I love apps. My kids are forever harassing me about the overflowing folders on my home screen. I don’t even care. Maybe I love them so much because even ten years ago I could not conceive of all that we’d be able to do.
Ten years ago I was using the Nike+ as my running companion; do you remember that little gadget? You put it inside (or on) your shoe. It would tell you how far and fast you walked/ran. Kind of. It was painfully inaccurate because it relied on an average step size. My 6’4” son’s step is about twice mine. Still, that was innovation. A huge deal. In 2007.
There wasn’t even Facetime. Can you remember life before Facetime? It was hard.
Now, your WATCH can tell where you are using GPS. It can tell you exactly how far you’ve traveled. Your heart rate. What your heart rate was yesterday at this time. And about a thousand other functions that I won’t even mention.
Which brings me back to my love of apps. You know how they say “there’s an app for that?” There actually IS. I have apps for everything: keeping track of my yarn stash, reading the news, reading magazines, photo editing, meditating, exercise. I have an app that you point to the sky and it tells you what constellation you’re looking at. I SHIT YOU NOT.
But my favorite of all the apps are the ones that encourage and remind me to care for myself.
Why? Because I SUCK SO HARD AT IT. What better use for technology than wellness? (Well, also Snapchat, but that’s another article.)
What I want to share with you here is a highly curated list of apps that I use for health and wellness (many of these are Apple Watch compatible, some have Android versions).
For water tracking/reminder:
You’re not drinking enough water. You just aren’t. I mean, you might be, but it’s highly unlikely.
If you’re the gamer-type, Plant Nanny is for you. Give your plants water or be responsible for their death. Collect more plants. Unlock new plants.
No Apple Watch app, but there is an Android version.
If you’re just looking for utility (and Apple Watch compatibility), Water Minder is a perfect, simple interface.
The watch reminders pop up at whatever regularity you choose and offer a quick water add option.
There is an Android version.
For sleep tracking:
I’ve talked about this app before, but it is always worth a mention. While I wouldn’t implicitly trust any app to accurately track sleep, Pillow can at least tell you how long you’re in bed and what part of that time you’re asleep.
I find it to be pretty much on the money in terms of my sleep quality and overall a really great way to see how much sleep I’m NOT getting.
It’s also got an awesome nap function!
No Android version of this one, but there are others. There are always others.
I’m not going to pretend I am one of those people that super loves sweating. I just don’t. But I do love yoga.
Any type of yoga you are looking for, you will find on YogaGlo.
Meditation? They’ve got it.
Only have 5 minutes? NO PROBLEM.
Can’t sleep? Covered.
Need to get sweaty? Got that too.
Find the classes you want. Save them. Schedule them in your calendar and the app reminds you when it’s time.
Start them on your watch and your phone pops right open.
This isn’t free. It’s actually kind of hefty at $22.99 a month. But if you use it, that’s cheaper than most yoga classes. Totally worth it.
I have found a couple of instructors I really love and keep going back to (Rod Stryker, for one).
As previously mentioned, I don’t really love exercise, but I do like to walk. Plain old pedometers are so passe. Pocket Plants is where it’s at.
Convert steps to gems. Unlock new worlds. Play with friends! I don’t even like phone games and I’m addicted to this stupid thing. I recruited two friends and they also report something of an addiction.
Last night I was walking circles around my family room to try to get to 10,000 steps to then convert those steps to 140 Amethysts to then buy a plant called FORGIA.
Yeah. I DID IT.
To unlock the next plant, I need 499 Amethysts which is equivalent to like 30,000 steps. So. Is it making me walk more? YEAH. It’s making me walk more. Is it stupid? Maybe. Do I care? Nah, I'm too old to care if people think I’m stupid.
This is another app that isn’t free (if you want all the features — there are some pretty good free meditations available to everybody) but is worth it. Meditation is scary to a lot of people. Don’t be intimidated. Call it mindfulness if that makes you feel more comfortable (and less woo), or call it silent sitting, or call it, “I just need five minutes away from these children.”
Whatever you call it, sitting in quiet contemplation has innumerable health benefits.
It’s not an easy habit to create, but it is worth it.
Headspace isn't just for adults! They have kid-specific meditations, too.
My favorite part of headspace is the Apple Watch integration. I call it my panic button.
Up pops little face guy and you just hold pressure on him. Too much and the watch tells you to lighten up, too little and you get an nudge for more pressure.
I love technology.
Another app that has a similar feature is…
That’s all this app does — reminds you to breathe. It comes standard with the Apple Watch. It’s like Apple just wanted to give you a little gift (in exchange for the several hundred Benjamins you just dropped on a watch).
I need to be reminded to breathe. You wouldn’t think I’d need to be reminded to breathe. I mean I’m doing it right now, right?
I mean, right, I AM breathing. But attention to the breath isn’t just breathing. It’s an instant stress reducer. You can set how many breaths you’d like in a minute, the app does the rest. You don’t have to look at your wrist like a dork either. It will give you a little vibratory nudge to inhale and another to exhale. Which means you can be doing this in traffic or during a staff meeting and no one will be the wiser.
I hope you find some of these useful/AMAZING. AND I'd love to hear your favorites, too. I always have room for more apps!