In continuing celebration of Mental Health Awareness Week, we are doing a roundup of our favorite wellness apps and podcasts to help you work towards or maintain balanced mental health.
Without further ado, here is Bluebird’s list.
Wellness apps are plentiful. They range from those that teach you mindfulness tools that can assist with managing your own mental health to those that are essentially a virtual form of therapy. The list below represents Bluebird’s top picks across the board for wellness apps, including one focused on physical health – after all, physical health and mental health are inextricably linked.
Meditate, it’s not too late!
Headspace has become a well-known meditation app, and for good reason. It’s accessible for meditation beginners and experts alike.
Headspace is a great tool for bite-sized meditations for those busy days, ideas for mindfulness exercises to incorporate into your day, and topical meditations that focus on everything from stress to sleep.
This is one of my all-time favorite apps and my go-to for helping myself get s*%# done. The Forest app understands that while smartphones can be a magnificent tool in the right setting, they can also be a major distraction from work, studying, reading, and other productive activities. The app rewards you for locking your phone for a set period of time by planting cute, virtual trees in your own virtual forest. You earn points for every tree you successfully plant, and you can use those points down to road to unlock more tree types...or you can even plant a real tree in our struggling rainforests!
If you’re a music aficionado like I am, Brain.fm is a wicked awesome tool to help with wellness and focus. It utilizes a science-first approach to create music for your brain. You can select pre-formulated frequencies for everything from focus to promoting a sense of ease, or you can build-your-own track, selecting the types of sounds you’d like to feature such as chimes or singing bowls. And the first five sessions are totally free!
This one is for all you list-makers out there.
Streaks is an app that allows you to select up to twelve tasks at a time that you want to form into daily habits. Maybe it’s practicing a foreign language or an instrument, or simply learning to make your dentist proud by finally flossing your teeth.
Whatever your habit-making goals are, this app can help you reach them. It creates a “streak,” of successfully completed tasks, extending that streak each time you complete a task - and if you miss that task, your streak goes back to zero. Eventually, your success with streaks can help the tasks you want to complete become almost effortless as they become fused into your daily routine.
How’s that for help with forming good habits?
PTSD Coach was created by the Veterans Affairs' National Center for PTSD and the Department of Defense's National Center for Telehealth & Technology.
The app was designed specifically with veterans and military service members in mind. It offers educational resources about PTSD, as well as information about professional care and other opportunities to find support. PTSD coach also features a self-assessment for PTSD and daily tools that can help address its impact, like positive self-talk and anger management. It can be a complement to treatment or used independently outside of individualized treatment.
What’s Up? is a totally free mental health management app, and another one of my personal favorites. If you’re a fan of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) like I am, this is a wonderful app to incorporate into your daily life.
What’s Up? offers both CBT and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) tools in easy-to-follow methods with the intention of helping those who engage with the app cope with and manage depression, anxiety, anger, stress and more.
You didn’t think we would get through a whole list of wellness apps without identifying one for physical health, did you? Getting your heart rate up and blood flowing through physical activity can have an incredibly favorable impact on not on physical health but also mental health.
My Fitness Pal is one of the most popular fitness-tracking apps, and with good reason. It offers the ability to monitor calorie intake and caloric expenditure through physical activity, as well as set and track specific fitness and wellness goals. My Fitness Pal also allows you to add your friends and create a virtual fitness community. How’s that for accountability?
For even more wellness app options, check out this segmented list from Psycom - it breaks down the best mental health and wellness apps by type, from general wellness to management of anxiety and depression or addiction.
Podcasts have become what television was 10 years ago - a source of entertainment, news, and even life tips. There are so many incredible podcasts in production, it’s difficult to pick the best ones. However, here are some of our personal favorites:
If you’re an avid reader but only have so much time for it, this daily podcast is a great one to jump into. Each 10 to 15-minute episode summarizes some of the best wellness books and articles. They cover topics like personal development, minimalism, finance, health, business, and more. They’re short enough for just about any commute, lunch break, or even while you’re getting ready for the day in the morning.
Many people balk at the idea of listening to a philosophy podcast, but this one is so accessible. Hosted by Steven West, each episode picks one philosopher or concept to dive into. Stephen does a fantastic job of breaking down important concepts and applying them to daily examples and modern applications. You don’t have to be an avid philosophy buff to enjoy it, because, as it turns out, some of those philosophers were really onto something with their life advice for others.
Upbeat and energetic host Talia Pollock does weekly episodes on healthy living, plant-based eating, self-care, and just about any other wellness topic you can think of. She’s hilarious and engaging, and frequently features guests like nutritionists, psychologists, feng-shui coaches, and other cool people. Her episodes range anywhere from 40 minutes to over an hour, so you can be sure you’re getting comprehensive coverage on her topic of the day.
In our breakneck pace world, “pacing yourself,” can be an entirely foreign concept. This podcast works to help you change that.
Hurry Slowly has the express goal of teaching you to be more productive, creative, and resilient through the simple act of slowing down.
Sound like a direct conflict? I can promise you, it isn’t. Taking the time to slow down and approach things methodically and intentionally can not only enhance productivity, but it can also produce innovation.
For myself, personally, I notice that the more resistant I am to slowing down, the more I tend to need it. Carving out 15-minutes for a morning meditation can set my entire day up for success - and the Hurry Slowly podcast focuses on how to apply this concept of slowing down throughout your daily activities.
You may be familiar with the old parable “Tale of the Two Wolves.” This story essentially states there are two wolves within each of us, the wolf of love and the wolf of fear - and the one that will win is the one you feed.
This podcast by the same name is described as “conversations about creating a life worth living,” It features various hosts discussing topics like habits, wisdom, depression, anxiety, happiness, psychology, philosophy, and motivation - and helps you focus on feeding your wolf of love to create a more empathetic, compassionate way of being.
Money is one of the most ubiquitous and mysterious things in our society. In the broad sense, it’s talked about all the time - but when it comes to discussing personal finances, budgeting, and goals, this topic has traditionally been taboo.
Millenial Money is working to shift this. Its goal is to reinvent how you think about money and lifestyle. It shows you how to create and maintain your desired lifestyle - without sacrificing your financial goals.
Given that money ranked as the #1 source of stress in 2019, it’s easy to see how learning to successfully manage - and love - your financial situation can bring about peace of mind and enhance wellness in your daily life.
This podcast is focused on wellness for the whole family. Its topics range from reducing the presence of toxins in your home to helping reduce stress in the daily family life. And the Wellness Mama isn’t just blowing hot air - she gives you actionable steps in each episode to help you holistically improve your family’s health.