March 2020 marked the beginning of change - and not in a good way.
No longer could we distract our minds by throwing ourselves into socialising or work. The gym was no longer a location for exercise and cafes and restaurants could no longer feed us. We were all on our own, thrown into the deep end with no "Pandemics for Dummies" book to be found.
Anxiety was already a normal emotion for many people, but for others it was uncharted territory, a side effect of the pandemic that spread fear almost as quickly as the virus itself. And don't even get me started on the 1pm pressers that strike fear in a nation.
But it seems the only thing more adaptable than humans is the online sphere and apps that became our crutch, helping us through the challenges of the unknown and unpredictable world.
But what are the best wellness, meditation and anxiety apps? Ones that make you feel good and take your mind to a healthy and happy place?
Here are our top 10 apps to help keep your mind in check when you need it most
KIC: Keep it Cleaner
This fitness and wellness app was founded by Australian influencers and fitness duo Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw. You'll find guided meditations, yoga, Pilates, HIIT, meal plans and even KIC Bump, a special chapter of the app including pre and postnatal fitness and wellness videos. Their meditations are blissful and their Aussie twang is enough to make you feel like they could be your best mates too.
Cost: $20.80 (NZD) per month, $52.20 quarterly or $120 annually
Sanity & Self
With 900+ audio sessions covering topics such as anxiety and stress, self-love, restful sleep and many more this app covers it all and it has been specifically created for women. Each session is guided by an expert, whether they are a therapist, wellness professional or sex educator they are there to help you so much so that if you want a more in-depth session you can request a one on one with an expert.
Cost: $20.90 per month or $83.60 per year
If you find your meditation comes in the form of exercise, this one is for you. Apple Fitness + is powered by Apple Watch and includes 11 workout types ranging from HIIT to Yoga and even walking. Each video is fronted by an instructor and to keep you extra motivated your real-time stats like heart rate, show up on the screen. Apple Fitness + also includes lusciously calm guided meditations with video and audio sessions.
Cost: $17.00 per month or $140.00 per year
Run by the 100 per cent non-for-profit organization Smiling Mind, this app has been developed to practice your daily meditation and mindfulness exercises from anywhere and any place in the world. The in-app psychologists and educators will keep you healthy and mindful as you deal with the pressures of daily life.
You may have dismissed it when an ad showed up on your social media but Calm is perfect for sleep, meditation and relaxation. Recommended by psychologists, therapists and mental health experts, the app includes sleep stories, breathing programmes, stretching exercises, relaxing music and of course, guided meditations. Celebrities like Matthew McConaughey have even voiced a sleep story - dreamy.
Cost: $13.00 per month or $70.00 per year
This personalised mediation app will ask you questions about your goals, preferences and biggest source of stress to find the most effective and relaxing meditation for you. With morning meditations, animated breathing exercises, sleep sounds and sleep meditations Balance aims to relax, energise and increase your focus throughout the day - you can even follow your progress with a daily report.
Cost: for the rest of 2021 they are offering a free subscription
Terrible at tracking your water intake? Want to give up alcohol, fizzy drinks or juice? Waterllama has you covered. The water tracker app is a simple reminder to drink water. Dehydration, be gone. If you're as bad with your phone as you are at drinking water the app includes an Apple Watch reminder system. And if you need a game to make it fun, they have challenges as well.
Cost: The free app includes premium features in a monthly subscription ($4.00) or one-time purchase ($7.00)
TIME magazine named it the App of the Year and it has over 19 million members, Insight Timer is perfect for sleep, anxiety and stress. The app includes guided meditations led by the world's top meditation and mindfulness experts as well discussion groups and community features. It even has a section for children full of sleep stories and positive meditations. And if you want to exercise, the app streams yoga classes.
Cost: absolutely free – except for their premium meditation subscription which is monthly ($13.90) or yearly ($83.60)
Feeling like you need to get a good workout in and the gym is your form of meditation? The name says it all for this app. Sweat is a personal training app that can be used at home or at the gym it includes challenging – but achievable, workout programmes that help you develop your fitness and reach your goals. Whether you have the equipment or don't it doesn't matter as your trainers motivate you through each workout.
Cost: $20.90 per month
In 2018 Fabulous was one of the top self-care apps on Apple and it's easy to see why. The app is great if you need to hold yourself accountable when sticking to healthy habits, exercise routines, or just routine in general. You'll build self-discipline, structure and healthy habits through their daily planner and audio coaching.
Cost: $80.00 per year
Aside from daily struggles and anxieties from those nagging pressers, if you feel like you just aren't yourself right now and you need to talk to someone, the help links below are a fantastic resource for all Kiwis.
WHERE TO GET HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
OR IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE:
• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 or 09 5222 999 within Auckland (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 ,free text 234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or online chat.
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
• SAMARITANS – 0800 726 666.