9 Apps To Help You Survive The Holidays, Because You Don't Have To Face Them Alone

The holidays are right around the corner. No matter which ones you celebrate, they can be, erm, stressful, right? But don’t despair. There are plenty of apps to help you survive the holidays. After all, a lot’s going on, from what to get your boss for Christmas to whether you should invite your new boyfriend home for the holidays.

Meanwhile, back at your holiday work party, you and your smartphone have snuck off to a corner and you’re swiping away on Bumble instead of playing Charades with your coworkers… again. Nothing against Charades, of course, but some people are more into it than others. While I’m generally not a fan of phones-while-around-people-IRL, sometimes, you just can’t cope and need an electronic outlet or to excuse yourself to call your BFF to come to your rescue.

And then, after Hanukkah, Christmas, and overall party-related (and non-party-related) stress, along comes New Year’s Eve and even more pressure. But, you’re not alone. From apps to help you run errands to ones that help you meditate, there are all kinds of apps out there, and they can be particularly useful this month. Here are nine apps to help you survive the holidays, because we can use all the help we can get. 

1. Relationup

Do you ever wish you had someone to talk to about your relationship and dating issues, but someone you don’t know? And during the holidays, relationship issues may be more heated than during other times of the year. Friends and family are too close to the situation (and perhaps biased) and you’re between therapists or just want an additional sounding board. Enter Relationup. 

With the app, you can have a live text chat with one of their professional advisors. It’s not only a great way to get honest, unbiased advice, but also doesn’t cost too much ($11.99 per 15-minute chat). It’s like having a therapist in your phone/pocket, 24/7. You can talk to the same advisor or to several (depending on what your needs are and when they’re available). Pretty cool, right?

2. BetterHelp

With the cold weather and holidays here, some people tend to get depressed. This can be due to several things, states Healthline, such as social isolation or grieving a loved one. If you have ever wanted a therapist via email, phone, or video versus face-to-face, BetterHelp.com may be for you. Maybe you live in a remote area or travel a lot, so cannot see someone in person. Or perhaps you like to write out your questions, thoughts, and feelings and receive written feedback in return. Whatever the reason may be, there are several communication options available if you have an e-therapist. You can also choose live chats, phone calls, or video conferencing.

Prices vary and range between $35 to $65 per week, depending on location and length of the subscription, a BetterHelp spokesperson tells Bustle. They also offer financial aid for people who can't afford it. A big plus! Overall, I think it’s worth it for the sake of your mental health. Plus, there’s a free, one-week trial period. I began using BetterHelp myself in 2014 after a bad breakup. Maybe the writer in me loves the back-and-forth written communication style — that I can reread again and again — so I definitely give it a big thumbs-up.

3. Talkspace

For all the texters out there, there’s Talkspace, wherein you and your matched therapist message back-and-forth. Like BetterHelp, you can message your therapist anytime — like during Christmas dinner when your aunt makes that passive-aggressive comment to you… for the millionth time. With Talkspace, you also have the option to leave voice messages or have an online meeting face-to-face. 

As for rates, they vary depending on the plan you choose. This is a great app if you’re on the go; and it’s like your therapist is always with you. After all, you never know when something will come up, holidays or not.

4. Headspace

I was not a mediation person by any means, but it seemed everyone I know kept telling me about Headspace, so I finally tried it — and you should, too. The mediation app guides you through short, fun meditations, and it’s so easy to use. And you probably already know why mediation is good for you, from increasing mindfulness to reducing anxiety. Plus, the app has a free introductory series of 10 mediations, 10 minutes apiece — and the guy’s voice is one of the most soothing and personable ones you’ll ever hear. So even during an anxiety-ridden holiday gathering, you can go find a quiet place and do a Headspace mediation. It’s the perfect gift you can give yourself.

5. Tinder (On Apple TV)

I know, you may be thinking: Dating gives me more anxiety, not less. But think again. Now, Tinder has launched Tinder on Apple TV, which means it no longer has to be about just you and your smartphone. Everyone can join in! Swiping for everybody. I mean, chances are, you’ve run a potential match by your friends and family anyway, right? So with Apple TV, you can show everyone at once, and on a big screen. “Tinder for Apple TV was created to make swiping a more interactive, inclusive experience,” a Tinder spokesperson tells Bustle. “We encourage Tinder users to get friends and family involved while they’re looking for matches, especially over the holidays.” I think it’s worth a try. After all, sometimes our friends and family know best, and getting a second opinion never hurt anyone.  

6. Minibar

Don’t you hate when you’re having a party, only to discover you could really use a few more bottles of wine? Well, enter Minibar. The app connects you to local merchants, and you can order wine, beer, and liquor with just a few taps of your phone — and won’t have to brave store lines or send a guest out to get it. Plus, TBH, you don’t want to ask drinking guests to drive, either. Minibar’s currently available in several big metropolitan cities, including Chicago, San Francisco, and New York City, and you’ll get your beverages in under an hour. All things considered — traffic, store lines, stress — can’t beat that!

7. Plated

We all know of meal delivery services, but what about a service that delivers all the ingredients to make dishes yourself? This could not be more perfect for the holidays, right?! One such service is Plated, where you order the recipe(s) you want and they deliver it all right to you. Then, you can truly make a homemade meal, not order in and pretend you made it. Talk about stress-free, as well as not having to get to a probably-packed store during holiday time. You can order enough food for just yourself, you and your friend or significant other, or for a group of people. There are 11 recipes to choose from, like pan-roasted chicken to meatball sliders. Plus, they change up the recipes seasonally. Yum. 

Plated prices vary, but each dinner averages $12 a person. Cheap! For instance, right now, you can get three dinners per week, with two servings each, for $42 versus $72. Again, YUM.

8. TaskRabbit

This is about to become your new favorite app. When you use TaskRabbit, you can get help with everything from running errands (last-minute Christmas shopping, anyone?) to building furniture (like an IKEA dresser for your partner). It’s like having someone else do your to-do list. Genius, huh? How does it work? The same-day service platform connects you with a “Tasker” instantly. Again, so impressive. You pick the task you need done, get matched with someone within minutes, then the Tasker arrives, does the job, and you pay via the app. Simple. And such a time-saver, especially now, during holiday crunch time. Prices vary depending on the task at hand. And, if you so desire, you can become a Tasker, too. 

9. Tilt

Tilt’s an amazing app as far as group gifts are concerned. Don’t have that $200-plus for the Vitamix your mom wants? With Tilt, you can all pitch in and pay the person buying it via the app. It’s not limited to gifts, though. You can also use the app for group dinners, drinks, fundraisers, group donations, and more. (This could be the end of awkward group dinner bills!) It reminds me of Chase QuickPay, but with specific options. I mean, asking someone for money is the worst and reminding them that they still owe you is even worse. But not with Tilt. Plus, if you’re chipping in on something via Tilt, you won’t be charged until everyone has paid up. A win-win.

All in all, no matter which of the above apps you use this holiday season, I can assure you of one thing — they’ll make your life easier, and probably will continue to well after the holidays are over. Holidays can be stressful enough, so why not seek some help, like someone to run errands, help you choose your next date, or lend an ear — or smartphone — and help give you relationship advice? 

Images: apalkov/Fotolia; Relationup, BetterHelp, Talkspace, Headspace, Tinder, Minibar, Plated, TaskRabbit, Tilt

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