Walking Apps – What’s Available

The physical and mental benefits of walking are well known, so we thought we’d look out some of the walking apps available to aid the experience.

The apps can be split into two types: Activity Measurement (pedometers), and Route Mapping. It’s worth bearing in mind that any app that uses GPS may be a drain on your smartphone’s battery. It’s also worth checking to see what the weather will be like if you’re planning a big walk!

Activity Measurment Walking Apps

Accupedo (Android, iOS)

Walking apps - AccupedoDesigned to be a “daily walking buddy”, Accupedo acts as a pedometer and a hub of information which logs information on distance, calorie burn and step count. All the information is collected and displayed on daily, weekly, monthly or yearly charts so you can see your progress.

Link

Endomondo (Android, iOS, Windows)Walking apps - Endomondo

A “personal trainer in your pockets”, Endomondo is designed for encouraging motivation through distance sports whether it’s walking, running or cycling. It provides activity logs, calorie burn and distance measurements, too. If you’re wanting to take your walking to the next level, this may be the app for you.

Link

Moves (Android, iOS)

Walking apps - movesThe “activity diary of your life”, Moves is a very funky-looking app that automatically records any physical activity you undertake. It also automatically records steps, distance, duration, and calorie burn. These activities are displayed as a “daily storyline”, which helps give insight into activity. You also have the option of adding extra activity such as gym training.

Link

 

Route Mapping Walking Apps

Walkit (Android, iOS)

walking apps - walkitDeveloped as an “urban walking route planner”, Walkit allows users to get routes between two points and view journey time, step count, calorie burn, and even carbon saving. It also allows you to explore other people’s recommended routes and tailored information for 70+ cities all across the UK.

Link

Viewranger (Android, iOS, Kindle Fire)

walking apps - viewranger

If the great outdoors is more your thing, then Viewranger might just be the walking app for you. You can plot your own trails or those made by other users. It’s a hub of information, tips and insights generated by its active and dedicated worldwide community

Link

MapMyWalk (Android, iOS)

walking apps - mapmywalk

A very popular app that uses GPS to track your activities and report back on distance, duration, route and calorie burn. You can also record and save walks taken to upload and share with other users. This means that you can also access other user’s routes to add variety to your walking workout.

Link

Sleep Disturbance Caused by Gadget Exposure

A recent Norwegian sleep disturbance study of 9,846 16 to 19-year olds has discovered something that is fast becoming fact: exposure to light from TVs, laptops, smartphones and tablet screens affects sleeping patterns and sleep quality.

Teenagers in the study who spent more than four hours per day exposed to screens had a 49% increased risk of falling asleep later and having difficulty in doing so.  Their risk of sleeping for under five hours was also increased by three and half times.

The vast majority of participants in the study were exposed to some form of electronic device an hour before bedtime. This has prompted researchers to advise at least an hour of screen free time before sleep, and for parents to be especially alert of the risk to their children’s quality of sleep.

 

The researchers have highlighted that the effects of using screens close to bedtime may not just be intruding on sleep, but could also be affecting the nervous system and internal body clock.  As well as the recommendation to individuals to avoid screen time before bed, the researchers are asking public heath agencies to review their own guidelines. The report concludes that “The results demonstrate a negative relation between use of technology and sleep, suggesting that recommendations on healthy media use could include restrictions on electronic devices.”

Technology has become a permanent part of the everyday human experience, and more proof of its disruptive influence on sleep is coming in with studies such as these.

 

Scottish Government Develops App for Mental Wellbeing

An internal team within the Scottish Government‘s Directorate of Health & Social Care Integration have developed a free app for mental wellbeing. Developed in collaboration with NHS24 and New Media Scotland, the Ginsberg app has a “mission is to improve mental health and wellbeing through new technologies.”

App for Mental Wellbeing - CycleThe app is named after the poet Allen Ginsberg, and inspired by his quote “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness”. The Ginsberg app aims to help users track behaviour and mood patterns and give insight into how the two are interlinked.

The app provides a platform to log physical activity, quality/length of sleep, diet and mood. Data is collected over time and provides insight into patterns and triggers so users can “feel more in control with what is going on.”

Available for both Apple and Android, you can sign up to Ginsberg for free here.

 

Mental Health Nursing – 5 Personal Experiences

Mental Health Care NurseAs many of you in the profession will already know (or at least be beginning to suspect) the only people who really understand what it is like to be a mental health nurse are other mental health nurses.

With this in mind, we thought who better to turn to for advice and personal life experience than a selection of experienced nursing professionals working in the mental health world.

Here we have gathered together 5 of the most compelling personal accounts from this unique and challenging profession which should help you overcome your own challenges, get another person’s perspective on the job, or at least dispel that feeling that no one else understands the challenges you are going through.

