Technology has changed the game when it comes to how people practice self-care and improve their wellness. Though traditional therapy, support groups, and trips to the doctor are super important, many people have turned to their tech devices to improve their mental and physical health as part of their daily practice — whether through joining online support groups, watching yoga flows on Youtube, or downloading mental wellness apps. One thing is clear to me: Health-focused tech is becoming a prominent resource for people with mental health issues, people trying to cope with stress, or people who are looking for strategies to take care of themselves.
Alexa — the Amazon Echo's voice-controlled assistant — is making it even easier to improve your mood and physical health from the comfort of your own home. Alexa is typically used to play music, control household functions (like turning off lights), or shop online, among a zillion other functionalities. But one little known feature of Alexa is that it can help you develop a healthier self-care routine. As PopSugar reported, there are over 700 health & fitness "skills" that Alexa can complete, from syncing with your FitBit to playing rain sounds to help you sleep. Some of those skills probably fit right in with your existing self-care practice, but are fun ways to change it up a little bit. Alexa is, of course, not a replacement for therapy or going to the doctor if you're not feeling well, but for your everyday self-care practice, it can provide a few therapeutic tools for you to utilize — tools that are way easier and more accessible for some people. Here are nine self-care practices you didn't know Alexa can help you with.
If you want a simple and quick way to meditate, Alexa can help you out. Guided Meditation by Stop, Breathe, & Think is a highly-rated, free feature on Alexa that can play you over 60 different meditations and breathing exercises. It also plays a new guided meditation daily. Since the meditations are always three to eight minutes long, it's still super doable for even the busiest person. To access it, say "Alexa, open Guided Meditation."
2. Listen To Calming Sounds
If guided imagery and meditation isn't your thing, Alexa can play an array of relaxing music. If you say, "Alexa, play Spa Music," it will open a feature that has a mix of different calming music — including bamboo flute, morning music, and more. Alexa also offers white noise, rain sounds, and thunderstorm sounds if you don't want to listen to music.
3. Perform Short Exercises
If you are looking to perk up a bit instead of winding down, Alexa's five-minute workout feature will get your heart pumping and endorphins flowing without breaking too much of a sweat. To try this feature, say "Alexa, open five minute workout." Alexa also has seven-minute workouts, and more specialized routines. If you need a break, tell Alexa to "pause," and then "resume" when you're ready.
4. Journal (Virtually)
Alexa's Gratitude Journal skill allows you to record daily things or moments you are thankful for. If you are ever feeling down, you can ask Alexa to play your oral journal entries back to you. To jot down a memory through the device, say, "Alexa, write something in my gratitude journal."
5. Hear Inspirational Quotes
If you need a little mental health pick-me-up, ask Alexa to tell you the quote of the day. To receive some instant inspo, say, "Alexa, start quote of the day." Hearing an inspirational quote could boost your mood and help you get through the rest of the day.
6. Set Daily Goals
If you are feeling demotivated, Alexa can help you by suggesting a goal for the day. Simply ask Alexa to "open daily goal," and you will receive a random, feel-good task to complete.
7. Try Yoga Nidra
If you need to relax after work without napping, Alexa's Yoga Nidra (aka, "yogic sleep") could be a good option. Amazon describes it as "a refreshing form of relaxation and an alternative to the twenty-minute power nap." If you prefer traditional yoga routines that require more movement, Alexa can play a 10 to 15 minute yoga flow. To give it a try, say "Alexa, play Yoga Nidra."
8. Perform A Random Act Of Kindness
Supporting and helping others, even strangers, can improve your happiness and overall mental health. Tell Alexa to "open Random Act Of Kindness," if you want to receive a task to complete. The skill makes it simple to spread a little positivity.
9. Check In With Your Support Team
The skill My Support Circle allows you to tell your friends and family how you are feeling without calling or texting them. After enabling the feature and giving trusted loved ones an access code, you can say, "Alexa, tell My Support Circle I feel happy," or whatever you feel in the moment. Anyone with the access code will receive an update, and then know if you need some extra support on any given day.
Amazon's Alexa is great for keeping on top of daily activities and playing music, but the device can be used for yoga, meditation, journaling, and so much more. If you are in need of some easy-to-use self-care, Alexa has got you covered.