Self-Care Doesn't Have To Be Complicated & These 6 Apps Make It As Simple As Possible

by Julia Guerra

How much time have you dedicated to self-care lately? It might be more than you think. See, thanks to social media influencers and your favorite celebrities' ideas of what it means to be self-indulgent, self-care has been made out to be something over-the-top extravagant — think tubs overflowing with bubbles, essential oils diffusing in a candlelit bedroom, and expensive skincare products lined up in a row on your bathroom sink. Really, though, taking care of yourself can be as easy as downloading one of the best apps for self-care onto your phone, finding a few minutes of your day to decompress, and continuing on with your regularly scheduled programming. Sure, sheet masks are lovely, and if you have time to draw yourself a bath and sip a glass of wine as you soak, by all means, do you, boo. But if time is of the essence, technology's here to help you out.

And listen, don’t get me wrong, because my online feed is just as full of social media personalities spoiling themselves with hours-long self-care routines and spa treatments as yours probably is, but for most people, real life isn’t a constant Instagram photoshoot. Personally, I don’t know many people who can carve out more than maybe 30 minutes or so of their day to check in with themselves — do you? It’s unfortunate, of course, but it’s a reality for a lot of people, and if you’re one of them, there's no need to feel like you’re "failing" at self-care just because you don’t shower with champagne, or have a drawer full of bath bombs.

Self-care doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. It really can be as simple as pressing a button on your phone. Here are a few of the best self-care apps for iOS and Android to download ASAP for self-care in seconds.

An App For Guided Meditation When Your Mind Needs To Wind Down
inscape on Instagram

Self-care doesn't only come in the form of fancy toiletries and pricey skincare. Don't get me wrong: Pampering yourself can be a real treat, but sometimes it's your mind, specifically, that could use some tending to.

INSCAPE is free for iOS, with in-app purchases to further your practice. I personally love this app for guided meditations because the instructors are helpful, but they aren't intrusive, so while each session is "guided," there's plenty of time where you're left alone with your thoughts. Plus, there are so many sessions to choose from, with a variety of focuses like easing anxiety, improving sleep, boosting creativity, and even body scans to check in with your physical being.

An App That Encourages Reflection Through Journaling
kyoapp on Twitter

I live by the motto "when in doubt, write it out," and if you find that you stress less when you journal consistently, then the mental fitness app KYO might be a great fit for you. Part meditation, part journaling prompt, the free app includes "packs" of exclusive advice and questions to respond to that come directly from experts in the wellness space, like Adam Grant, Lauren Toyota, and Melissa Ambrosini, among others. So all you'll need is a pad of paper, a pen, a cup of tea, and a few minutes of uninterrupted "me time" to reflect.

An App To Lower Your Stress Levels On-Demand
happynotperfect on Instagram

In case you haven't heard, perfection is a myth. There's no such thing as having it all together all the time, but keep in mind that, just because life can get a little chaotic sometimes, that doesn't mean you aren't doing amazing. Happy Not Perfect is an excellent reminder of that.

The app is free, with in-app purchases like subscriptions that give you access to advanced features, and the platform focuses on clearing your mind and cleansing your mental health first, so that your physical health (think how you feel, how you sleep, etc.) can follow suit. It's the ideal app for someone who experiences anxiety often, as the "7-minute Daily Refresh" it provides works to amp up your feel-good hormones so you're ready for anything life throws at you in the next 24 hours.

An App For Better Sleep
calm on Twitter

Think back to when you were a kid. Did your mom or dad read to you before bed? I know myself, and I loved listening to the soothing sounds of my parents' voices telling me a story that would always help me drift off to sleep. If you, like me, get nostalgic for these foolproof, sleep-inducing bedtime stories during the nights when you're up tossing and turning, Calm is for you, my friend.

Calm is a meditation app that also doubles as a brilliant sleep aide. And when I say it's "brilliant," I'm not exaggerating, because one of its star features is one that is comprised of sleep stories — aka, adult bedtime stories that are actually soothing, not corny. A seven-day trial is free of charge, but if you get hooked on Calm, a year's subscription will cost you $59.99.

An App For Deep Breathing Exercises To Calm The Body

Here's some food for thought: If breathing is something that we humans supposedly do naturally, then why aren't we utilizing it as a tool to calm us through the everyday stressors we face? The Saagara app can teach you how, with guided exercises paired with visual aides and music to energize you, and improve your stamina and focus in the moment, and for the rest of the day. The app itself is a one-time purchase of $5.99, and with that comes unlimited access to all its stress-free exercises.

An App That Literally Wants You To Stay In Bed All Day

Remember the video game The Sims? TRU LUV's #SelfCare app is similar, except you play on your phone, it's free to download, and the game is literally about staying in bed all day long and creating a stress-free oasis on your screen.

Not only does it sound like a blast, but who doesn't have those days when the only thing you want from life is to go home, get back into bed, and sleep away the stress? What's more, according to a press release sent to Bustle back in August of 2018, as you progress in the game, you're able to "awaken your dozing cat, do a simple tarot card reading, or water a plant." The gist really is to just create this safe, comfortable, digital space that's visibly soothing and allows you to both virtually and literally decompress.