Don't Worry, Be Appy

apps to support your mental wellbeing

As we enter month three of lockdown in the UK, many are feeling the strain of remaining socially distanced from family, friends and colleagues for such an extended period. As a social species, we’re not used to the relative isolation our current situation is imposing upon us. So, it’s understandable that it’s having an effect on our mental wellbeing.

As we have explored in previous posts, in these times of uncertainty we can look to technology to support us. We’ve put together the following list of apps to consider that can support your mental wellbeing…

The Calm app is designed to help users sleep better, boost confidence and reduce stress, so it’s a great resource to help through these uncertain times. The app provides soothing, guided meditation, music and relaxing bedtime stories for adults, narrated by celebrities. You start by choosing your main objectives of using the app. You’ll then receive tailored notifications and guidance on the things you can do in order to achieve those goals. A free trial is provided, and an annual subscription then costs £28.99.

Meditation has been proven to support mental wellbeing. If you’re looking for a way into meditation from the comfort of your own (locked-down) home, then this might be the best place to start. The Headspace guided meditation app is free to download and has a free ten part basics meditation course to help you understand the fundamentals. It then offers the option to upgrade to a monthly rolling or annual subscription (£9.99 and £44.99 respectively). You choose whether you want to have three, five or ten minute sessions and pick a daily time that suits you to take part. You’ll then get a reminder via a notification at this time each day and can follow the breathing and focussing exercises to get into a meditation mindset.

The NHS provide a range of app recommendations for mental wellbeing, and Pzizz is one of these. This app is targeted at those that are having trouble sleeping. Pzizz is designed to calm your mind and prepare you to fall asleep quickly, stay asleep and wake up refreshed. It uses a mix of music, voice over narration and sound effects to create “dreamscapes” to help you sleep better at night or take powernaps during the day. It’s free to download with in app purchases so you can get an understanding of whether it’s for you before deciding if you want to part with your money.

Fitness trackers e.g. Google Fit, Apple Health, Strava

Remaining physically active has been proven to support mental health, and there’s certainly a vast array of apps that will help you with keeping fit. From couch to 5k training apps, to yoga, boxercise, 7-minute workouts and so much more. However, if that all seems a bit daunting something as straightforward as a health and fitness tracker might be what you’re after. These straightforward apps can keep track of the steps and exercise you take in a day to help keep you on track and maintain a journal of your exercise.

Google Fit and Apple Health are installed as standard on Android and iOS devices respectively and can be used as “always on” fitness companions, tracking steps based on your device’s movements and offering you easy to obtain, customised goals for your everyday activity.

Strava and other third-party fitness trackers tend to be a little more standalone and require further input to track specific exercises but can be great ways to stay on task of keeping an exercise regime, which in itself can support your mental wellbeing.

This app wouldn’t necessarily be classified as a health or mental wellbeing app. However, Audible is a great place for those looking for a way to unwind. Providing access to a vast array of books, many of which are read by recognisable voices, listening to an audiobook (via Audible or other audiobook apps!) is a great way to access literature, relax with some escapism or learn something new. Listening to an audiobook may even help you to sleep. Audible is an Amazon company, works with smartphones, tablets, home speakers (such as Alexa) and is available with a 30 day, one book free trial.

There’s plenty of apps out there that can support you throughout this period of time in lockdown. The NHS has a list of recommended apps specifically for mental health, and the various app stores each provide categories for health and wellbeing that make it easy to find something to suit your needs. Remember, keep an eye on our Working from Home blog or sign up to receive our newsletter to be the first to see our latest updates.