We know that self-care is an important element of wellness. What most of us struggle with is finding the time for self-care. Making time for self-care can be difficult when you’ve got work, school, side hustles, family, and somehow adding in a social life.
The problem with not making time for self-care is that, at some point, it’s going to affect all of those other areas in your life. Sooner or later you are going to be burnt out if you don’t start prioritizing taking care of yourself first.
The good news is that self-care doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. Although, I do suggest doing activities like a nap, bubble bath, or even a massage from time to time. The truth is that self-care can be simple acts that let us allow us to prioritize ourselves.
We already spend a lot of time on our phones each day, why not dedicate some of that time to self-care?
There are numerous apps that are beneficial to the topic of self-care. I’ve tried many of these apps. Today I’m sharing a few of my favorites as well as my overall view on self-care apps. By the end of this post, you’ll be able to discern whether self-care apps are for you, figure out what types of self-care apps are out there, and which ones to start with.
Pros & Cons of Free Self-Care Apps
While there are many different types of free self-care apps to fit your needs, one thing that bothered me the most in these apps was the lack of features in the free apps. I get that these apps need to make money, but there are different ways to go about offering premium services. Some of the free apps I downloaded automatically pushes the premium subscription on you. The activities you can do in these apps are very limited. It almost seemed like it should just be a paid app overall.
That being said, there are many free self-care apps that I thought do a great job of providing a generous amount of free content. They do this without being pushy on the premium features. These are the apps I would be more than likely to purchase the premium version someday.
Another pro of having free self-care apps on your phone is the convenience of it. From meditating to tracking your mood, and everything in between, you can have it all in the palm of your hands. The only con of this is that these apps, of course, need storage to be able to download. I have not currently seen an all-in-one free self-care app. That means you’ll need to download multiple apps to get all the self-care features you may want in an app.
41 Self-Care Apps That Go With You Anywhere
There are many benefits to meditation. This particular activity doesn’t come naturally to me, but it is something I’m trying to work on.
What I look for in a free meditation app is multiple free options, variety of length in meditations, and different categories.
My favorite so far is Stop, Breathe & Think. When you open the app you are met with the task to breathe for 10 seconds. Then you just answer a few different questions to determine how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally.
The app will provide you with different suggested meditations based on your answers. I like that you don’t have to figure out which one to try. This is helpful for beginners like me.
This is a broad category. Think of how you take care of yourself in the day to day tasks, like drinking water, sleeping, working out, and structuring your day.
An app I’ve been loving in this category is Drink Water Reminder. It’s simple to use and provides plenty of reminders throughout the day. You’ll be drinking more water throughout your day by downloading this app.
I first found the importance of mood tracking when I was first introduced to bullet journals (check 41 fonts to try in your bullet journal here). I didn’t realize there were apps for it as well.
What’s great about tracking your mood, is that you can pick up on similarities and patterns. These patterns can help you be more aware in the future.
While there are many mood tracker apps, my favorite has been Moodpath. You don’t just track your mood once throughout the day. You can track it three times, morning, midday, and evening.
The app doesn’t just ask how you are feeling. You’ll also answer a few questions and rate how much the answer impacts you. After two weeks you’ll have a full assessment of your emotional health based on what you track each day.
4. I am
I don’t say affirmations as often as I should. I tried many affirmation apps but there is one that blew them all away, in my opinion.
The app is called I am. My favorite feature is that you pick what topics you want your affirmations to be based on. You get to set how many times during the day you want to see an affirmation. The affirmations will pop up on your phone screen throughout your day. Many of these affirmations have been just what I needed during that time. For such a simple feature this app is powerful.
For those of you that don’t like to put pen to paper, a journaling app may be just what you need.
I found this in the app . If the name didn’t give it away for you, it’s primarily based on gratitude. What I like about this is that it pops up with a prompt each day. That way it not only reminds you to journal, but it also gives you a place to start.
Therapy can be expensive. Many people don’t have access to this, which can make it hard when dealing with mental health. At first, I thought that there was no way a chatbot could help my mental health.
After trying a few I have found Woebot to be my favorite. How this works is you check in with the chatbot daily. Depending on the conversation, you get activities, advice, and more. I wouldn’t say this type of app can replace therapy, but for a free self-care app, it’s a great start.
Apps in this category are great ways to create good habits, provide stress relief, get rid of negative thoughts, etc. The app that I feel does this the best is Happify.
It helps with all of those mentioned above, and it’s fun. You play games, learn new ways to cope with negative thoughts, and other activities that will get you on your way to feeling, well, happy.
Do you have trouble sleeping? White Noise Lite offers relaxing white noise, which has frequencies with equal intensity levels that have been shown to aid in sleep and the alleviation of migraines and headaches.
One of the most popular mediation apps, Headspace offers short guided meditations for when you need to find a moment of calm.
Shine helps you prioritize your mental health by assisting you in setting personal growth goals, delivering daily motivational messages, and conducting “Shine talks” on a range of topics including stress and anxiety to self-love to burnout.
From Morgan Harper Nichols, this app offers beautiful and encouraging words and art to help treasure opportunities each day and to keep on keeping on. With concise, in-depth reads and unique art, you’ll be able to take away a positive message to remember throughout the day.
If you love to read, this is the app for you. Connect with your friends and other life-long readers and authors who love stories, you can find new books and recommendations, mark your current reads, and track author updates.
A digital coloring app, this app allows you to create masterpieces from your phone. You won’t need a trip to the art supply store every time you feel a moment of anxiety. Art can be very therapeutic and you can hold this in your pocket.
