Self-care has become a buzzword over the past couple of years, so much so there’s now even an International Day of Self-Care dedicated to it each July. But what exactly does it mean? And how can we put it into practice? It can be easy to feel overwhelmed with yet another thing to add to our to-do lists, but thankfully, a number of apps have been designed to help improve both mental health and physical health, and will soon become a trusty part of your daily routine. So take a break from your mindless scrolling on Instagram and other social media sites, and let these become your new go-to apps. You’ll wonder how you lived without them.
RELATED: How you can join our #HelloToKindness movement
There’s a reason why so many celebrities rave about Headspace. Millie Mackintosh, Andrea McLean and Fearne Cotton have all extolled its virtues, while users report having better attention spans, alertness and instant calm after using the meditation and mindfulness techniques.
VIDEO: What kindness means to HELLO!'s Editor-in-Chief Rosie Nixon
Promising to help its users sleep better, boost confidence and reduce stress and anxiety, Calm's guided meditations, soothing music and bedtime stories - read by the likes of Stephen Fry, Joanna Lumley and Matthew McConaughey - work to increase the overall health and happiness of its users.
If you’re feeling down, it can work wonders to take some time to think about all the things you have to be thankful for. The idea for Grateful was based on research from Harvard Medical School, which showed a link between expressing gratitude and improved health and emotions. Posting daily diary entries will allow you to reflect on the good times and show that sometimes it’s the smallest things that can have the biggest impact on your day.
Trying to balance the pressures and responsibilities of everyday life can sometimes feel overwhelming and all around chaotic. STREAKS is the to-do list app which helps you to organise your thoughts and develop good habits. Users can create up to twelve tasks which they need to complete in a day - this can be anything from walking the dog to not smoking - and the goal is to build up a streak of consecutive days in which the user either completes or stays on top of their goals.
RELATED: Celebrities on their mental health struggles: from Prince Harry to Ellie Goulding
Acting like your supportive best friend or parent, Shine is “a daily pep talk in your pocket”, a friendly reminder to believe in yourself and to help you overcome stress or anxiety. Not only can you get a Monday-Friday morning Shine Text filled with motivational messages and affirmations, you can also access personalised audio challenges and self-improvement audio tracks to help you achieve your goals. Ideal for easing the stress of your commute, too.
Happify promises to help boost your mood, improve self-confidence and combat stress through a series of cognitive exercises and games. Developed by leading scientists and experts, you can gain insights into your behaviour and track your progress over time.
READ: 14 times the royals have shown acts of kindness
Strides Habit Tracker app
Help to introduce healthy habits into your lifestyle – and make them stick – with Strides Habit Tracker. Whether you’re trying to hit your 10,000 steps a day, get more sleep or simply drink more water, this app will help to hold you accountable and stay motivated enough to achieve your goals.
Nike+ Training Club app
Exercise will not only help you achieve your fitness goals, but can improve mental health too, and now you don’t need an expensive gym membership to lead a more active lifestyle. Nike+ Training Club is a free app packed with hundreds of workouts from leading trainers, allowing you to do everything from yoga to strength training at the touch of a button.
We all know how important it is to follow a healthy diet, but how much do we really know about the food we’re eating? By tracking your food on Fooducate, you can not only get a better understanding of your meals, but also how they impact your sleep, mood and hunger levels, so you can make changes if needed.
Get a better understanding of your periods and how they affect your entire body with Clue, which allows you to track your monthly cycle and input data such as any pain, moods, sleep and changes to your skin or energy levels day to day. The aim of the app is to help improve the reproductive health of women, both individually and collectively, by gathering data that will advance scientific research.
Social media is a brilliant way to connect people and create communities, but it also has a dark side. Join HELLO!'s #HelloToKindness movement to promote positivity on social media. A kind ethos underpins everything we do at HELLO! and we urge our community to think twice before you post. Find out more about the #HelloToKindness movement.