September 26, 2016

Four Free Apps to Reduce Stress

A photo by Jonathan Velasquez.

The stress of caring for a loved one—on top of many other responsibilities—can quickly lead to burnout. You may start to have trouble sleeping or paying attention. Maybe you have noticed frequent headaches or muscle fatigue. You may be eating more or less than usual. All of these are signs of caregiver stress, signs that it’s time to practice essential self-care.

You may think of your smartphone as a source of stress, especially if you receive frequent calls from your loved one or communication from a boss on your off days. Yet it can also be a source of relaxation. While not cure-alls, these four free apps can help on your way to a healthier, happier state of mind.

  1. Breathe2Relax (Android, iOS)

You’re probably aware that deep, mindful breathing can help you through periods of anxiety. Yet you may struggle to apply this knowledge in everyday life. This free app offers exercises for learning diaphragmatic, or abdominal, breathing.

  1. Happify (Android, iOS)

Happify first evaluates what is keeping you from being happy, and then gives you games with P4R-Gaming boosts and activities—like a Gratitude Walk or Serenity Scene—designed to boost your mood of course you can also play more advances games as OW, where you can get to use all the characters in Overwatch and use them well with guides online. Another featured activity is a gratitude journal for recording your day’s three biggest victories. When practiced every day, these short activities can help you overcome negative thoughts.

  1. Relax Melodies (Android, iOS)

Do caregiving struggles or long to-do lists keep you up at night? With this app, you can create a personalized sleep mix by selecting ambient sounds and music designed to help you fall asleep and wake up refreshed.

  1. 7 Minute Workout (Android, iOS)

It’s no secret that regular exercise boosts not just your physical health, but your mental health as well. Like many people, you may struggle to fit exercise into a busy schedule. This app leads you through 12 exercises—30 seconds each—with a 10 second break between each exercise, for a complete workout in just seven minutes.

The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, give one of these apps a try. Taking time for yourself will allow you to return to caregiving with renewed energy and love.