Self Care Apps To Keep You Calm and Cool
Text: Trishna Rikhy
In the digital age we live in, our cell phones are capable of an infinite number of things. They’re our personal DJs and personal assistants, our passenger seat navigators and our boredom-induced distractions. In good times, they can capture memories and let us relive our happiest moments—on the flip side of that coin, in bad times, they can be our personal therapists, giving us tools of self-care right at our fingertips.
Whatever is going on that’s affecting you right now, whether it be pandemic-related or politics-related, is likely causing some kind of stress. It’s easy to feel glued to our phones when they’re the main provider of information, connecting a plethora of news outlets and professional sources under one screen, but we have to remember to take a step back and care for our mental health.
Luckily, there are several apps in the App Store now that don’t make it so that you have to take a step too far back—in fact, you can get self-care without ever having to put your phone down. Below are some of V’s favorite self-care apps that will help you stay grounded while staying connected.
Headspace uses guided and mindful meditation to help people be more centered and calm not only in the moment, but in their daily lives, too. It has courses built into the app at varying difficulty levels to teach skills of “meditation and mindfulness in just a few minutes a day,” and provides courses at beginner levels to build your self-care foundation on with the essentials. Sign-up is free, and in-app purchases include an annual subscription for $69.99 or a monthly subscription for $12.99.
As the highest-ranking app in the App Store for sleep, meditation and relaxation, Calm has developed a user base that people swear by. Their approach to self-care includes mindfulness for beginners and programs for advanced and intermediate users, too, featuring Sleep Stories to help users fall asleep (narrated by celebrities such as Harry Styles and Matthew McConaughey) as well as guided meditation sessions at varying lengths. It also allows you to track your progress and time usage in the app to ensure you’re putting in enough time for self-care. Calm is free to download and has a $14.99/month subscription or $69.99 annual subscription for unlimited access.
Sometimes, self-care isn’t in the form of mediation and relaxation, but instead, brain games to stoke your mental activity and get you out of a particular brain funk. Lumosity is a brain training app to keep your mind sharp and strengthen your cognitive functions, using games, puzzles and memory games for a mental workout. Users begin with a 10-minute Fit test to determine their baseline levels, and has workout modes curated for you based on your activity and habits. Lumosity Premium offers in-depth insights about your progress and skills for an $11.99/month subscription or $59.99 annual subscription.
Many people turn to forms of journaling for self-care, whether that be bullet journals, writing down affirmations, or using a diary. Gratitude lets you have all of this at your fingertips. The free version of the app allows users to write unlimited journal entries and positive affirmations (all data is private), personalize their journals, get prompts for writing, receive a daily zen quote and set reminders for journaling. In the pro version, users can back up their journal and export it for a monthly plan of $4.99/month or annual plan of $29.99/year.
Shine is a self-care app designed by women of color, intended to make personal and mental health a habit rather than a sporadic feat. It offers users new self-care strategies every day so they can find what works for them, and offers support from a diverse community. Shine also has an audio library of over 800 guided meditations and calming sounds, plus a built-in journal function to write affirmations and receive recommended articles and exercises based on your habits and usage. There are specific topics users can filter through, too, including Black Wellbeing, Calming Anxiety, Reducing Stress, Burnout, Forgiveness and more. Shine is $11.99 per month or $53.99 per year.
Happify offers over 65 tracks, games and meditations to help users become their best selves. Using science-based activities to elevate happiness, it offers personalized insight and progress reports as well as different app modes based on what you want to focus on, including empathy, giving and thankfulness. Happify offers a variety of plans, including a yearly subscription of $139.99 ($11.67/month) or a monthly subscription of $14.99/month.