Exploring your inner world: What is self-care, and what apps are good for it?
Self-Care apps: Article 1 out of 3 about self-care and apps.
In this post, we are going to talk about the concept of self-care! I know that this word has a bad taste when some people take it in their mouths, and I know that self-care and self-help sadly have bad reputations today.
Mostly because people don’t understand what it actually is!
So what is self-care?
Self-care may seem to be simple enough to understand; it’s taking care of yourself, right? Yes, it is, but it’s also taking care of yourself in the correct way! It both focuses on mental and psychological health as well as physical and bodily health. And for some people, like myself, it also includes spiritual health.
So how does one take care of those? A few examples can be:
Spending time with yourself, exploring your inner world, without the disturbance of the outer world. How to do that? By journaling, meditation, singing in the shower, eating a good meal by yourself, doing yoga, or any other activity that you consider to be a healthy way to spend time with yourself.
Reflect on your day in the form of journaling, either by audio, writing, or illustration.
Take care of your mental and physical health by drinking enough water.
Take time with your spirituality, like praying, meditating, doing rituals, and so on.
Exercise in a way you like whether it’s weight-lifting, yoga, running, dancing, or going for a walk.
Eating good food. And with good, I mean both healthy but also to allow yourself to eat “unhealthy” sometimes. It’s good to have a balance.
And there are tons of more ways!
This is just scratching the surface a bit. Self-care is not the same as just prioritizing yourself, or being selfish. It’s simply small habits you do daily, weekly, or even monthly (because most people can’t keep up with all of the stuff every day!) to take care of yourself. It’s not “self-care” to handle your problems in a problematic way because it makes you feel good at the moment. It’s not “self-care” to just leave your kids behind and do something by yourself, because you know, screw them! It’s not what self-care is about!
Many people think that self-care is this overly much time spent with yourself just laying in bed and watching Netflix and eating a big bulk of ice cream. It’s not. It can be considered self-care if you have been burnt out and need a day off, but on a daily basis, it’s not!
So now that we know what self-care is, which are good apps to help you with it? I will divide this into purely self-care apps for your inner world (this article), productivity/habit apps, and work/focus apps (next to come). So this is article 1 in a series of 3! This first one is called “Exploring your inner world”, and I think this article will contain the most apps of all the three articles… It contains 16 apps, so hopefully I’ll find something you’d like!
Now, let’s begin with the apps!
I just want to begin this post by saying that I’m not using all of these self-care apps every day or even every week. Some of the apps I’m going to mention in this article are just downloaded for the purpose of testing what I like! Some will be removed.
My favorite apps are used often, but not always on a daily basis! Although I’m using them regularly. Others am I just testing for fun and I don’t going to keep all of them...
Important note: none of these apps are sponsored (even though I wish they were, haha) so this is my own real and unbiased thoughts!
Let’s start with my favorites!
They are not listed in any particular order though. Please note that some of the apps in the list are paid and some are free. Some also have a free version and a premium version.
“Stoic.” is a journaling and reflection app used on a basis in “Stoicism” in Philosophy. The app is filled with quotes from different philosophers and thinkers and it’s even room for you to write your own thoughts based on those quotes. The app has a daily morning question routine and an evening routine where you can reflect on your day. Other features are guided journaling, meditation, breathing exercises and reading (which are the quotes from other thinkers).
Available for desktop too and syncs between your devices.
This is a good app for reflective and philosophical people. Paid app, but the price is fair! Just like $40 or something for a year.
This has been a real favorite of mine for a long time, even tho the app is a little bit expensive in my opinion. It has meditations, thought journals (where you can for example use CBT techniques), “guided journeys” (where the app helps you take action to do things by offering audio to listen to and concrete things to help you), mood tracker and much more.
This app is good for people with depression and anxiety. Paid app. A downside is that it’s kinda expensive, but it’s at least under $10, even though you have to pay it every month. I think it has a free version, but it’s very limited… I use the premium on and off because I think it’s a little bit too much to pay for me.
Rating: 3,5/5 (the price drags down the rating a lot because feature-wise it would be a 5 out of 5!)
A meditation and soundscape app. It has guided meditations as well as unguided and breathing exercises. It also has music you can use when meditating or taking a walk. It also has sleep stories for adults, which is a concept I love! I’m actually listening to a story right now called “Monet’s Garden” because it’s almost midnight here now. It’s relaxing to listen to while writing too apparently.
This app is good for people who like mindfulness, meditation, and calming sounds. It’s also good for people who have trouble sleeping. Paid app. Can’t remember the price so I guess it’s not a huge price for a year… haha!
4. Grid Diary
This is a pretty darn cool diary. You can customize the grids of each day with questions to answer for every day, week, month, and year. It’s also pre-made templates too. You can have multiple “notebooks” for different purposes.
A simple yet powerful diary app and as far as I have been testing around with different apps, it’s the best. It’s good for people who like structure and customization. It also has moon tracking and you can organize your diary entries by tags and categories to find previous entries easier. Available for desktop too so it syncs between your devices. Paid app, but a good price of around $30 for a whole year.
