Mind Over Matter: Top Apps to Help You Find Your Calm
It’s been nearly a year since the first national lockdown was imposed and since then, none of us have been strangers to staying at home, away from our peers and in our own company. While some relish the chance to spend quality time developing skills, honing creativity, or simply basking in the relative peace and quiet, for others it’s not so easy.
Of course, in the times we’re all currently going through, it’s only natural to occasionally feel overwhelmed, miss our friends and family, and struggle to complete tasks as efficiently as we might. The trick is to take a step back and work on our mental health, not to fully eliminate challenging emotions, but to effectively work past them when they do pop up.
Just as you might exercise three times a week to get in better shape physically, practising mindfulness and meditation are great for building mental strength and resilience.
Here are our favourite apps to help you achieve peace of mind:
In 2020, Headspace grew to 2 million paid subscribers, and it’s easy to see why. It’s designed to give you the tools handle thoughts and emotions constructively, whenever they come around. The app likens these moments to passing cars on a busy road. You simply have to let them go by without getting too focused on a single car.
Headspace eases you into the basics of meditation with a free 10-minute basic course. Every session is either three, five or 10 minutes long, so you can pick one that fits perfectly into your day. They’re all easy to follow, and the app even offers meditation for kids, with themes including sleep, focus and kindness.
Once you’ve completed the free trial you’ll need to pay for more sessions if you want to continue, but at £9.99, we think it’s worth every penny.
Calm is another brilliant meditation app. When you open it you’re met with the relaxing sound of chirping crickets or a crackling fireplace Once you’re in, take a minute to tell the app how you’re feeling, and you’ll see a personalised choice of guided meditations, sleep stories, calming music and loads more – the choice is huge.
We love the ambient music mixes by Sam Smith, Diplo and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, as they’re perfect for drifting into restful sleep. But there loads more big names and guest features available, from Sleep Stories told by Idris Elba to motivational meditations delivered by NBA legend LeBron James.
Calm also offers a free trial, after which a subscription costs only £28.99 for the year – that’s less than £2.50 a month! Give it a go.
If you’re new to mindfulness and don’t like the idea of starting at the deep end, you’ll love Shine. This app encourages you to take time out of each day to learn one new self-care strategy each day. Build a new daily ritual with quick meditations that are relevant to you and the world around you. You can also connect with other Shine users, strike up a conversation and get support from a really great community.
There are two premium options here. You can go for a rolling monthly option for £14.49, or pay for the year at a discounted price of £52.99 (just over £1 a week). Once you go premium, you can explore the full audio library of meditations and find the right one for the right moment, whenever you need calmness, clarity and motivation.
Combat stress, anxiety and sleepless nights with a single handy app. Breethe offers masterclasses on meditation, mindfulness and much more.
You’ll find relaxation music and sleep sounds to help you drift into sleep peacefully, bedtime stories and visualisations to keep you feeling positive at the end of a long day, breathing exercises and inspirational talks. This app has the lot. Whatever you’re looking to get out of meditation, Breethe has plenty to offer.
The app has quite a few free meditations to help you get started. And if you’re really getting into it, you can go premium for £12.99 a month. It’s available on your phone, tablet and laptop, so your progress is synced across all your devices. Relax, unwind and develop the mental tools you need to take on each day.
The iD team have put together some responses as to what they have done or used to help them during tough times. Find out below:
Sophia – Digital Product Manager
I used the ‘Balance’ app which has really helped me learn how to meditate and sleep better. It’s encouraged me to take a little time out to clear my head and understand what I need to do, for me, each day.
Kieran - Senior Digital and Customer Experience Manager
I’ve been using the Calm app for the past few months and it’s been fantastic. I’d definitely recommend giving it a shot and taking 10 minutes out of your day to relax.
These are just a few of our favourite lifestyle apps on the Google Play Store and App Store right now.
Competition closes 10th March 2021. Click the link for March’s T&Cs for this competition.
The lockdown has impacted all of us in different ways.
For a chance to win a £50 Google Play Store or App Store voucher, tell us how you’ve worked on and tried to improve your mental wellbeing during lockdown. Did you use any apps? What techniques did you use that you can share with us and the Community?
Let us know in the comments below.