Paula’s account on Change.org is unique in that she has experienced mental health nursing from both sides – as a nurse and as a patient – her account here is both compelling and inspirational:

http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/blog/my-experience-mental-health-nurse-and-patient

This regular blog from a mental health nursing student describing her placement is extremely informative, highlighting both the stresses and the rewards of this challenging course, and what it is like to face this type of workplace for the first time as a young student:

http://i-am-a-mental-nurse.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/new-placement-sadness-worries-hard-work.html

The following article has become very popular on BlogSpot because it simply sums up a collection of extremely useful pieces of advice for handling patients for all mental healthcare professionals. The Author titled it simply: “20 Commandments for Mental Health Workers

http://20commandments.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/20-commandments-for-mental-health.html

This fantastic article by Adam Roxley, himself a mental health nurse, challenges the stigma of mental health issues, both for sufferers and their carers, in this excellently written article – “Why are we so Scared of Mental Health”

http://www.nursingtimes.net/student-nursing-times/why-are-we-so-scared-of-mental-health/5039966.blog

This final regular blog is again by someone with the unique twin perspectives of RMN and mental health patient. This 32 year old registered mental nurse has recently been given a diagnosis of acute bipolar disorder and writes on her journey of understanding from her new perspective as patient rather than practitioner.

http://atrulyregisteredmentalnurse.blogspot.co.uk/

If you would like to share your own experiences of mental health nursing in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.

Alternatively, if you have any articles, blogs or writers on mental health nursing which you would like to add to this list, just add the details in the comments below.

Myths about Meditation

Meditation is a very popular way to reduce stress and anxiety for mental health situations, however sometimes people don’t understand it’s not for everyone, there are some downsides to it.

It’s been proven that it can have positive effects on the mind and body, but it’s also thought to be a temporary effect so you need to keep it up to gain full the effect.

You don’t have to consign yourself to the spiritual aspect of the practice either, but it has shown that people who practice some form of meditation become more spiritual over time.

Here is a great article that goes deeper into the myths of meditation.

Photo credit: Balint Földesi

Mental Health and NHS Failure

Problems with mental health and NHS failure is a difficult combination. With the issue of mental health is one of the most important things is knowing you have a problem, then the issue is getting support.

For young people mental health makes them feel like a burden to the system, which is the worst way you can feel when in a frail state of mind. The ongoing struggles of people dealing with mental health problems are often made worse by problems with access to treatment.

Here is a great hour-long video documentary that outlines the struggling for young people in the UK.

Mental Health Nursing Jobs in the UK

When you’re looking for a mental health nursing job the My Nursing Career site seems to have a good reputation for getting you the right position. With links to some major recruiters it’s like a one stop shop or money supermarket of nursing jobs and it seems simple to sign up.

If you have left any of the nursing professions or want a change then they want to help you get a better deal, less stress, more resources for patients, and on a timetable that suits you.

Here is a just a few of the positions they deal with

  • Mental Health Nursing Jobs
  • Auxiliary Nurse Jobs
  • RMN Jobs
  • RGN Jobs
  • Staff Nurse
  • Paediatric Nurse
  • Psychiatric Nurse
  • Neonatal Nurse

They also cover various positions like

  • Part-time Nurse Jobs
  • Full-time Nurse Jobs
  • Temporary Nursing Jobs
  • Contract Nursing Jobs

Emotional and Mental Fitness

We all know the basics of looking after our physical health (even if we don’t do it that well). It’s part of our everyday lives – people think about their diets, they go to the gym, they join a sports team – it’s about getting into good habits.

The key to good mental health is no different. Its about introducing new habits into our lives. This sounds simple, but it’s certainly not easy. Changing our habits can be hard work, we often need support, but the results can be life-changing!

Trouble is, most people don’t know how to look after their mental health.  Yet research tells us that probably 2 out of 3 adults in the UK would benefit from improving their mental wellbeing. Sure, we might jog along OK but we experience anxiety and stress on a fairly regular basis. We might lack motivation, feel stuck in a rut, worry about the future.

And 1 in 4 of us can expect to experience mental ill-health such as depression or anxiety, which can have a devastating effect on our work, our families, and our lives. A recent World Health Organisation report estimated that up to 90% of GPs time is spent dealing with mental and physical ailments which are stress-related.

How do we react? Our most likely responses are to ‘do nothing, just live with it’, ‘eat comfort or junk food’, or ‘spend time alone’ – all strategies which are pretty certain to make things worse.

 Good mental health is, if not more important, than good physical health. For everyone there will be times when more attention is needed than others. 

With Life in Mind

Does this sound like you?

  • You long for some time and space to yourself – you feel you spend your life responding to the demands and needs of others
  • Your emotions feel completely out of control at times – you may react angrily to relatively small incidents, or become very upset at others
  • You’ve had to take some time off work because you’ve been overcome with stress or anxiety
  • Whenever you try and move on in your life, things seem to go wrong and it feels like a never-ending uphill struggle

A recent survey by the Mental Health Foundation showed that most people faced with stress, anxiety or depression respond by either ‘doing nothing, just putting up with it’, ‘eating comfort or junk food’, or ‘spending more time alone’.

You may feel, that you can’t afford to invest in yourself, that somehow you don’t deserve it. You may ask yourself, who am I to spend money on improving my emotional health and mental wellbeing?

On the other hand, if you’re reading this you may have realised that if you want to feel better, want to make changes in your life, want to feel more in charge of your mental wellbeing, you have no choice but to invest in yourself.

The next problem is, how do you decide what’s right for you?

There are lots of options out there, some excellent, some charlatan, some downright dangerous. Do you try counselling, meditation, adult education, yoga, rambling, volunteering, holistic therapies?

What if you could find a way of assessing your own mental wellbeing to identify your strengths and areas you need to work on? What if you could find low cost, practical options to help – and also understand what kind of specialist help would really benefit you, rather than acting out of desperation?