Because mama needs her downtime.
Life has a funny way of getting away from us. From playdates to work, and everything in between, juggling mama-life can be tough. To function at your best and give back to those demanding your time and attention, it’s imperative to put yourself first and carve out some valuable “you time” as well. Let tech be your friend rather than your foe in this instance and browse these 11 wellness apps that’ll help both your mental and physical health. From better sleep and mindfulness, to exercise and a healthy diet, inner peace is just a click away!
For those who are not familiar, affirmations are positive statements that you either read, listen to or say to your self on a daily basis in order to change your mindset away from negative or unhelpful beliefs. The idea is that by saying the affirmation repeatedly, it will alter your brain and help to manifest it into existence. So, if you want to have more faith in yourself as a parent, you might say “I am doing the best job as a mama that I can and that is enough” or “I am the best mother for my child”. There are a wealth of affirmation wellness apps out there but we particularly like ThinkUp: Positive Affirmations. Not only is the interface easy to navigate (with a huge range of free options to chose from for self-confidence, happiness, gratitude, etc.) but you can also record yourself saying an affirmation – what better voice to help your brain adjust than the one it knows the best! You’ll have more than enough to get you going on the free version, or you can upgrade for $63 per month ($313 yearly/$788 lifetime). You can also gift to a friend if you know a mama (or papa) in need of some love. After all, repetition and practice is the key to success, right?
As any mama can tell you, kids are immensely rewarding but they can also be intensely stressful. Taking care of your mental health is vital for your physical health but knowing how to spot the signs when things are a little off tilt can be tricky. Wellness apps are a great option to offer help during difficult times. Mind Shift is a free mood tracking app that allows you to monitor your feelings and spot any patterns or triggers that might lead to anxiety or out-of-character behaviour. Once you are aware of what’s going on, try out the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) based self-help strategies to address and tackle any issues that arise, including major life changes, stress, anxiety or even phobias. You can set goals, try breathing techniques, use the Thought Journal, or relax with guided meditations in the Chill Zone, plus many other cool functions.
A regular on wellness app roundups, and for good reason, Headspace has established itself as a go-to for all things mindfulness and meditation. Its fun and easy-to-use interface has remained a constant plus point since its launch back in 2010. The former Buddhist monk, Andy Puddicombe (check out our interview with the man himself!), is the brains behind this app which sees users able to track their own individual path through numerous meditation options using visualisation, noting and breathing techniques (think combating anxiety, improving creativity, and even your journey through pregnancy). The first 10 foundation meditations are free and a great way to see if the app is right for you before purchasing either a monthly or yearly subscription (prices vary). You can also get the Family Plan and add up to six members on one subscription – making the whole family totally zen!
Living in Hong Kong is a great experience, but it can also be difficult at times when your close family and friends are far away. You might be surrounded by people, yet feel alone. Sometimes, all you need is a good chat to get things off your chest and this is where 7 Cups comes in. Offering free emotional support via its trained volunteer listeners, you can reach out to someone whenever you need to debrief. Support is available to you 24/7 at the touch of a button. You can either chat through text or speak to a friendly voice and it’s all anonymous and free. There are also forums with others in a similar situation to you, specialist help for teens, personal growth plans with simple self-help activities, or if you’re in need of more specialist help you can also upgrade and reach out to a licensed counsellor (matched to you) with unlimited private messages.
We are what we eat as they say, so why not take the plunge and try going healthy? Deliciously Ella started as a personal blog by Ella Mills following an illness that left her struggling with digestive issues, chronic fatigue and infections. By changing to a plant-based diet, she found that her symptoms dramatically reduced and thus Deliciously Ella was born. Available as a foodie app, you’ll find over 400 easy to make (and delicious!) plant-based recipes, meal planners and shopping lists, plus videos, podcasts and useful articles. It’s a cool vegan-friendly, gluten-free and refined sugar-free recipe book in your pocket – healthy tummy, happy mind!
