5 Free Self Care Apps and Tools
Technology. It's a blessing and a curse, right?
Take my cell phone. It helps me let loved ones know I'm thinking of them at a moment's notice. Sharing silly pictures and voice messages helps me stay connected to my friends and family across the globe.
Yet if I'm not careful, precious hours of my day can go down the drain scrolling Facebook or going down YouTube rabbit holes.
I'm on a hiatus from my beloved Instagram account for Lent. I wanted to set aside a way that I generate affirmation and 'likes' for myself and hopefully strengthen my ability to rely on God for my sense of value.
This has been a great time to think about the ups and downs of technology. Is there ANY upside to having instant access to a zillion distractions on our phones?
Below are 5 tech tools for self care that have helped me care for my body, relationships, and inner world. Best of all, they're free, so you can try any of them and see if they work for you!
Tool #1: Water Drink Reminder app
Cost: Free with ads or $2 without
Good for: Increasing your liquid intake
User notes: When I started to have terrible indigestion pains in first trimester, my doctor suggested drinking more water. This was the first app I tried, and I like it. The little 'drink' icons are cute and motivating to use, and I get a little sense of satisfaction each time I log a new emptied glass.
Tool #2: WhatsApp messaging
Good for: Keeping in touch with loved ones
User notes: WhatsApp lets you exchange texts, pictures, videos and voice recordings with individuals or groups. I have a group chat with two friends (one in another state, one in another country!) that's still going strong after almost a year. It's like a private chatroom where we talk about how our days are going, tough stuff we're processing, and share prayer requests. It's been an enormous comfort and a reminder that I'm not alone.
Tool #3: EnneaThought® for the Day email
Good for: Growing in self-awareness
User notes: The Enneagram is an ancient typing system that can help you understand your core motivations, biggest fears, and what a path towards wholeness might look like. It's not for the faint of heart. But I'm hooked on its wisdom and the way it helps me empathize with people who are different than me. (Here are descriptions of the nine types, if you'd like to see.)
The EnneaThought® for the Day is little email from The Enneagram Institute that comes to your inbox daily with a short reflection for your type. Here's one I received as a Type 1:
"It is easy for you to become annoyed about the wrongdoings of others. And it may sometimes be true that they are wrong. But will your interference actually help or hurt the situation?"
GOOD QUESTION, EnneaThought® for the Day. Good question.
Tool #4: Guided Meditation by The Honest Guys
Good for: Chilling out when you're anxious
User notes: There are a plethora of guided meditations on YouTube, but there's a reason this one has over 10 million(!) views. My sister introduced this to me and I use it when I want to take a rest but feel super tempted to waste time on my phone.
Tool #5: Yoga With Adriene
Good for: Getting a little movement in while your kid is napping or it's miserable out
User notes: I haven't been to a yoga studio in ages, but when I feel my muscles tensing up or have spent a bit too much time at the computer, the Yoga With Adriene channel on YouTube is a great place to go. Some of the videos are grouped by length, so if I only have 20 minutes before school pick-up, I pick a short one. Adriene is warm, funny, and encouraging - telling users to "find what feels good" as they practice.
What did I miss? What apps or tools do you use that actually enhance your ability to care for yourself?
You can read more reader recommendations here, and add your own in the comments section below. I'd love to learn from you.
What is self care, anyway?
There's no denying it - "self care" is trending.
From TED talks to articles in Forbes, The Atlantic, and NPR, to more than half of millennial women making self care their 2018 New Year's resolution, self care is everywhere.
But has it lost its meaning amidst the hype?
What does "self care" even mean?
I talk a lot ABOUT self care, but I haven't done the best job defining it. That changes today! Here are three definitions I find useful and hope you will, too.
Self care is. . . stewardship of your whole self.
Stewardship is "the careful management of something entrusted to one's care". Self care is the careful management of your whole self - the physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual parts of you.
(Hat tip to Emily Allen from the Kindred Mom podcast for this excellent perspective.)
Self care is. . . things that require effort that are good for you.
I like this definition because it reminds me that self care can be as basic as that. The popular view of self care is pampering - rosé and pedicures - but often it's doing things that take a degree of effort to do, yet benefit us in the long run.
Self care is. . . building internal resources to face whatever life throws at you.
One of my clients told me, "I want the reserves to respond when hard things happen with my kids." We all know the feeling of racing through the day without extra bandwidth for our kids' meltdowns, sibling fights, or screaming.
Parenting is hard. Self care gives you the energy to do the important work you have been entrusted with.
When your internal resources are built up - through rest, moving your body, being connected to people who love you, and more, you have more to give the people who need you most. You are patient, not irritable. You are present instead of escaping on your smartphone. You can take a deep breath and face hard things.
And why does it matter?
I recently stumbled upon a definition of burnout I'd never considered before:
Burnout is not about giving too much of yourself, it’s about trying to give what you do not possess.
What do you want to give your kids? Your partner? Your community? What do you want to contribute to your field of work?
You can't give what you don't have.
Self care, at its best, gives you the energy for what matters most.
It reconnects you to your truest self, to your gifts, to what makes you uniquely able to make your contribution to the world. Self care helps you to give your best to the people who matter most to you.
Which definition of self care resonates most with you?
What is ONE step that you can take in the next week to experience the benefits of that kind of self care?
For accountability and encouragement, comment below with your step! I read each and every comment, and the simple act of writing out your commitment makes it 40% more likely that you'll follow through.
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