Yep, you can journal on your phone in just 5 minutes a day. It has a timeline view to access all of your previous journal entries, daily encouraging quotations, and a one-photo-per-day tool to capture the moment
Need a reality check? RealizD is a free app that keeps track of your phone usage and informs you on which apps you use the most, as well as providing tips on how to limit your screen time.
Calm is a free app that offers daily meditations, a useful sleep timer, and additional information through masterclasses from Liz Gilbert.
A brain training program that helps you exercise your memory, increase processing speed, improve your problem-solving abilities, and more. Try reaching for this app instead of mindlessly scrolling.
Getting out in nature has many benefits like reducing stress! Find new trails close to you using the TrailLink app. Getting outside and back to nature will do you good and this app helps keep your routes fresh.
19) Aloe Bud
Aloe Bud lets you treat self-care like a garden. Using nostalgic pixel-art, you can set reminders and log basic self-care like eating, drinking, taking medicines, etc. There are also affirmations and reminders to interact with others.
A free consultation connects you with the therapist who is best suited to your needs. You may establish therapy sessions and even text your counselor on a daily basis after being paired.
A gratitude journal that helps you focus on what truly matters, you’ll be prompted to record something you’re grateful for each day. The app works to help you focus on the positives in daily life and be more optimistic.
Coined as “where the productivity community meets” you can find people who are motivated like you, track your productivity, and connect with people who are working on similar things through hashtags like #study.
Flipd is a goal-oriented time tracking software that motivates you to achieve your objectives. Its well-designed user interface incorporates encouraging messages and other motivational stimuli to encourage you to be proud of your achievements. Stay motivated, track your productivity, and connect with a community of high-achievers just like you.
23) Charity Miles
Charity Miles is about to revolutionize the way you exercise. You may track a wide range of activities, including running, cycling, and dancing, so you can achieve your fitness objectives. The actual incentive is that for every mile you walk or run, a portion of the money goes to a different charity.
This app isn’t about calorie-counting! It’s a useful tool for scanning your favorite meals and determining how healthy they are. Based on what you’ve previously scanned and recorded, it gives you healthy meal ideas and inspiration.
Using scientifically-backed techniques, this app helps you create good habits by allowing you to see your goals through. Behavior economics aids in identifying areas in your life where you are unable to move forward or fall short, while other features utilize reminders and activity monitoring to construct habits out of the routines that are ideal for achieving your unique goals.
Get reminders to stick to your habits or objectives by tracking them. Make daily checklists, finish large tasks on time with milestones, and keep track of every objective in one location (everything from financial goals to drinking more water). It also aids in the creation of a suitable daily routine.
This is a period cycle tracking app where you can record other symptoms along with your period like your mood, sexual activity, cravings, and more. This is helpful to notice patterns or bring anything up at your annual GYNO exam.
Done is a simple habit tracker that we love that allows you to track simple tasks and check them off. It’s equal parts motivating and rewarding!
Using CBT guided therapy, this is lovely gratitude and digital journal that helps you develop, feel better and enhance your mental and spiritual well-being through writing sessions. Breakthroughs help deliver bite-sized advice that are insightfully delivered.
For those who are burned out or heartbroken, Mend focuses on inner growth in the face of change.
This app aims to help you manage your anxiety, reduce stress, get better sleep, heal heartbreak, and gain self-love through meditations, journalling, access to experts, and emphasizing rest.
Offers methods to help you learn to do life better in just five minutes. They offer guided meditations, videos, talks, and sleep content to help you build (or boost) your meditation practice, and stick with it over time.
For those who practice intermittent fasting, this app is a must-have. You can track when you eat and what you eat to help see patterns to achieve your desired result.
Your doctor’s visits are important which is why Zocdoc aims to make it as easy as possible! They help you find and book top-rated local doctors through in-person visits or telehealth. You can compare reviews and find the best health professionals for you.
If you want to fall asleep faster and feel more refreshed when you wake up. Shleep measures how well you’re sleeping with a questionnaire and teaches you how to sleep better through learning modules. Shleep will give different modules the most attention depending on your sleeping patterns.
The technique works by motivating you to postpone undesirable behaviors or tasks that you don’t want to complete on a daily basis. ToDon’t might assist you avoid making poor judgments such as checking social media or leaving laundry in the wash for too long.
If you’re looking to reduce or quit drinking, you’ll need to join a group of people who are making the same effort. Loosid is a digital sober community that provides assistance and praises sobriety. Users can find friend groups, dating alternatives, and sobriety-related activities via the app.
With Aetheria, you can learn about a variety of mental illnesses and disorders so that you may better understand what’s going on in your body. You’ll discover coping techniques for everything from minor everyday ups and downs to a catastrophe. The program offers access to therapy-driven and research-based tools to assist individuals with their mental health issues.
39) Stretch Timer
Stretching at least once a day can make a significant difference. The Stretch Timer Plus app is an easy method to keep track of repetitions and time while listening to calm tunes in the background!
The app has daily affirmations and exercises to boost your confidence and energy, as well as wellness trackers and milestones so you can gauge your progress. There’s also a feature that lets you save memories!
It’s a great tool for meditation and mindfulness, with a huge selection of meditations to pick from, monthly programs, and customized monitoring to help you improve your health and well-being.
This is just a fraction of the free self-care apps available to you. Try some and see if they help you implement more self-care in your life. Which apps have you tried and loved?
And as a fun bonus, be sure to check out this 30 Day Self-Care Challenge!
Note: This post was updated February 2022 to bring a more comprehensive list of self-care apps available across types of self-care. Many of these apps are free or have free versions but some have a fee.