Having a mindfulness practice is something I incorporate into my daily life. Allowing me time to reflect in silence and simply be has made me an all around calmer person. With Calm, I'm able to enhance my mindfulness. They have the most beautiful sleep stories, meditation options, sounds, and music. Simply opening the app is relaxing with their beautiful visuals and soothing sounds. They have sessions for guided meditation, walking meditation, open-ended meditation or even topics such as stress, kindness, forgiveness, and so many others. As you meditate, Calm begins to compile a calendar for you so you can visual how often (or how seldom) you are incorporating meditation and calmness into your days. To keep you motivated, it even gives you the amount of time you've meditated, the amount of sessions you've done, and your longest day streak. For sleep, they have sounds you can play or even sleep stories to listen to. There's a melody called "Milky Way" and the tune is ethereal, otherworldly, and so calming it puts my son out within minutes and makes my eyes heavy as I lay down with him. There are so many amazing options within this app. It's perfect to add a little calm to our busy lives.
Headspace, like Calm, is a meditation app. Headspace believes that meditation and mindfulness is a necessary to help relieve stress and anxiety while upping creativity and focus. Even if you've never meditated before, Headspace will guide you through it. If you're busy, they even have mini exercises you can do at any time that last anywhere from 1-3 minutes. If you're looking for something specific, they have sessions for anxiety, productivity, anger, regret, and more. A simple 10-minute meditation is a great beginner to start becoming more mindful and aware of oneself and Headspace allows you to do just that.
Happiness relies on games and activities for emotional support and happiness. Each track within the app is science-based to help train your thoughts into positivity and reduce your stress and anxiety. Follow the tracks to help you acquire the skills you need to conquer the negative thoughts. Each track is different ranging from guided meditation to writing exercises. There is also an option to see your "skills" which is composed of five different ones: Savor, Thank, Aspire, Give, and Empathize. As you do the activities, those status bars begin to fill up. They also have a section that tells you "why it works" and the literature even has footnotes to links so you can read or research more. The app is great if you like science-backed apps, games, and positive thinking. It sounds like a lot but the app is user-friendly and extremely innovative for online, personal mental health support.
Grateful: Gratitude Journal
A gratitude journal will help focus on your appreciation for the things that matter most. It's easy for us to get caught up in the negative moments but it's important to remember the little things, the things that keep our heart beating and our laughter loud and our smile wide. Each journal session begins with a prompt to help guide your thoughts. You can use one of theirs or even create your own prompt. It also allows you to add a photo – maybe you took a photo of your kids that day or were really grateful for an amazing meal or attending an exciting event. When you want to go back and reflect, the app makes it easy by allowing you to view as a timeline or as a page. If you want to turn it into a physical journal, Grateful makes it easy to export as a PDF so you can always be reminded of what made and makes you grateful.
Love hiking? Well, this app helps you locate any and all trails (get it?) and even allows you to choose between length, difficulty, rating, location, and so forth and gives you detailed trail maps. Not only that but you can favorite different trails to tackle in the future and find which ones are dog and kid friendly. When you find one and are ready to hit the trails, you can turn on your GPS and it'll follow you along the trail making sure you don't get lost. Connect with friends to share and find trail inspiration. Nothing beats the outdoors and this definitely ups the game to make your hikes even more exciting.
As you're shopping, scan barcodes of beauty products and Think Dirty will tell you how bad or good the ingredients. With almost 900,000 products, Think Dirty will tell you how good or toxic the ingredients are in the items you use daily. All you have to do is scan the barcodes of your beauty or personal care products and it'll let you know how "dirty" it is on their "dirty meter." It also lists off the ingredients for you so you can judge yourself. If you want, you can even save products for future shopping trips so you have your good and bad list on hand. The app also allows you to track your progress on limiting the bad products and will give you a score on toxic your bathroom shelf is. This app is great to keep you aware of what's going on your body.
1 in 4 people in the world will be affected by a mental or neurological disorder. Stigma is a mood journal that is meant to help relieve some of your suffering. It allows you to choose the mood you're currently feeling and then gives you a journal space to describe who/what/why/when/where/etc that may be attributing to how you're feeling. Not only that but as you set your moods, the app begins to generate a calendar for you so you can see how your mood rises and falls throughout time. Mental illness often focuses on the negative days and weeks you may be having but this app can show you the positives as well so you have a visual that the bad can and does pass. It also provides a community for those struggling with mental health and gives you "penpals" to connect to.
Saving and investing money can be a daunting task, but Acorns makes it easy by setting aside your spare change to grow your own personal wealth. Acorns syncs with your cards and rounds up the change from whatever purchases you make. So if you bought a coffee for $4.50, the app will invest $.40. The perk is – it seems so painless you'll never really notice it's gone but it'll all start adding up into a nice little savings in the long term. Don't knock off spare change and start investing it today with Acorns.
These apps should not replace stepping away from technology and practicing mindfulness in a more "natural" fashion. However, these are great teachers to help us start somewhere and track our mental health.
Whats your favorite self care app?