Wellbeing Suite Reviews

During May 2022 the NewstrAid team are trying a range of resources available via the Wellbeing Suite as part of a Mindful May initiative. New reviews will be added each week during May. Scroll down to find the reviews from previous weeks.

Week three – Wellbeing

Boost Your Energy

Reviewed by Lindsay Rule

The Boost your Energy resource on the Wellbeing Suite takes the form of 9 ‘chapters’ focusing on different ways of increasing energy levels. The chapters include podcasts. videos and articles and I found this mixed media approach good for keeping my attention.

The content featured includes: Tips on improving sleep, advice on reducing sugar intake and being snack smart, techniques for reducing stress and information on how exercise can help boost energy. Plus, each chapter finishes with a challenge to try over the next 5 or 7 days which is a great way to introduce new activities and log whether they have an effect on energy levels.

A lot of the content reinforced things I already knew or was aware of but it also gave me some new information. I will definitely try to continue to increase the amount of water I drink each day and if I am feeling particularly stressed, I will try 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation before bed to ensure a good night’s sleep.

In short, if you want to feel more energised it is worth giving this resource a try as you might find a few things that could make a big difference!

 

Parenting Tips

Reviewed by Laura Grice

There are four short videos on the Spectrum Life app covering anxiety in children, body positivity, the importance of routine and fussy eating.  All of the videos are recorded by a parenting coach.

My children are young, so some of the content wasn’t relevant because it covers such a broad age group, but it is good to know for the future.  I especially liked the video on fussy eating, I have two very fussy eaters and introducing the parenting coach’s tip of getting them involved at meal times i.e. laying the table, or putting the food in sharing bowls in the middle of the table so that they can dish up their own dinner, has helped a lot. The tips are simple, but effective!

Disconnect & Reboot

Reviewed by Katie Youngs

I picked this particular pathway as we are all surrounded by screens and distractions and it becomes increasingly more difficult to switch off, particularly when we have a lot going on in our lives. We’ve all heard someone joke how hard it is to balance a social life, with work and chores around our houses, but it’s true, it often feels like an impossible task and can make us feel overwhelmed.

This series of videos was really interesting and starts of by talking about recognising imbalance and ways to create more balance. It discusses the difficulties some people have with sleep and the importance of having frequent breaks particularly from our screens. The series then moves on to reconnecting with nature and finally discusses goals, both setting new ones and reconnecting with ones you may have set previously.

Throughout the course it focuses on what is important to the self, and gives tips on how to look at what matters most to us as individuals. Later on in the videos it gives pointers on how to set time aside either each week or each month to look back at what you have done and look forward to what is coming up, and most importantly to set aside time for the things we enjoy, to create balance in our lives.

I found this pathway useful and will be setting aside some time at the end of each week to plan my week ahead, focusing on a few small goals to start with, and ensuring I’m adding things I enjoy more into my weeks, such as catching up with friends etc.

Week two- Be Calm

Reducing Stress

Reviewed by Katie Youngs

With lots of big life events and changes going on at the moment for me, I found the Reducing Stress meditation sessions really helpful this week. I often find my thoughts are racing particularly when I first get up or when I am going to bed, so this is when I have been dedicating time to use the sessions. They vary in length which has been useful when I only had a few minutes to spare and they also vary in what they make you focus on; sometimes it is to visualise a scene and use that scene to allow your thoughts to pass, other times it is to just focus on breathing.

One I found particularly useful was the final mediation session “Soothing Nature Sounds”. I played this some nights before bed so as to help slow down and to focus my thoughts on the sounds rather than what I had to do the next day.

Living in the Moment

Reviewed by Frankie Gabbani

I have always found it difficult to let go, stop worrying about things and just live in the moment. Therefore, using the Spectrum.Life app, I decided to listen to the “Living in the Moment” meditation pathway.

The pathway is made up of seven sessions, that vary in length, which I listened to before going to sleep over the course of a few days. Each session focused on a different topic, such as; letting go of the past and future and the power of breath.

I found all of the sessions to be very relaxing and definitely helped me to let go and stop worrying.

Increase Happiness

Reviewed by Laura Grice

I have heard about the benefits of meditation but never felt that I had time to fit it into my already very busy day!  I used the Spectrum Life app to listen to six short meditation recordings, all 15 minutes or less, and realised that actually it is quite easy to find a few minutes to listen to one recording a day.  There is even a recording to listen to with ear phones whilst walking, which is easier if, like me, you can’t get 5 minutes peace at home!

I don’t think meditation is a quick fix, it is a bit like exercise in that you need to incorporate it into your routine for a long time before you experience the true benefit.  However, I do feel more positive, even after the shorter sessions; I will keep sending my negative thoughts off on the floating clouds!

Week one – Nutrition

Creamy Salmon Pasta

Reviewed by Lindsay Rule

Ingredients:

  • Salmon
  • Wholewheat Fusilli
  • Crème Fraiche
  • Green Peas
  • Lemon juice & zest
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli Florets
  • Water
  • Salt & Pepper

We eat salmon quite a lot in our household but rarely have it with pasta so I thought I would try the Creamy Salmon Pasta recipe.

Using the Spectrum.Life app, I watched the very short video first and then followed the instructions which were pretty straight forward. Although the preparation time says 45 minutes, I would say it is nearer 30 minutes as whilst the salmon is cooking you can cook the pasta and then the vegetables. The only thing I would note is that we only had 0% fat crème fraiche in the fridge and this meant the end result was not very creamy (!) but it was a tasty and healthy mid-week meal which was pretty easy to prepare!

Blue Suede Smoothie

Reviewed by Katie Youngs

Ingredients:

  • Almond Milk
  • Blueberries (I used frozen as they were in my freezer)
  • Peanut butter

This was such an easy and quick breakfast and I really enjoyed it. It made a nice change from my normal boring bowl of cereal and is a great way to shake up what I eat in the mornings. Will definitely be making again.

Grilled Halloumi and Quinoa Salad

Reviewed by Katie Youngs

Ingredients:

  • Quinoa
  • Halloumi
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Black olives
  • Tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Broccoli
  • Dried oregano

With so few ingredients I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this. It was quick and easy to make and a good one for making in bigger batches for lunches in the week (I doubled up for another meal) and portion out so that all I have to do is grab a box on my way out to the office. It would also be nice as a side for a BBQ or picnic.