While the summer holidays bring a welcome chance for parents to spend more time with their kids, it can also be stressful as you try to combine childcare with your other commitments. As well as the opportunity to be outside in better weather, take a family trip and have fun - it's likely you'll also be dealing with bickering and boredom, re-jigging work schedules and other responsibilities and generally trying to please everyone, all of the time.
So it's no surprise then, that people will also find the long, school holidays difficult to manage. In fact you'd be forgiven for just wishing you could drift off alone to a desert island to relax and unwind. Which is exactly what you can do if you download the Feel Stress Free app from Thrive!
Yep, you can get your own little slice of paradise on your smartphone that offers quick activities and exercises developed by psychiatrists/psychologists that are ‘clinically proven’ to help you keep calm and carry on throughout the summer! So, plug in your headphones and head off to 'Calm Isle'...
Therapy at your fingertips
Feel Stress Free has Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques incorporated into the app - the type of 'talking therapies' that are typically used to treat anxiety and depression. It offers timed breathing sessions such as meditation and deep muscle relaxation - which works to relax you both physically and mentally. You can also practice self hypnosis, play around in a digital zen garden and send a message in a bottle (and hope you receive one too!) to banish the blues. You'll be guided through all the exercises by voice, and use the icons to switch between options. And since each exercise is timed, you'll know in advance how much time you need to complete the session.
Feel Stress Free also has a mood tracker that can guide you to which sections of the app could help you the most at that time based on how you're feeling - and records your progress too. It's a bit like having a massage (complete with that calming music you'd associate with lying on a massage table) and seeing a therapist all rolled into one. The app is free to download but to use all of the features, you'll pay £1.99 a month (cheaper than a massage...).
So if you can snatch a few minutes - or even 10 - to yourself this summer, it's worth spending those precious moments really unwinding. It's a perfect app for the poolside or plane - although you can also zone out wherever and whenever you can grab some alone time (yes, the bathroom is an option if it's the only place you can be left alone!).
And you'll emerge from your little therapy session more chilled than an Ibiza sunset...
Written By Vanessa Jane Holburn.