As cities across the world ease lockdown, we’re all feeling like we could use a wellness boost. Work stress, money worries, and lack of sleep can all combine at the best of times to leave you feeling under the weather, taking its toll on your mental and physical health. But don’t worry — there are plenty of apps out there designed to get you looking and feeling your best, from meditation and yoga apps to apps designed to help you enjoy eight hours of blissful sleep. We’ve hand-picked some of the best wellness apps to check out if your goal this year is to be happier, healthier, and more zen.
Best for meditation
If you’re into meditation or have always wanted to give it a go, you should download Headspace. One of the best-known meditation apps, it’s been around for a while and has something suitable for beginners and experts alike. Beginners can get started with the Foundation Series, after which you can subscribe for $12 per month or $60 per year to access a vast catalog of guided meditations. Those guides focus on elements like sleep and exercise, as well as mini-meditations and SOS sessions that are helpful when you’re feeling stressed, and daily meditations based around a daily topic.
Looking for an app with meditations to help you improve relationships, learn mindfulness, boost your physical health, or get a better night’s sleep? Meditopia offers all these and more. We particularly love the Starting the Day session, which includes sessions designed to help you get out of bed and enjoy a more positive mindset. Meditopia aims to make meditation a healthy, 10-minutes-a-day habit that you can fit into your busy life, and the app gives users a seven-day free trial. Subscribe to get access to more than 1,000 meditations from just $10 per month or $60 per year.
With over 200 guided meditations from more than 60 experts on topics ranging from confidence to performance, sleep, and anxiety, Meditation Studio helps you get your zen on when life is hectic. We love that meditations are grouped in Collections each themed around a specific topic, like Be Awesome, which helps you to be … well … awesome. There are meditations for focus, confidence, creativity, and work performance — or Be Kind, which focuses on self-love and compassion.
There’s something for all levels, from newcomers — who’ll love the Starter Series — to sessions aimed at kids and teens; you can even create your own unguided meditations and choose from a selection of background sounds. By adding medications to your studio, you can practice anywhere, even offline, and the iOS app syncs with Apple Health to save your sessions. Sign up for a free trial, then subscribe from $8 per month or $50 per year to access the extensive catalog. For more meditation app recommendations, check out our best meditation apps.
Best for sleep
Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds
Ensuring you get enough sleep is not only important for your physical and mental health, but it can also affect your energy levels and productivity. If you’re one of the millions of people who struggle to get enough shut-eye, you’ll know white noise and sleep sounds can really help. Relax Melodies has over 160 sounds and brainwaves to help you nod off — our favorite is the rain on roof sound, which is strangely soothing, but there’s everything from city car sounds to birdsong and ocean sounds. Set reminders for bedtime or timers for sleep sounds, so they’ll stop playing once you doze off, or listen to one of hundreds of bedtime stories designed to help you snooze.
Named the “Happiest App in the World” by the Center for Humane Technology, Calm is the app to choose if you’re looking to sleep more soundly, reduce anxiety, and lower your stress levels. You can choose from guided meditations lasting anywhere from 3 to 25 minutes, ideal for beginners, intermediate, and advanced users alike, or choose the Body program for stretching and mindfulness or the Breathing program to help you unwind.
The 10-minute Daily Calm program is a great way to start your day or unwind before bed. There are Masterclasses with experts — and, our favorite part of the app, Sleep Stories. These are bedtime stories (for adults) designed to help you drift off, and include delights like Blue Gold, read by Stephen Fry, and Wonder, read by Matthew McConaughey. Or simply play one of over 30 soothing Soundscapes, such as heavy rain or ocean waves, and you’ll be asleep in no time. The app lets you track progress using Mindful Minutes and Daily Streaks. A good selection of programs and sleep stories are available for free, but for the full experience, you can subscribe for $15 per month or $70 per year.
