The general thinking around self-care and smartphones is that they do not mix. Turn your phone off, do not pass go, do not collect $200, they say. Go on a social media detox, they say. But we live in a fast-paced, super-connected world, and sometimes it’s simply not so easy to switch off. Thus, our new philosophy is that we’re better off supplementing our smartphones with self-care apps. If you can’t beat them, join them.
Thankfully, there’s a growing number of apps designed for just this purpose. Whether you want to get better sleep, lighten your stress load, or boost your mental health, there’s something for you. Of course, these apps shouldn’t act as a replacement for professional help, should you need it. But for those on-the-go moments, we find these self-care apps super helpful and we think you will too.
1. Sleep Cycle
If you struggle to pull yourself out of bed in the morning, it’s time to meet Sleep Cycle. The app is an intelligent alarm clock that tracks your sleep patterns (using sound) and then gently wakes you while you’re in a light sleep. The idea is that by waking you up in light sleep, you’ll feel rested and energised, instead of sluggish and exhausted. And don’t panic about sleeping in. You can still set a non-negotiable alarm time. Sleep Cycle will find the best time to wake you in a 30-minute window before that time.
2. Simple Habit
Studies show that meditation does it all. It can help you bust through a stressful moment in the short term, but meditation also helps you reverse stress-related changes in genes and therefore potentially ease stress and depression in the long term. Simple Habit is a great app for newbies and mavens alike. Top teachers have put together meditations that cover every situation, from trying to fall asleep to preparing for a stressful meeting at work. While you’ll have to pay if you want a premium subscription, there are several basic meditations available under the free membership plan.
3. Day One
When we think of journaling, most of us conjure up thoughts of our teenage selves, scribbling away in a locked notebook. But the Day One app is far removed from that scene. Day One is a simple journaling app that lets you track your feelings, memories and moments with ease. Studies have shown that journaling can help lower depression and anxiety, as well as strengthen immune cells called T-lymphocytes. In other words, it can help the body, mind and soul. While it often takes time to form a new habit, Day One makes it as easy as possible with prompts, alerts and more.
Compendium An Inspired Life Journal ($16)
If you find it hard to take five minutes for yourself in this 24/7 culture, Shine is here to help. Every weekday, Shine will send you a message with a “fresh take on how to own your day.” Think self-care tips, research-backed solutions to your problems, and supportive affirmations. Additionally, Shine has a log that lets you record daily moments of gratitude. And, to top it all off, the app features a series of mini-meditations, called Mindful Moments, that let you take a few minutes a day all for yourself.
If you’ve ever suffered from panic attacks, it might seem counterintuitive to pick up your phone and start playing a game. But hear us out. Flowy was created by Simon Fox, who has experienced panic attacks himself. Fox knows that in the throes of an attack, you don’t have time to think about the nitty-gritty, but on the flip side, distractions can be helpful. Enter: Flowy. The aim of the game is to help Aegir, the god of the sea, repair his boat. To help Aegir, you’ll follow simple breathing exercises. According to Flowy, after just 90 seconds, you’ll feel more relaxed and centred.
The main goal of Happify is simple: the app wants you to feel happier. And the team behind Happify believes that if you allocate just a few minutes of your day to your happiness, you can see significant results within weeks. The app provides users with activities and games that utilise positive psychology, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioural therapy techniques. According to the Happify team, 86% of frequent users find their happiness has increased within two months of downloading the app.
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