive-2

At the very beginning and after a couple of weeks I was asked an in depth questionnaire about the past month and how I have felt over that time. As I mentioned I was having a pretty rubbish day the first time I tried this app so the results of my questionnaire came back that I was suffering from a moderate depressive episode which did not sound good. However, when I took the same questionnaire a few weeks later my results were a lot better and noticed that I was managing my stress levels better.

Every day after you have been asked about your mood the app sets you stress relieving exercise goals for the day. There are quite a few different exercises and also for different durations.

Calm breathing is the exercise that I was given the most. It sounds simple and it is quite a simple exercise but so effective. The lady that talks you through the exercises has the most calming and soothing voice.

After just 3 minutes of sitting still following the deep breathing guide and listening to the subtle music and the ocean I was feeling so calm and relaxed. When the lady announced well done I had finished at the end of the exercise it took me a minute to come back round as I was so relaxed it was hard to get up. After this I was already feeling a lot happier.

After you have completed the calm breathing you are then taken on to more in depth relaxation and stress relief exercises which are deep muscle relaxation and meditation. The deep muscle exercise is good as it gets you to think about how your body feels and the lady will talk you through the exercise asking you to tense different parts of your body then release and feel the relaxation feeling. 

You do really start to notice the difference between tense and relaxed and for me after every time I tensed when I released I felt more and more relaxed and heavy.

My favourite exercise is the meditation as when carried out correctly it can put you into a deep state of relaxation. It is the perfect exercise to carry out before going off to bed as it calms you down and also help to focus you so your brain is not doing over time thinking about everything that happened in the day and what you need to do tomorrow. The meditation exercise tries to get you to think of a word for example ‘relaxation’ so if your mind starts to wonder you say to yourself ‘relaxation’ and it should slowly bring you back to your chilled out position.

As well as the basic meditation exercise there is also Mindful Walk, Sensory, Mindful Earth and Mindful Body Scan each exercise focusing on a different area of meditation. The key with all of these exercises is to be in a quiet area without distractions allowing you to focus and drift away into relaxation. The app does advise you to use headphones to ensure that you are not distracted but I managed to find myself a few minutes quite time each night to be able to listen attentively however I would advise using the headphones if you feel that you may be distracted by noises.

The app also contains a mini Zen Garden, filled with sand for you to rake and add your stones, shells and even pools of water. I have a small Zen Garden at home with some sand and stones and a mini rake which I love so this was great. I find the raking very therapeutic. 

Also within the app you can send a message in a bottle which will pop up on other users home screens with messages of inspiration. The app will automatically generate you a name mine was ‘Compassionate Massive Wolf’ then you get to pick from lots of different messages to send off in your bottle.

You can check your progress at anytime to see how your moods have changed over the course of the week or month and also see what exercises you did on each day.

Review

I have been using the Thrive app now for a few week spending about 15 to 20 minutes a day on it and I can honestly say I am so much happier. I do still get very stressed during the day mainly at work but due to using the app in the evening I am feeling chilled out and going to bed relaxed, helping me to sleep better which means I am  waking up happy. 

Before staring this trial I would continually snooze my alarm as the thought of getting up and facing going to work and the day ahead was too much and then when I did finally get up it was a rush to get me and 3 children out the door and into breakfast club so I wouldn’t be late for work but now I am waking up before my alarm and waiting for it to go off. I feel I have a lot more energy and can face whatever life throws at me. I would recommend this app to anyone who is feeling stressed, depressed or anxious as if you are willing to really give it a go then you can come away feeling like a new person.

thrive-happy-me

Why not also read my other posts –

Self Care tips for busy parents

I am your friend, A book of Hope

Why parents need yoga

The benefits of Journaling

10 Cheap Activities to do with the Children this summer

Disclaimer

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.


Categories
Mental health & Wellbeing Parenting Advice

Why parents need yoga and the benefits it can have on stress

I have never really had much interest in yoga before, I didn’t understand how slow movements and deep breathing would ever help me achieve any health and fitness benefits. I was ignorant when it came to yoga and its power.

I have always been a ‘go hard or go home’, type of exerciser looking for the highest intensity workouts and pushing myself to my limits, taking things slow was never my style.

It wasn’t until this year that I truly discovered the amazing power of yoga. It truly has the power to melt away stress and transport you into a peaceful serene.

I suffered from a bout of stress and anxiety that left me feeling physically ill. I would feel sick, have bad stomachs and physically shake.

Being a parent of 3 children and working full time looking after another 9 children as a childminder my life was pretty stressful anyway so when we then decided to move 150 miles away my stress levels rocketing.   

I needed to find a way to combat my stress.

Someone told me that yoga is great relief for stress. So I thought that I would give it a go, after all I had nothing to lose. I did some research into yoga and its benefits and watched some Youtube videos on basic yoga and gave it a try.

After doing yoga a few times I was able to control my breathing and movements and I could then clear my mind. This in turn helped my stress and anxiety just disappear and put me in a calmer frame of mind. Once you can really immerse yourself in the moves and can control your breathing, you can really feel the positive energy running through your body.

After doing just basic yoga moves for over a week, I am seeing improvements in my flexibility, strength and most importantly my stress levels. Yes I still do get stressed it is hard not to especially with children however a quick yoga pose or deep breathing exercise and my head feels so much clearer and I am then in a better frame of mind to deal with the situation.

When dealing with children you always need to have a calm persona to be beneficial and yoga a great way to do this. 

To start of my mornings now I carry out some basic yoga moves which is great as it only takes about 10 mins of my time, it leaves me feeling energised for the day ahead and starts me off stress free. The best thing is that if you are pressed for time in the mornings then the basic moves will not leave you hot and sweaty so you can head off straight to work or on school runs without needing a shower. 

You can also fit it in throughout the day, I am on my feet a lot and I find that doing a yoga pose helps to ward off stiffness in my back and legs. My back especially has benefited as I do suffer from backache from picking the children up and yoga really helps to stretch and relieve tension.

Yoga is going to be a long term activity for me and although I am still at a very basic level of yoga, I mean I can barely touch my toes, I intend to one day to be able to achieve the advance yoga and will definitely be looking more into mindfulness and look forward to discovering the power it can have.

Why not also read my other posts –

Self care tips for busy parents

Why I don’t force my children to read

Body Image/Body Confidence photo shoot

Art is good for the soul even if you are not very good at it