Self-care? There’s An App For That!

Published on: February 15, 2021

The fast-moving world of technology has always been a bane for taking-it-slow, mindful lifestyles. But can we also harness the power of technology to boost self-care?

By Francine Kaye Acelar

 

Were you told to “unplug” when on a healing retreat? Do you get asked to turn off gadgets when in a meditation or yoga session?

Technology and self-care are two words that you can rarely find in one sentence. Tangible representations of technology — mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and others — are usually considered as stumbling blocks in our journeys of self-healing. 

But what if there was a way to leverage the omnipresence of technology to help us in our self-care? I’m referring to guided meditation and mindfulness apps that you can download on your gadgets. From combating anxiety, helping you to sleep better, to improving focus, there is no shortage of apps that can help you to achieve self-care goals. Here are some of the most trending free and paid apps for parents and kids.

 

For Parents

Mind the Bump

Price: Free

Available on: Android and iOS

Mind the Bump is made by Smiling Mind, the experts in youth-based mindfulness programs in Australia. The app is specially made for expectant parents and aimed at helping would-be moms and dads in supporting their mental and emotional well-being. 

The meditations last no longer than 13 minutes and can follow you from day one of the pregnancy up to the baby’s second birthday. The meditation sessions are tailored according to the pregnancy stage. For example, those in the first trimester will hear guided meditations on body change awareness and embracing the discomfort. 

Find it at mindthebump.org.au 

 

Insight Timer

Price: Basic version is free, the premium version is subscription-based

Available on: Android and iOS

With 40,000 free guided meditations and an entire section made only for parents, this app is among the many on the top of my list. Every parent will enjoy something from Insight Timer. The sessions come in titles such as ‘Mama Me-Time’ or ‘Relax & Recharge for Busy Mums’ and feature a wide array of meditation types: mindfulness, Zen, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), walking, breathing, transcendental, and others. If you need more than that, you can also listen to expert discussions on tricky subjects such as burnout and parenting judgment.

Bonus points, if you think you hear a familiar voice in your guided meditation, you probably have either Gisele Bundchen, Russell Brand, or Goldie Hawn whispering in your ear.

Find it at insighttimer.com 

 

Headspace

Price: Free with in-app purchase options

Available on: Android and iOS

New to meditation? No problem. Headspace is especially geared towards newbies and kids (more on that later) who want to dip their toes in meditation and mindfulness. It starts with a ‘Take 10 Free Trial’ which features ten 10-minute sessions accompanied by six videos that explain the basic concepts of mindfulness. It has series and sessions that focus on parenting-related issues such as lack of sleep, finding happiness, relaxation, and so much more. The cartoons are a good way for parents to let their kids join in the meditation sessions.

Oh, and I should say the founder Andy Puddicombe’s voice is one of the most soothing voices I have heard. Perhaps one of the many reasons why this app is so popular among its 60+ million users. 

Find it at headspace.com  

 

For Kids

Breathe, Think, Do With Sesame

Price: Free

Available on: Android and iOS

This app is suitable for 4 to 5-year-olds and is aimed at teaching them about big feelings, calming down, and solving everyday challenges. It is not specifically for meditation but it is a good way for parents to teach calming and decision-making strategies. These scenarios include daily situations such as waiting for their turn on the slide, struggling to tie their shoelaces, and so much more. Kids and the blue monster work together to tackle these problems and kids choose which strategy for the monster to try. Each activity comes with an option to ask an adult for help, so although kids try to solve the problem by themselves, they know they have an option to ask mom or dad for help.

Find it at sesamestreet.org/apps

 

Mindful Powers

Price: Free trial and paid thereafter

Available on: iOS

Mindful Powers is suitable for grade-schoolers and is a good starting point to learn about mindfulness. The meditation sessions come in progressions that require completing one ‘story’ before unlocking the next. The topics for the stories include slow breathing, emotional awareness, staying present, kindness, and so much more. 

In the app, kids work with Flibbertigibbet, a sea creature that becomes dark and spiky when stressed out. The only way to calm Flibbertigibbet down is to slowly and gently rub it to smooth it out — it doesn’t like rapid motions as well. These slow motions are intended to help kids calm down and focus. Additionally, the ‘Focus Timer’ counts down with Flibbertigibbet keeping watch and helps students concentrate on studying or time out. If the kid tries to use the gadget while the timer is still active, Flibbertigibbet becomes upset.

Find it at mindfulpowersforkids.com

 

Super Stretch Yoga HD

Price: Free

Available on: iOS

Although not intended for guided meditation, this app helps pre-K and grade-schoolers learn about relaxation and breathing. The app follows Super Stretch who introduces kids to 12 yoga poses with an animation of each pose’s origin, followed by a video demonstration of kids doing the pose. Super Stretch encourages the kids to do the pose as best they can and that perfection is not the goal. It also reminds kids to breathe as calming music plays on. Kids can choose to do the poses one by one, or play through all of them. After each pose, the kids collect a star. When they have collected 12 stars, they can take a selfie of themselves doing a pose and save the photo on their iPad.

Find it at adventuresofsuperstretch.com

 

About the Author

Francine is from the Philippines and is a mom to two girls. When not too busy writing articles and website content, she is out photographing beautiful pregnant mommas, cute newborn babies, and lovely families at yengacelarphotography.com/. The extra .025 seconds in her day is allotted to finding the answer to little humans’ centuries-old question ‘But why?’

 


The views expressed in the articles in this magazine are not necessarily those of BAMBI committee members and we assume no responsibility for them or their effects.

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