If time is of the essence then this fitness and healthy meal planner is ideal. Perfect for busy mamas who might only have time for a quick workout (squeezed in when you can!) you’ll find easy to follow 10 or 15-minute workouts tailored to you. Simply download the app (rated 4.5 out of 5 on both the iOS and Play stores no less), determine what you want to achieve, measure your current fitness level and dietary preferences and you’ll immediately receive custom workout and fitness plans – just for you! All you have to do is follow the daily recommendations as best you can to achieve your goal. Better yet, all the workouts can be done in the comfort of your own home without the need for specialist equipment. So when the little ones are finally tucked up in bed, or if your tween/teens have gone out for the evening, it’s time to get the gym kit out!
If you know what you’d like to improve on but struggle to keep motivated, Streaks is for you. Basically, it’s a to-do-list app that will help you to form good habits and at $38, we’d say that’s a small price to pay if it works! You can add 12 tasks that you’d like to complete each day (it could be drinking a certain amount of water, quitting cigarettes, eating a healthy meal or snack, walking or running so far…the options are endless!) and some tasks can also link to your smartwatch so it’ll keep track for you throughout the day. Your aim is to keep a running streak of accomplished tasks over as many days as you can. Are you up for the challenge?
Claiming to be the “#1 mobile product for women’s health” in the US (chosen by over 137 million women worldwide apparently), Flo is definitely one wellness app to check out. Created by over 50 health and medical experts and the first period tracers to use artificial intelligence for accurate period cycle predictions. It also has an ovulation tracker if you’re wanting to get pregnant (or avoid it!) and pregnancy/post-pregnancy modes. We like that it’s easy to use, has useful stats (including health checks, charts and even health and wellness-related articles), plus, it has super cute artwork. You do have to agree to the terms and conditions of the app before you can use it, though your consent can be withdrawn by contacting the team at any time. There’s a 30-day free trial, then it’s $393 per year after (or $78 per month). You can cancel at any time at least one day before the renewal is due, but be warned that the plan will automatically renew if you don’t cancel.
Read more: Period Tracker Apps: Which Is Best For You?
This is a good one for mamas with older children who already sleep through the night. If you always seem to wake up feeling like you’ve not slept at all then it might be a good idea to download a sleep tracker to monitor the situation. There are loads of options out there, though Sleep Cycle ranks highly on both the Apple and Play stores. Based on sound and movement analysis (with your phone on the nightstand not in bed with you), the aim of this wellness app is to wake you up at the most optimal time in the morning – when you are in your lightest sleep cycle – meaning you’ll hopefully be less groggy and ready to start your day feeling fresh. You can track and review detailed analytics of your sleep routine as well, which can be quite unusual and surprising to see!
They say that mamas should try and sleep whenever your baby does. Our guess is that whoever came up with that clearly has never had a bunch of chores that also need to get done – and the only time you seem to be able to do them is when the baby is sleeping! That said, the chance of sleep and some quiet time would be a fine thing, which is where this next wellness app comes in. Featuring lullabies, nature sounds, white noise or even your own music, this app turns your mobile into a digital crib-mobile. Sounds can all be set on a loop while your phone also shows soothing animations (like stars in the night sky) at the same time! White noise machines have consistently proven to create a soothing environment for little sleepers as it helps to recreate the familiar womb-like environment – ideal to help baby relax and fall soundly to sleep. This app is also widely used by parents as well to help them drift off and sleep as well.
Ok, so technically this wellness app is for baby – but we all know it’s really for you! Having a newborn can seem like a daunting task which, coupled with your lack of sleep and raging hormones, can leave you feeling pretty deflated, worried and anxious. It’s impossible to take control of babies actions but what you can do is keep track of them for your own peace of mind. With Baby Glow, monitor your little one’s sleep stretches, feeds, breastfeeds or pumping sessions (the nursing timer is especially useful) and even the contents of their nappies for their first year on planet earth. It’ll pull together all of the data automatically and drop it into a daily calendar so you can start to easily track any patterns (or simply remind you of what just happened in the blur of the day!).
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in July 2019 and updated in September 2020.