5. Plant Nanny
A cute app that reminds you to drink water! When you drink water (in real life) you just push the button and water a virtual flower or plant and it then becomes a garden over time.
Good for people who want to increase their water intake and need to be reminded. It’s available both for free and has a paid premium feature. I have the free version.
These five are my all-time favorites. I might not use them daily, but I use them often and regularly. Now let’s continue with the apps I like but are not considered my most-used apps. In no particular order.
Other good apps.
This is an interesting one. This is an app where you can select your mood and from there make your own music based on your mood. It doesn’t require any musical talent or skills at all! Just choose your mood and experiment with sounds. You can then save and share your musical tunes and save them as a journal.
This app is very unique and I have used it for a while, but not every day or even every week. It’s completely free which I love. The only complaint I have is that it isn’t a huge variety of sounds you can choose from, so many tunes sound the same. But for being free it’s good enough!
7. Sound Off
This is another audio app, but instead of making music about how you feel you can create an audio journal from different prompts you can get and meditate over. The app has a selection of prompts and you can either use them for making your audio journal or you can journal of your own too.
This app has a few basic prompts for free, but after that, you can pay a premium subscription to continue to use the prompts. However the audio recording feature is free as far as I know, so if you don’t feel the need for prompts I think you can record things without any subscription for as long as you’d like.
This is similar to Sound off, but a little bit different because it’s more holistic and “spiritual” in its interface. You get prompts, but this app uses AI to analyze what you’re saying so you can understand yourself better. It lets you create your own timeline of audio journals and also quizzes to let you discover your identity.
The downside is that this app is very expensive (it’s over $15 a month!) and I don’t think I’m going to keep it after the free month I have now. It feels like a good and interesting idea, but with that price tag each month it feels not worth it! Also, it takes some time to get used to the app, it feels messy in the beginning. But it feels like it really is an intelligent app that I would benefit from if that price tag would be lower.
Rating: 2/5 (mostly because of its price, it would be 4/5 if it was cheaper!)
Youper is an app to get to know your feelings better. Unfortunately, it was much better (in my opinion) before it was updated around a year ago and now focuses more on medication and real therapy in the app. Before it was more focused on an AI assistant that you could chat with (an AI chatbot) and it could guide you to understand why you feel in certain ways. It was excellent! You can still do some of that though, but now it’s more about meditating and they want to sell you a human therapist… It’s free though, for meditation and AI chatting to check in with your emotions.
Rating: 2/5 (because of the update. It used to be my most loved app with like 5 out of 5 before though….)
10. Alan Mind
Alan Mind is a journaling app and also mood tracking and understanding your feelings better. It’s a little bit like Youper, but with more journaling and less real human therapy. Which I like! It is paid, and I don’t think I will continue to use it after the year is over since it’s about $70 a year, and that is a little bit too much for me.
29k is the first completely free app I found that has the most features that I want! It is a self-help app with free courses, tools and exercises for your mental health and I think I might change from Sanvello to this one if I like this one better when I have tried it for a couple of weeks. Because it’s free and non-profit. I love that. Right now it feels like a good option, and that it will become the top 5 after a while! The only complaint is that it’s not optimized for iPads yet. I use the iphone app on the iPad and it’s not ideal.
12. Yoga Time
This is a simple yoga app that instructs you how to do yoga no matter if you’re a beginner och more experienced. It has many videos for free, in fact, the majority of the app is completely free. I have the free version since I don’t need the pro features, which I don’t know which they are anyway haha.
This is another diary or journaling app, that has guided journaling. I mostly use this on the computer when I have longer things to say. It’s good for people who like to write. The app also has tags for your entries so you easily can search for your previous entries. I have personally moved from Journey to Grid Diary now, but I use Journey sometimes too when I have longer entries to write. There are paid and free versions, but I can’t remember the cost for the paid one.
15. Insight Timer - Meditation
This is just not just a meditation timer, but an entire library of video courses, exercises and a community around the app. I’m fairly new to the app, but I suspect it will be one of my all-time favorites after a while. The free version is enough for most people, but I wanted a particular course about mindfulness and poetry so I decided to start a free trial and then I’ll see if I continue. It’s about $65 for a full year.
16. Peak - Brain training
This app is good for getting more energy and to think deeper. It trains you memory, logical thinking, vocabulary and much more. I inclused this as the last app because we need to train our brain just as much as we need to exercise our bodies! I have purchased the life long access for this app for like $40 (one-time fee), but I don’t know what it costs nowadays or if it has a free option. Good for lazy people who want to get brighter haha!
Do you really need apps for self-care? No, but also yes. Not if you don’t want to, but why shouldn’t you if you have a smartphone? It can help you to stay focused and keep track of your habits and make a better structure in your life. See the apps as helping aids for your mental and emotional health. Just as you need aids for your physical health sometimes.
You don’t need all of these apps of course. Make it simple and test out a few that seems interesting enough, and then keep what works for you. I’m going to delete a few of the apps from my devices now after this review, haha!
You have reached the end of this article.
xx Tricia Joy