The best apps for self-care (that don’t run on shame)
I love the advent of the smartphone. It helps to keep me super-connected with people I love and helps me to experience the world in amazing ways. It also provides me with the ability to “Introvert Out” a bit, as my husband puts it, when the “real” world feels a bit overstimulating.
I love to read books on my phone. I love to take photos on my phone. And I love to listen to podcasts.
I say this, with total transparency as a self-care mentor and healer: I *love* my phone.
Of course, I know all about technology addiction and the sleep-disruptive effects of bright screens and endless scrolling. Of course, I know. I also know that unplugging is highly beneficial. It’s good for your brain, your mood, your sleep. It’s good to experience what’s around you in the present moment.
If you haven’t unplugged in a while, you should try it. So, I love my phone. And I simultaneously understand why it’s good to unplug. I contain multitudes.
One of the benefits of this new technology is that it gives us access to wellness, often for free. This creates more egalitarian access to wellness programs and education that might not have been previously available.
But what we’re also not talking about is…
The shame that goes along with so many apps that claim “wellness” as part of their beat.
So many apps that are theoretically designed to create a greater sense of well-being, more luminous health, or a greater feeling of interconnection do exactly the opposite. They flood us with shame or use unhelpful metrics.
Culturally, we’re up against enough BS when it comes to our wellness and our practice of well-being. We don’t need to add any moral weight to it through shame or guilt. We just need the simplest tools that let us rock our practice in peace.
Here, I’ve rounded up my favorite apps that I use in my self-care practice – that don’t run on your guilt or shame.
(Your mileage may, of course, vary. If one of these doesn’t feel great, stop using it and delete. Easy-peasy!)
Fun fact: I don’t really use any meditation apps.
I don’t need all the bells and whistles, and I’m guessing you don’t either. You just need your own self and your presence. You just need a willingness to show up. All that mystical music and flowy UX or those fancy “progress trackers.”
Just put your butt on the cushion and start with 5 minutes on the timer that’s already built in.
This one is free and it will help you track where the moon is in its cycle, if you’re digging that sort of thing. Get a handle on your planning, in according to the cycle of the moon. By keeping track with this app, you’ll be able to notice how different phases of the moon, you’ll be able to see how it impacts you. This one is simple and supports your intuition beautifully.
(Read more: Real Self-Care: Full Moon)
This is another that came with my iPhone.
Podcasts have really been a huge game-changer for the way I consume information. I particularly like conversational podcasts, with guests and interesting discussions about the big topics that we face as humans. I can keep my phone in my pocket and not have to stare at my screen while listening.
(Ahhh. So relaxed.)
And I can binge-listen without getting overwhelmed or feeling like I’m falling behind (like I sometimes do with blogs or books).
(Read more: The best podcasts for self-care)
Hands-down my favorite cycle tracker. It’s got a ton of functionality, and you can track symptoms, intercourse, heaviness of flow, and way more. If you’re looking for a way to track your cycle for fertility, contraception, or a whole range of other factors, this is the one I recommend.
What it doesn’t have (but that no cycle tracker has, as far as I know) is the ability to track multiple partners, which is needed if you’re dating multiple people for any of the wide range of reasons that a person might be dating multiple people.
YogaGlo uses what I think is a pretty out-dated and unhelpful system of “levels” (1 through 3). But wait!
YogaGlo actually does have some phenomenally awesome practices, ranging from vigorous power vinyasa to restorative yoga and meditations. There are even discussions of yogic philosophy, so often missing from studio yoga classes. Plus, you’ll get to practice in your own home where no one will care what you’re wearing or if you fall over in tree pose. (Because, sheesh! We all fall over in tree pose sometimes!)
There is a tracking feature, but feel free to ignore it. Just find the practices and teachers that feel awesome to you, and rock your practice.