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

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

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