Life in the 21st century is stressful enough, but 2020 seems to have upped the ante on us all. Stress, mental fatigue and burnout are all very real, very dangerous health conditions that can happen to even the most preternaturally optimistic, silver-lining-lookers among us. Millennials and Generation Z have been working to de-stigmatize mental health, and one of the ways they have chosen is by popularizing the idea of self-care.
Mental health is equally as important as physical health, but we often overlook our mental health. If we tear a muscle lifting too many boxes we tend to immediately get help, but if we get overwhelmed from working too many hours we might just tell ourselves “this is how things are.” Well, it’s not. Not anymore.
If you’re wondering where you can start on self-care, no worries. Always ready to capitalize on trends, technology companies have produced hundreds of apps that can help you jump on the bandwagon. And trust me, you’ll be glad you did. Below are my top three picks, try one out and see for yourself how great self-care can be.
First up is the Calm app. This is one that I have a lot of personal experience with, and it does wonders to help reduce stress and anxiety and bring you back to ground if you find yourself in a thought spiral.
Calm is also wonderful if you have trouble sleeping. Their “sleep stories” are gentle, airy pieces read by soothing voices that will lull you to sleep without you ever realizing what’s happening. Ditto on their guided meditations, which can help even the most high-strung among us relax for half an hour.
Number two on my list is Lumosity. If you listen to a lot of podcasts you are probably familiar with Lumosity, even if you’ve never tried it out yourself. The app is advertised on a lot of my favorite podcasts, which is where I first learned about it.
Lumosity might just look like another gaming app, but these are brain games. The kind that you can sit down and focus your attention on for ten minutes without thinking about anything else. And these aren’t just your typical sudokus and crosswords, Lumosity has some genuinely fun, addictive games that are great when you need to unwind and refocus for a few minutes.
Finally, and hear me out on this one, the Notes app. Yes, the default Notes app on your phone can be a great form of self-care.
Here’s what I do. Whenever I get an idea, a thought or a phrase stuck in my head, I write it in my Notes app. And then, if I’m feeling blocked creatively, I open it up and look back over all of the silly, often nonsensical things I’ve written in there. This almost always leads to a spark of creativity.
Even if you aren’t the creative type, the Notes app is a great way to shake some of the cobwebs loose in your head or get rid of a troublesome ear worm or memory. Write it in a Note, meditate on it for a moment, and then symbolically delete it from your life.
Self-care may sound like nothing more than a buzzword, but it’s very important for your mental health, especially right now, when the world is turned upside down. So give these apps a try and hopefully, in a few weeks, you’ll find yourself feeling more relaxed.