Before I delve into my major topic, I wanted to acknowledge the passing of my Grandfather, who supported me my whole life with effects that he couldn’t have known. He read my blog avidly, as he was a driving force behind me writing anything publicly. He was a sailor, a Harvard man, a lawyer, a problem solver, a caring father, a doting grandfather, a loving husband, an intellectual, a renaissance man. He loved to learn and always had something interesting lined up. Now, as I sit here in my Harvard sweatshirt (an ode to the great man himself), I want to take the time to write something, because I know he would support me in this too. Thank you Grandpa, you will always be a part of me.
Today’s topic is something newish to me. These days there are apps for everything. But what are the best mental health apps out there? I’ve been experimenting with a few and thought you all might be interested.
Daylio: this is a mood tracking app with fun and very customizable activity and mood icons. You pick one of 5 major emotional states, then you choose the activities you want to record. Then you have the ability to leave a note for yourself. The stats feature will allow you to see how often you’re doing said activities, track your general emotions, and discover what activities go most often with each mood.For people working closely with a therapist, there is also the option to export the information as a csv file. http://daylio.webflow.io/
Medisafe: This app is essential to the crazy person’s life. Input all of your meds, the times and dosages you take, add in prns (as needed meds), and voila! A virtual pillbox appears to show you what to take. You can add in any dose you want at any time. One nice feature is that you can add friends to your list and they’ll be notified if you don’t take your meds on time. Basically, sign up for your friends to yell at you. https://medisafe.com/
Sleep Cycle: Sleep is so important to our day to day functioning. Sleep cycle easily tracks your sleep patterns so that you can be more efficient and take care to get enough sleep. My therapist recommended I use one so that we can figure out what is going on with my sleep/wake cycle. After 5 consecutive days of sleep monitoring, it can analyze more data for you. https://www.sleepcycle.com/
Impulse App: Do you feel like you’re not as mindful as you could be? Are you prone to impulsive behaviors? Yes and yes. As soon as I saw this app I knew I was going to fall in love. Its beauty is in the simplicity. Simply enter a list of behaviors (like self harm for instance) and any time you have an urge to do something negative, go to the app, pick the behavior, and answer if you have acted on the urge or have not. Then it will give you a list of DBT skills and will ask you what you chose to use. For my fellow borderlines, this is essential. On Google Play
Headspace: Welcome to the best meditation app ever. With tons of options and a system that tracks how much you meditate, this is a great way to begin a meditation practice or to bolster a your current one. Headspace
Daycount: Another delightfully simple app is Daycount. You can track things like sobriety or you can use it as a countdown to an important event. Either way, the app is a breeze to use and a good support system for anyone trying to quit something. I’m not positive but I think it may only be iOs. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/daycount/id1121088244?mt=8
Focus Keeper: This app relies on the Pomodoro technique to improve focus and productivity. You start the timer for 25 mins, then you take a 5 minute break, then repeat this pattern as many times as you need. You can change the times too, for instance I prefer 30 minutes at a time. Whether it’s schoolwork, cleaning, or work work, try this technique at least once. It’s worth it. Focus Keeper App I don’t think this is available on Android but any Pomodoro timer will work.
Productive: If you’re anything like me, you have a hard time surviving without a routine. But if you’re anything like me, you also have a hard time starting a routine to begin with. This app allows you to list daily tasks and goals that you can either swipe to skip or to mark completed. Even if it’s something simple like drinking a glass of water or as complicated as working on a school project, swiping right to mark “completed” gives a quick burst of satisfaction. I use this app for my recurring general habits like “take the bin out” and 3 times a day “drink water.” Sorry Android friends, I don’t know the equivalent to this one. http://productiveapp.io/
DayOne: Journal — I keep journals. I always have. DayOne is the journal you wish you had when you were a kid. It’d like to call it micro-journaling with style. You can put in pictures, it logs the time and your location, plus the weather that day, and you write as little or as much as you want. Great for winding down at the end of a day or psyching yourself up for the next one. Day One Journal
Mood Meter: This very simple app offers a selection of colored dots, each of which expresses an emotion. After selecting your emotion a new page will say “I’m feel EMOTION” and a text box that says describe why, and you’ll then be given the choice to stay in your mood quadrant or shift to another one. Depending on what you pick you’ll be given 3 options: choose an image group, a quote group, or coping strategies group. Great for when you need a quick distraction! http://moodmeterapp.com/
Things: This app can get a little pricey but it’s worth it. It is the best to-do list organizer that I’ve ever had. Everything feels very fluid and well built. I believe it is only for iOS at the moment. Sorry guys! Things 3
Superbetter: I’m still trying to figure this one out a bit but it seems to be a light-hearted, gamecentric way to encourage good habits, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Give it a shot, let me know what you think. https://www.superbetter.com/
Life: A great, discrete way to track all of your feminine cycles. Life – Women’s health tracker
A little off topic but two other apps I use are Home Budget and Clarity Money. They are helping me learn to build a budget! With all the reminders every day, I feel like I’m becoming more mindful. I’ve learned some tricks to get myself up and out the door. I discovered that having a shower speaker makes the showering experience less terrible. I’ve already quoted Sylvia Plath on that topic so I won’t bother you with it.
I’ve also been manic the last few weeks so in my more lucid moments I’ve been trying to curtail my spending and these apps are really helping me to focus on what I’m doing and rein it in a bit.
The app where I spent most of my time is Discord, in particular in the chat server that I’m in called The Haven which is a peer-to-peer mental health support group for those 18+. If you’ve got mental health issues, please come chat with us there.
Have you got other apps you love? Leave me a comment and I’ll add them to the list!