It’s not always easy for us parents to find time to focus on our mental and spiritual health, but it’s critical to being good parents for our kids. So, set aside the guilt about “me time” and download these free self-care apps now. They’re going to get you in the right mindset for an amazing 2018.
What I love about the Happify app (iOS and Android) is that it was developed by a team of scientist and experts in the field of psychology and cognitive behavioral psychology. The app uses games and activities to help people dealing with stress take control of those negative thoughts and replace them with happier ones. It’s tailored to your personal needs through an initial questionnaire, and then you can choose from one (or more) of 60 tracks to pursue to help you meet goals, build confidence, and more. The app is free, but certain tracks are available only through in-app purchase.
Related: 3 of our favorite meditation apps to help you keep your chill
If one of your goals this year is to focus more on mindfulness, then the free Headspace app (iOS and Android) can help you get there. Through short, daily meditations that are great for adults and kids (yes, they have a kids version) as young as four, you can spend a little time each day calming your mind. If you’re feeling like you need a time out because you’re about to lose your mind, lock the bathroom door and open the Headspace app for a few minutes. It works. If you like it, you’ll need to upgrade to a subscription (monthly or yearly) to continue reaping the benefits.
Related: 5 free journal apps to harness your thoughts this year
One of the best ways to feel healthier and more ready to face the world is through good sleep. And we all know what it’s like to be jarred awake by an alarm while you were in your deepest sleep. Well, the Sleep Cycle app (iOS and Android) uses sound analysis to track your sleeping patterns, then it gently sounds an alarm during your lightest sleeping phase so you feel (gasp) actually rested when you wake up. If you have privacy concerns about your phone listening to you while you sleep, this may not be the one for you. But, nearly 60k reviews claim this one is a life-saver. (The app is free, although you can upgrade to premium features for a fee.)
Related: Cool gadgets, apps, and tips to help you get better sleep.
Science has proven that people who are consciously grateful for things live happier, healthier lives. So, I’ve downloaded Grateful (iOS), a prompt-based gratitude journal app. Each day, I get a prompt to write down something I’m thankful for, something that made me laugh, something I’m looking forward to, or more. You can add photos or write additional thoughts down too, then you can go back and look at all those things on a timeline. It’s amazing how content and happy you are, when you remember how much good is in your life. Even the tiny things.
I’m excited about the new Aloe self-care app, which is coming out later this month. You start by checking in with the app, and tapping on some routine self-care activities that you ought to be doing — everything from taking a shower to saying something nice to the people you love. It’s amazing how many of these simple things I hadn’t done yet today. Occasionally, Aloe will remind you to check in, and you see a really clear picture of what practical things you need to do to take better care of yourself. The app also includes also prompts to help you reflect and a community of self care built into the app, so if you need help with a particular issue you can get advice from others who are trying to take better care of themselves too.