(iStock illustration)

9 apps that make self-care easy

Apps for stress relief, staying healthy and more.

Pay Up
Pay Up
Dec 16, 2016 · 5 min read

by Julia Carpenter

As part of our Medium series on self-care, we asked members of PayUp, our community dedicated to discussing gender disparity in the workplace, to share the apps that keep them healthy, boost endorphins and help them carve some time for themselves.

There’s something about having a small piece of relief right at your fingertips — like a meditation app or a phone yoga routine. “These little mini breaks help me take a step back from something frustrating for a minute, to let my subconscious brain process,” says Shauna Gordon.

Others have put apps to work on more long-term self-care, like organizing their goals or regulating their sleep.

Here are some of the things that have worked for Pay Up members, just a few of the wide universe of apps out there to try if you’re looking for some electronic support in your self-care routine. What else have you found helpful? Leave your suggestions in the comments.

[Are you a woman in tech? Join Pay Up today]

For stress relief


“I don’t remember where exactly but I was reading an article about apps to help you with anxiety and Vent caught my eye. Since I work in social media I know that I can’t simply rant on my public personal accounts (like Twitter or Facebook) where my colleagues can see it and then perhaps change the way they see me based on a on-the-moment-post, I found it to be very helpful. Usually I talk to my friends about a crappy thing (or day) and get it over with but sometimes everyone is busy or I don’t feel like explaining the whole thing, so I use vent to word-vomit my emotions and then walk away.” — Nicte Trujillo


“An app for your desktop that I like when I want to zone out is Coffitivity. It’s people chatting, the sounds of baristas making coffee. It’s literally the sounds of a coffee shop. It’s essentially background noise, but I’ve been used to working in coffee shops for years so I love it.” — Alisha Miranda


“It’s literally just a little puzzle game, where each round only takes a minute or so. I’ve found it to be a good way to zone out and give my mind a break, while being just engaging enough to focus it. These little mini breaks help me take a step back from something frustrating for a minute, to let my subconscious brain process.” — Shauna Gordon


“I have found Viridi to be very helpful for me when I’m feeling really anxious or upset about something. It has really good graphics, chill music, and has a very simple UI.

The premise is simple: You have a pot of succulents. You water them when they’re thirsty and pull up the weeds. It’s as good as taking care of real plants, but without the mess. Watering the plants every few days helps remind me to take care of myself. Opening the app and just looking at the plants helps remind me that there is a part of my life that isn’t hectic and demanding, and that whatever I’m feeling right now will pass.” — Avery Johnson

For staying healthy

Yoga Studio

“Yoga Studio was introduced to me by a friend when I complained it was too cold to leave the house during a Chicago snow storm. You can download classes to target different practices (balance, relaxation) based on your skill level and the amount of time you have available. You can also create your own custom classes to target the areas that might need extra love that day. I like that the instructions are both audio and visual so that can watch to learn new poses. Bonus — Stream it from your phone to your AppleTV for full-size video.” — Amy Heather Carson


“I asked for some suggestions for combating insomnia on Twitter and a friend recommended it. It’s a free app (with paid upgrades) that provides audio tracks encouraging you to be more mindful about your sleep habits. There are selected tracks to listen to before you go to sleep, for when you can’t get to sleep, for starting the day and for during the day. My favorite track is ‘scan’ which is a body scan. I appreciate that the tracks range in length (5–20 minutes) which makes it easy to find a track that works for whatever your situation is. Since it’s free and flexible, I recommend it to all of my friends with insomnia/sleep problems.” — Toni Pizza


“I use it mostly to track symptoms/fitness/diet to see how it correlates to my endo pain. Because I have so much data I’m able to see trends and how certain behaviors affect my overall health and that’s really interesting. And if something feels weird, I can go look back at last month to see if something similar happened or if I am experiencing something different than expected

it also gives me a great reference for when I do have to go see a doctor — I don’t have to rely on memory.” — Christine Maggi

For balancing work and life


“I found WOOP through the Hidden Brain podcast. I absolutely love the way it walks you through big goals and helps you visualize how to accomplish them and overcome roadblocks. If you want a decidedly non-aggro, but very effective goal-setting technique, definitely check WOOP out.” — Aubrey Bach


“I was looking for an app to limit incoming messages during certain hours, which can derail me from bedtime and morning routines, and found this, which does so much more. It’s pay-what-you-want to unlock all the features, but absolutely worth it. Now, I just need something similar for my desktop.” — Cathy Mullican

Tell us what self-care means to you! What do you do to unwind? How do you make time for relaxation? Leave us a note in the comments, and check back next week as we share our members’ suggestions and routines.

Pay Up is a private, Slack-based community dedicated to fostering conversations about the gender wage gap. It was formerly managed by the Washington Post.

News and analysis from around the world. Founded in 1877.

Pay Up

Written by

Pay Up

The Washington Post
Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade