My Favourite (Free) Apps for Mental Wellbeing
by Abbie Morrice
Courtesy of Bosland Corp. via Flickr
Technology can offer you some initial steps you can take to improve your mental wellbeing that do not involve a waiting list; these apps are a very useful crutch that I would now struggle without. I find they are particularly useful in helping to cope with stress but are useful for much more.
Tide: Sleep. Focus. Relax. Meditation.
My go-to app for when I feel overwhelmed. Tide currently has four options – Focus, Sleep, Relax (which includes features you can pay for) and Breath. The Focus feature allows you to pick a length of time to listen to white noise such as a storm, the ocean or music and is great for making you focus for bursts of time. The Sleep feature has both a sleep and a nap option where you can either set an alarm for the time you want to wake up or how long your nap should last. During your sleep, the white noise will continue to play, and an alarm will sound to wake you up. It helps block out city noise and lets you focus on a soothing sound which will help you to shut off. However, my personal favourite feature is Breath – you set the length of time you want to do guided breathing for and the app displays a circle which increases in size as you breathe in then decreases as you breathe out. I find this feature to be great for anxiety as it can help to reset laboured breathing.
Headspace: Meditation made easy.
Free to download and all features of the app can be accessed for free if you have a Spotify Student Premium account. Without the premium features, however, the app still offers ten basic meditation sessions, the first session of every course, sleeping aids and three everyday sessions. I used this for over a year without knowing I could have had access to all the features and the basics are brilliant. Taking the 10 minutes out of your day with the basics of this app is great for helping you focus and feel more present in your day. Without a Spotify membership, the premium features are £9.99/month and include mindfulness tracks on, to name a few: transforming anger, switching off for sleep, getting motivated to exercise and prioritization for students.
Sleep Cycle: Wake up easy.
Monitors your sleep and generally aims to improve your sleeping pattern. Sleep cycle tells you which time you should be heading to bed based on the time you need to get up. You keep your phone plugged in to charge and leave it face down on a flat surface next to your bed, and the microphone picks up on your movements and sounds so it knows when you actually fall asleep. It then uses a window of time in the morning and wakes you up with a gentle alarm when you are at the lightest point in your sleep – which makes for a much gentler waking. Over time it takes an average of the time and quality of your sleep, which can help give you that kick to start going to bed a little earlier.
All three apps are available on Android and iOS.