With 2019 here, self-care may be among the goals you have for the New Year, and rightfully so. After all, keeping yourself feeling healthy, mentally speaking, is important for your overall wellbeing. Luckily, self-care can mean many things: meditating, doing yoga, seeing a therapist regularly, running, or any other thing that makes you feel relaxed and a better version of you. However, you may not always have a chance to go for a run or time to see your therapist, so that’s where technology comes in: Self-care apps can help you stay balanced in the New Year; you can literally have them on hand in your pocket via your phone.
“Self-care is a broad term that can include physical, emotional, cognitive, social, and spiritual aspects of your life,” Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Bustle. “All are important, and all are associated with more positive experiences, longevity, and a better quality of life.”
He says that the use of self-care apps can be a very fruitful and helpful way to bring emotional regulation and self-care to the forefront of your consciousness. “Much like the apps focused on monitoring and encouraging exercising and budgeting, these apps focus us in on our thought process, emotions, breathing, and stress levels — all of which have an enormous impact on our overall functioning,” Dr. Klapow says. “It is important, however, to be extremely mindful that these applications are NOT substitutes for mental health care.” He says they do not treat clinical conditions like depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, but are a great tool for anyone, whether you’re being treated for the aforementioned conditions or not. “They are a great way to get more skilled at thinking, feeling, and engaging with the world in a healthier, more productive manner,” he says.
Below, you’ll find seven self-care apps that are perfect to try during this New Year.
Headspace is a great app when it comes to self-care. You can listen to a general guided meditation under their Basic meditations or choose one that’s more specific, such as Sleep or Relationships. And the voice behind Headspace is so soothing, you’ll feel more at ease in no time. There are also super short meditations if you just need a quick dose of calm.
Cost: Headspace is free, but to access hundreds of additional meditations, you can subscribe for $12.99/month or $94.99; however, there’s currently a 40 percent off sale, so you can get a whole year for just $58. Or, you can get a lifetime subscription for $399.99.
If you’re looking for daily motivational texts and a big selection of self-improvement audio (on topics including productivity, mindfulness, and improving sleep), Shine is the self-care app for you. It can help you de-stress, lower anxiety, and feel better overall. You can save your favorite texts, too, so that you can look at them as many times as you need to. The app has a gratitude element, as well, where you can track your gratitude each day. You can also try a Shine Challenge, a seven-day audio challenge to get you to go deeper on a select self-care topic. Shine was also featured among the “Best of 2018” by the App Store, but you can decide for yourself once you give it a try.
Cost: Daily Shine messages are free, but you can get a subscription to Mindful Moments for $9.99/month or $53.99/year).
The Calm app aims to make you just that: Calm in all senses of the word. You’ll learn how to master your breathing and reduce stress and anxiety. You can choose mediations that vary in length from three to 25 minutes, so you can fit them into your schedule accordingly, and topics include managing stress, deep sleep, and self-esteem — among many others. Plus, Calm was the 2017 App of the Year, according to Apple, so that’s another reason to download Calm and test it out.
Cost: You can try Calm for free for seven days, or $12.99/month or $59.99/year. You can also get a lifetime subscription for $299.99.
If you’re looking for online tools to cope with stress, anxiety, and depression, Pacifica is your go-to app. You can track your moods, meditate, and also practice cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) by using psychologist-designed tools to help manage stress, anxiety, and/or depression. Audio exercises include topics such as deep breathing and soothing soundscapes. You can also join fellow users in a peer-support community, which will help quell feelings of being alone in your thoughts. Plus, the app was among Apple’s Best of 2017, as well as Google Play’s Editor’s Choice.
Cost: You can use Pacifica for free, but for more features, the paid options are: $8.99/month, $53.99/year, and $199.99/lifetime.
5. Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds
If you’re looking for an app to help you sleep by providing you with soothing sleep sounds, Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds is a perfect one. And, you don’t have to choose just one sound, but you can combine sounds, like Rain and Piano, for instance. You can also have your sound combinations and make your own sleep mix. Or, you can opt for Sleep Moves, guided exercises to help you get to sleep. You can also listen to the app if you want to just relax — napping or sleeping is not mandatory.
Cost: There are dozens of free sleep sounds, but you can also buy a subscription for $9.99/month or $59.99/lifetime.
6. Breathing Zone
If you need help focusing on your breathing — which can help decrease your anxiety — Breathing Zone may be the app you’re looking for. It’s a guided breathing exercise that’ll help you go from anxious to relaxed in just a few breaths. And, you can cater the number of breaths you want to take per minute — such as eight or 10. Not only will the app help elevate your mood, but it’ll retrain your brain, too.
Happify can help you out by reducing stress and helping you manage negative thoughts. Whether you’re dealing with challenging co-workers or just having a bad day, the app has science-based games and activities to help your emotional well-being and have you see the positives. You can choose from all kinds of categories, such as building your self-confidence or achieving mindfulness through meditation.
Cost: You can use the app for free, but for more features, subscriptions vary: $14.99/month, $139.99/year, and $449.99/lifetime.
Self-care tools are just a few taps away via your phone. And, with the New Year here, now’s the ideal time to start managing your self-care, so you can start 2019 off on the right foot.