Nowadays, there are hundreds of phone apps available to teach everyone the basics of self-care, everything from guided meditations to organization to life hacks to help reduce and manage stress. With so many apps at our disposal, it’s hard to know where to begin. Here are eight that offer various types of meditations and mindfulness exercises, just in time for the New Year. Most provide free services but also have a more detailed subscription option. Sessions range from a minute to 30 minutes, so it’s easy to find one that fits different needs, lifestyles and schedules.
This app contains 16 meditation and mindful breathing exercises for free, including a seven-day beginner’s program. There are even soothing nature sounds, such as rain, and lake sounds to help relax and lull users stuck in noisy or crowded places. There are also free 21-day programs that center on managing stress and calming anxiety, ranging from three to 30 minutes.
More detailed programs — at an extra cost — cover essential topics such as adopting healthy sleep habits, tips to stop emotional eating and lessons on how to create a loving, nurturing relationship with oneself, among other topics.
What does it cost? The initial seven-day sessions are free. Subscriptions are $13 a month, $70 for a year and $400 lifetime.
Launched in 2010, this app has guided meditations led by the founder Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk. Besides offering simple how-to instructions, each meditation teaches breathing and body-awareness exercises.
The app offers minute-long meditations for those who need a quick boost to finish the day strong. Others are centered on specific issues such as anxiety, stress and sleeplessness. To sum it up, Headspace is ideal for meditation novices who need help establishing a new self-care routine.
What does it cost? $13 a month for access to meditation sessions; $70 for an annual subscription.
For a daily dose of motivation through an expansive collection of self-improvement audio, Shine is a great introductory exercise. There is a plethora of free content; think topics on productivity, mindfulness, positive affirmations and healthy living. With this app, you can de-stress, lower anxiety and create an overall sense of calm and well-being. And if you are trying to incorporate some more gratitude into your life, you can also track your appreciation each day. There also are specialized Shine Challenges such as a seven-day audio challenge on select self-care topics.
What does it cost? Messages are free; subscriptions to Mindful Moments are $12 a month, $54 for a year.
Using an application called “ToDon’t” might sound like the opposite of how you want to start out the New Year, but it might be the necessary push needed to reach those lofty goals. The app’s purpose is to help users procrastinate less and drop those bad habits. In other words, it tells us what we don’t want to accomplish that day. For example, it can help us avoid negative behavior patterns such as spending hours on social media or letting those dirty dishes or laundry pile up.
What does it cost? Free.
This app is all about reducing stress and helping users manage negative thoughts. Whether it’s a grueling work schedule or just having a rough week emotionally, Happify has science-based games and activities to improve one’s emotional well-being and promote positive thinking. Participants choose from all kinds of categories such as improving self-confidence or achieving Zen through meditation.
What does it cost? Free; for more features, subscriptions vary. Prices start at $15 a month, $140 for a year and $450 lifetime.
Sanvello (formerly Pacifica)
This app is a tailored online tool to help combat stress, anxiety and depression. Users can track their mood, meditate and implement cognitive-behavioral therapy by using psychologist-designed tools to assist in managing tension, nervousness and dejection, according to its website. Audio exercises include deep breathing and soothing soundscapes. There is also a chance to connect with other users through its peer-support community.
What does it cost? Free; for more features, $9 a month, $55 for a year and $200 lifetime.
The Day One App
Journaling has long been described as therapeutic. It can improve one’s mood and provide a greater sense of overall emotional stability and happiness. There are dozens of journal apps out there, so it’s all about finding the one that connects the best with you. And, art journalists can rejoice because the Day One app recently added some new features: Now, users can digitally fill their journal pages with or without words. There is a feature to add photos, drawings or audio recordings to really bring journal entries to life.
What does it cost? Free; premium features are $36 for a year.
It’s not about devoting hours of time and focus on this app. This is for people who are looking to build healthy habits in a short amount of time by doing perfectly timed stretches while listening to relaxing, ambient sounds. It’s also a good alternative for people with physical limitations or injuries.
What does it cost?
The basic plan is $1; premium features can be bought within the app.