For those who prefer a more tech-related approach to sleep, get all the stats on your snooze with Sleep Cycle. The app is pretty detailed, with daily graphs and statistics on your sleep, including snoring patterns, average sleep by day, and how long it usually takes you to fall asleep. The smart alarm clock wakes you with a choice of sounds when you’re in the lightest phase of sleep, so you should feel more refreshed, and the iOS app integrates with Apple Health.
Sleep Cycle works from your nightstand — or place your phone on the floor — and uses sound analysis to track your movements in bed. While the app itself is free, you can upgrade to premium for $30 per year and access features like a library of sleep stories and relaxing sounds, a heart rate monitor, and additional sleep information, like how weather affects your sleep and what habits impact the quality of your sleep — such as that cup of coffee before bedtime.
Best for positivity
Happify’s colorful interface is an instant positivity booster. Using techniques developed by experts and scientists, Happify aims to make your life a happier, more positive one, with a choice of more than 70 personalized happiness tracks. Whether you want to cope better with stress, be more successful at work, or even boost your self-confidence, there’s a track for that. The free version is a great place to start, with access to a selection of tracks, guided meditations, and games. But for the full experience, you’ll need to upgrade to Plus for unlimited access, progress tracking, and a 20-page character strength report. Plus costs $15 per month or $140 per year — a small price to pay for a happiness boost.
Ever wish you could banish that negative inner voice that tells you “You’re not good enough”? ThinkUp helps you do that, with personalized positive affirmations to improve your health, self-esteem, and happiness. Choose from a library of more than 300 expert-approved affirmations, targeting a range of goals from overcoming depression to stress relief, or record your own and add inspirational images and music. The app encourages daily listening, and you can set notifications so you don’t forget, or connect the iOS app to Apple Health to track your progress. With the free version, record up to three affirmations and add default background music, or upgrade to Premium for $8 per month or $40 per year to gain unlimited access to all features.
Best for healthy habits
Streaks is a totally free iOS app that helps you bust those bad habits — and form better ones. So if you’ve always wanted to run a mile a day or spend 20 minutes meditating, create a task in your Streaks to-do list. You can track up to 12 tasks a day — and these can be positive, such as going for a morning jog, or negative, like quitting smoking — with over 600 task icons and 76 different-colored themes to customize your experience. It’s up to you what to track, but the goal is to create a streak of consecutive days. Streaks links to the Apple Health app, so it automatically knows when you’ve completed a task, and you can set reminders — there’s also an app for Apple Watch, as well as the ability to view statistics like your current or best streak.
Fabulous is one thing we’d definitely all like to feel on a daily basis, and the Fabulous app takes a holistic approach to creating a healthier, happier you, billing itself as a “personal coach and happiness trainer.” There are many options with the app, whether you’re looking to boost your energy levels, sleep more soundly, or reduce anxiety. We love the Sleep Better Challenge, which gives you a range of tasks to complete to ensure better sleep — like making some chamomile tea or taking a nice hot shower or bath.
Fabulous sessions are created in collaboration with researchers and updated regularly, with sessions like the Mind Bus, which helps you banish stressful thoughts to lead a more fulfilling life. With the app at your side, you can create a morning ritual that gets you motivated, enjoy the integrated fitness programs, instill healthy habits, and get support and advice from a 1:1 coach. Fabulous costs $10 per month or $96 per year, but it does cover a wide range of goals — so it’s an excellent choice if you’re looking for an all-in-one app for wellness.
Best for fitness
With recent gym closures, many of us have turned to workout apps at home, and it can be tricky staying motivated — that’s where Wakeout can help. Designed for the time-poor, fitness-hungry user, Wakeout’s idea is that short bursts of exercise are the ideal way to stay fit and motivated. The app has over 1,000 exercises and more than 270 workouts to choose from, each lasting 30 seconds and tailored to your energy level. Try some couch exercises during your Netflix binge or chair exercises you can do at your desk, as well as exercises you can fit in between Zoom meetings — there are even exercises for your morning commute, if you’re back in the office. Try the app for free, or sign up for full access from $5 per month or $48 per year.
