Apps to shut the world out and help you chill — or instantly sound like an expert
Not to put a damper on things, but the long weekends and public holidays are pretty much over for now. Yes, we have Youth Day coming up in June — it falls on a Saturday! And no, you don’t get to have the Friday off instead. Then there’s Women’s Day and Heritage Day — but they’re only in August and September. And by the time the Day of Reconciliation rolls around in December, well, who knows if by then you’ll be more machine than human as the demands of work ratchet up in the rush towards the end of the year.
As the world spins faster and we work more, sleep less and have fewer hours of down time than ever, we need more effective and quicker ways to de-stress. There also seems to be more crazy, chaotic shit happening on the planet (I work in a newsroom, I should know). Not that the world hasn’t always been a parade of nightmarish headlines, but you used to be able to log off and go and play outside. Most people can’t do that anymore as the thin wall between human being and technology grows thinner every day.
Ironic then, that some of the best ways to diminish stress are with technology. Your phone can become your personal spa, help put you to sleep and even keep you calm better than a pack of Calmettes. Between the distraction of e-mail, the banality of Facebook and Twitter and the interference of Instagram, there are apps that can offer you a fountain of peace and wellbeing. Switch on your Wi-Fi and start switching off.
Is that my car alarm? Why is the traffic so heavy at this time of night? Are those footsteps coming down the passage? Did I really send that email? Who’s WhatsApping him past midnight? As thoughts race through your mind your body goes into alert mode, making it impossible to drift into a zen space. One solution is to drown out unwanted noise with some soothing ones that put your mind at ease. With these apps (suggested by Apple iStore) you can tune out to sounds of nature or use white noise (with pink and brown variations) to soften stressful thoughts.
Wildfulness 2 — Nature Sounds
High quality, psychoacoustic nature sounds for the feeling of being in the forest, with guided breathing exercises.
Rain Sleep Sounds
Choose from a range of ambient rain sounds — gentle light rain, rain with trickle effect et cetera — that can be mixed with other nature sounds and relaxing music. Also has a sleep timer preset option which stops the audio and puts your phone into sleep mode.
White Noise Sleep Pillow Sound Recommended by doctors on HealthTap.com, the app offers a huge variety of ambient sounds that they guarantee will put difficult sleepers at rest. Including gentle beach waves, whale song, luxury car ride, underwater melody, metronome, ceiling fan and even hair dryer and vacuum cleaner.
Breethe — Meditation & Music Soothing music and guided meditation to de-stress and sleep better. The app offers simple meditation techniques that they claim will make you happier, calmer and bring peace of mind. There’s also a mindfulness programme for kids.
Whether it’s long distance or just the commute to work, take the time to de-stress by shutting down your social media and news feeds and download these apps for some downtime.
No this isn’t an app designed to help you make friends and influence people, that would be spelt Buddy-fy. Instead this app helps you bring calm, clarity and kindness into your life over a few hours or a couple of minutes. A collection of teachers means that you can choose the style and voice you like.
Studies have shown that people who make art (even bad art) have significantly lowered cortisol (the stress hormone) levels. This app lets you draw, paint and sketch anywhere, whenever an idea strikes. InspirePro, Adobe Photoshop Sketch and ArtRage all do a similar thing.
Stress & Anxiety Companion Supplies the tools needed to manage anxious feelings and identify their triggers. Based on cognitive behavioural therapy and claims to help you flex and strengthen your mental muscles. You can also write down your thoughts on visual photo cards.
If you feel like you’re not mentally keeping up with the Joneses — this app provides short visual and audio summaries of bestselling nonfiction books from the fields of business, psychology, sex and relationships, finance and inspirational.