In a time where we have limited access to our mental and physical health resources, to whom do you turn when you're in need? As we continue to navigate life lived in isolation, one of the challenges we find ourselves facing is accessing adequate support for our mental and physical problems. While remote therapy and digital fitness classes are great options for those who can afford it, there are also alternatives that can be just as beneficial that cost a fraction of the price or are -- better yet -- free. The mobile app industry is booming with wellness-based apps aimed at helping our society find more accessible and scientifically proven ways to cope with everything from mental health issues to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. On that note, here is a roundup of our favourite mobile apps for wellness to try in 2021.
The Best Health and Wellness Apps to Try in 2021
Voted as the best mental health app of 2020 by VeryWellMind, the Moodfit app, earns its spot on our list for good reason. This app is focused on helping you feel better through features like mood tracking, questionnaires, Cognitive behavioural therapy, and much more. We love this app for many reasons, notably the way they use mood as an indicator of mental state, promoting self-check-ins, and offering valuable information on mental health symptoms in the same manor as you might receive medical information from a web-based medical symptom-checker.
Maybe you've made incorporating a meditation practice into your daily routine a goal for this year. Or perhaps you've heard others swear by the benefits of meditation and mindfulness and are curious about giving it a try. You've probably already heard of the immensely popular Calm app, but we promise this one lives up to the hype. Receiving multiple Apple App awards, Calm offers users various forms of mindfulness practices such as guided meditations, sleep stories, breathing programs, and relaxing music, making it the perfect one-stop-shop for pre-bed wind down time. They're always releasing intriguing new content and collaborations with big names such as Matthew Mcconaughey and Stephen Fry. The app is free to start and offers in-app purchases, so we recommend giving it a try to see if it's a good fit for you before diving in to the premium version.
Waking Up, an app created by celebrated neuroscientist/philosopher Sam Harris, features a collection of courses centred around mindfulness meditation. We love it for its ease of use, unpretentious tone, and varied content. The app has a 30-day starter course and then offers a new meditation lesson every day. Users can choose between 10 and 20 minute practices and if done consistently, it actually works. There's a whole section on the app explaining theory, where Sam discusses the mechanics of how meditation affects the brain with other qualified neuroscientists, philosophers and spiritual leaders. For those looking for a more scientific explanation of the benefits of mindfulness meditation, this is the app for you.
Waking Up - Sam Harris
We can all use more sleep -- that's a given. But whether you find yourself needing 5 hours or a full 8 hour slumber, getting quality sleep is really where the money's at. The Sleep Cycle app is all about measuring sleep quality through tracking sound analysis though your phone and wakes you up (within a window you set) when you're in your lightest sleep phases, helping you avoid grogginess in the morning. Sleep Cycle also keeps track of your sleep quality throughout the week, helping you determine what may or may not be helping you achieve optimal sleep. The standard version of the app is free, while the premium version gives you info about how different external factors like weather can affect your sleep. The premium version also provides an analysis of your long term sleep trends and notes/feedback about your sleep patterns which can be majorly helpful if you struggle to fall or stay asleep soundly throughout the night.
We would be remiss if we neglected to include an app for physical fitness, which in many cases, greatly contributes to mental health and self-esteem. While there are so many great apps for fitness that we all use, the Nike Training Club app is one we can all get behind. With an impressively vast database of every type of workout from yoga to high-intensity and strength training, there's really a (home) workout for everyone. There are also plenty of options when it comes to workout length, intensity level, and equipment needed. The videos are very high quality, informative and focus on good form. The good-looking trainers in HD are also a huge plus... This app is also free so it works great to complement any existing fitness plan you may be on or to supplement your favourite spin workout until you can return to the studio.