I’m not that best role model when it comes to healthy, holistic self-care habits.
The journey of taking care of myself, seeing myself as beautiful, and nourishing my body and soul has been a long one - and a journey that I’m just beginning, honestly.
In 2019, one of my resolutions is to drink more water. Way too often, I reach for coffee, tea, or Dr. Pepper first before the thought of drinking water even crosses my mind. But only a few days into the new year, I realized that this resolution was going to be a lot harder to keep than I thought.
One aspect of the feminine genius that I’ve been diving into lately has been sensitivity - women’s ability to see and understand the deep desires and needs of the human heart, and to respond to those desires with the gaze and action of love.
I used to think that my sensitivity to the hearts of others was a character flaw. But now I realize that if I were to remove sensitivity from my heart, I’d remove part of what makes me a woman living out the feminine genius in today’s world.
Far too often though, I strive to be sensitive to the hearts and stories of others, and skip right over my own story and needs. So this year, I’m working to grow in sensitivity to my own story - and for me, that starts with picking up my water bottle more often.
To help me break bad habits and replace them with healthy, holistic self-care, I turned to technology for some back up. I started off by downloading an app that reminds me to drink water on an hourly basis.
But the more I thought about it, I realized that I couldn’t be the only one struggling with self-care, and even though I’m old fashioned, I’m loving how this little app is keeping me accountable.
So while it’s a small contribution to your self-care journey, I hope this recommended list of apps can help you as you become more sensitive to your own story and needs during this new year:
We live in a culture that glorifies busyness - it’s tempting to wear our exhaustion as a badge of honor. But you’re worthy of a good night’s sleep. Getting good, quality rest isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity, especially when it comes to things like making decisions and solving problems.
Do you remember having a bedtime routine when you were younger? At my parents house, we would pick up the toys we’d gotten out throughout the day, change into our pajamas, and settle in to read some of our favorite books.
As adults, we may have abandoned some of our old bedtime rituals, but a routine around bedtime is timeless!
Whether it’s turning off screens or making sure you still make time to read, establish a routine for going to bed. Then, when you’re getting settled in for the night, take advantage of the technology out there that can help you analyze your sleep cycle and making sure you’re getting quality rest.
Sleep Time helps you wake up feeling calm, refreshed, and well rested every night. The app has a built in alarm clock and sleep diary, and works to wake you up at the lightest sleep stage of your sleep cycle!
2. Body image
What are the first things to come to mind as you get ready for the day in the morning? When you glance at your reflection in the mirror, are the phrases that pop into your head often riddled with thoughts of how you aren’t enough?
Maybe you struggle with the thoughts that you’re not beautiful enough or good enough. Perhaps you, like me, have approximately 3 minutes at the gym before you compare your body to another woman’s. You wonder if you’ll ever look like the world’s ideal of beauty, or if it’s even worth it even more.
Given that 97% of women say that they think at least one negative thought about their body image every single day, you’re not alone, sister.
Good Blocks is an app that was created thanks to research in the area of cognitive behavioral therapy. It helps you recognize automatic negative thoughts and adopt hopeful, flexible thinking when it comes to your relationship with your body.
Healing the way you think about your body is a long journey, and one that I’ve turned to professionals for help. A single app downloaded on your phone cannot radically bring complete healing, and should never replace professional help. But long journeys to healthy body image begin with small, intentional steps.
Although I’ve come a long way since college, I still struggle with a healthy relationship with food. I’ve taken concrete steps to set aside time for food prep, and stop for lunch breaks despite my work-from-home schedule. But one thing that I still struggle with is knowing what food is nutritious, and building up motivation to make healthy choices.
Fooducate lets you scan a bar-code of any product (or type in its name!) and see all the health details behind the food you eat daily. From ingredient lists to healthiness scores, Fooducate takes the guess work out of healthy eating. The app even gives you healthy alternatives to not-so-healthy foods that may dominate your eating habits.
4. Social media
How much time do you spend mindlessly scrolling through social media? How often do you walk away from your scroll sessions feeling envious, unworthy, and insufficient? Even if you realize how much time you spend on social media and how it makes you feel afterward, do you still find yourself clicking on Instagram in moments of boredom?
Social media isn’t evil. But given that people touch their phones an average of 2, 617 times a day, social media can be pretty dang distracting and destructive if it’s not used for good reasons.
The first step to healing from negative social media usage is realizing how much time we really spend on our phones. If you want to stay focused in any scenario and be able to put your phone down and focus on what’s really important in life, check out the Forest app.
Whenever you want to focus, you plant a tree on the app. The longer you are able to stay focused on the task at hand and not be distracted by your phone, the healthier the tree will grow. If you’re able to stay focused, you’ll be able to build a forest, with every tree representing your focused time!
The Forest app costs $1.99, but if you’re looking for a free alternative, try out OffTime.
Do you end most of your days feeling overwhelmed, unable to process your emotions, or stuffing your emotions down because you just don’t think you have time to healthily process them? Your mental and emotional health is an important aspect of self-care!
If you’re struggling with grief, anxiety, or stress, it’s important to consider professional help. But if you’re looking to take small steps in the right direction, Happify may be a great place to start. The app brings you effective tools and programs to help you process your emotions.
6. Work and life balance
As someone who works from home as a freelance writer, I know the struggle of balancing work and life outside of work. My office is right off our kitchen, so it’s always tempting to sneak in there throughout the evening to finish up that one last piece of a project.
It wasn’t until I started tracking my time for a work project that I realized where I was actually spending my time throughout the day.
If you’re suspicious that you’re spending too much time at the work desk, or worry that you’ll never have time to dedicate to the hobbies you love, it’s not a bad idea to become aware of how you’re actually spending your time.
Timeneye is a gorgeous, non-distracting app that you can use to monitor how you spend your time. From work projects to household chores, you can see exactly how you spend your day and adjust your self-care habits from there. As a bonus, Timeneye syncs up with apps like Google Calendar and after you start to use the app, it learns your habits and suggests entries for you.
7. Interior life
Self-care isn’t just about your body. After all, you’re created in the image of God: Body, mind and soul. So this year, commit to a spiritual resolution!
It’s easy to make vague resolutions like “pray more,” or “grow in my interior life.” Instead, make attainable, achievable goals when it comes to your relationship with God. One accessible goal for your prayer life could be praying fifteen minutes a day.
Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, you’re not alone if you struggle to dedicate time to prayer. But Pray As You Go is a great app that can help you set aside ten to fifteen minutes for prayer, scripture, music, and reflection.
The app also includes an audio Rosary, Stations of the Cross, and a daily examen.