This is the app to get if you’re into yoga, regardless of your level. With over 180 unique HD video classes lasting from 5 to 60 minutes in duration, Yoga Studio has something for everyone, so whether you’re just getting into Ashtanga or are a die-hard Hatha addict, you’ll find classes to suit. With frequent updates, you’ll never be bored, and if you are, you can create your own video classes pose by pose, with access to 20 ready-made pose blocks. Classes can be downloaded for offline practice anytime, anywhere, and you can easily search for classes based on level of intensity, duration, ability, or focus — with Collections such as yoga for mental health, 10-minute yoga, and yoga for runners.
Yoga Studio also includes access to meditations and relaxation practices, and the iOS app integrates with Apple Health to track your progress. We love that you can select from full teacher commentary — great for beginners — choose to hear pose names only, or select the chime only option, ideal if you’re more advanced. Select from a range of background music and sounds to help you relax, or add your favorite playlists. The app offers a free seven-day trial, after which there are nine different subscriptions to choose from, starting at $10 per month or $70 per year.
Sometimes we all need a little motivation to get outside, and All Trails will get you out there exploring. As its name suggests, it’s designed to help you find the best hiking, biking, and running trails, wherever you are. The app has over 100,000 GPS and topo trail maps and photos crowdsourced from outdoor enthusiasts, making it an essential tool whether you prefer your adventures on foot or on two wheels. Turn your phone into a handy GPS tracker so you won’t get lost, or search for trails by fitness and experience level — or find kid, dog, or wheelchair-friendly routes for your next adventure.
Whether you’re looking for trails near home or taking off to explore a national park on vacation, All Trails is a must-have app. It’s easy to get GPS driving instructions to the trailhead, save trails to your favorites or bucket list, and view statistics after your hike or run, as well as share your adventures to social media. The only downside? The free version does have ads, and it won’t track your location if you’re in an area without signal. To remove ads, sign up to Pro for $30 a year (or $60 for the three-year plan) — you’ll also benefit from offline maps, GPS location tracking, the Lifeline feature to assign safety contacts, and real-time map overlays for info on weather, air quality, and pollen count.
Best of the rest
Let’s face it, increasing your water intake is tough, and most of us don’t have time every day to be thinking about how much water we’re consuming. Plant Nanny is the cutest app where you raise a plant from a baby to fully grown, just by drinking water. Schedule the app to send reminders when your plant is thirsty, track your progress and water intake, shop for new plants and accessories, or take part in entertaining quests. It may look cute, but Plant Nanny‘s aim — to get us all drinking more water — is a worthy one designed to boost your wellness.
Getting outside for your daily fresh air and exercise is a must, whatever age you are — and now there’s an app to help motivate you. Pokémon Go is a great — and free — way to get the kids out for a walk at the park, but it’s equally fun for adults who just wanna catch ’em all. With over 500 Pokémon to collect, the app lets you catch Pokémon in your neighborhood using augmented reality. Explore your local area to catch Pokémon and complete your Pokédex — from common Pokémon like Magikarp and Sneazel to rare Pokémon such as Snorlax and Alakazam. Competing in Gym battles is a highlight, and kids will love raiding with friends to catch legendary Pokémon.
Sometimes putting your phone down and really focusing on what you’re doing is the key to a more productive day. Forest helps you do just that — with its super cute colorful interface it turns your focused moments into a beautiful forest. Every time you focus on a task, the app plants a seed, and the more you resist the temptation of your phone and turn your attention to the task at hand, the more your tree grows. With over 30 tree species to unlock and a whole range of achievements, you can work together with friends and family or compete and share your forest on social media. View detailed weekly, monthly, or yearly stats, and link the iOS app with Apple Health to track your focused time. You can even spend coins to plant real trees on earth in collaboration with tree-planting organization Trees for the Future — how’s that for productive?
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