5 OF THE BEST MENTAL HEALTH APPS TO HELP YOU THROUGH LOCKDOWN
By Jessica Cooke
Imagine being trapped alone with yourself for an unknown period of time? You spend your days with little to no contact with the outside world, all the while your brain is ticking over like an unexploded bomb…
Oh no wait – we don’t have to imagine. Welcome to UK Lockdown – the collective traumatic experience exacerbated by a team of leaders whose directions around social distancing and staying indoors seem to make as much sense as the Hokey Kokey.
There is one thing that’s clear in this. The rules around lockdown and social distancing are about protecting ours and other’s physical health. But whilst we’re staying put to stay physically healthy, our mental health has started to resemble that of Tom Hanks in Castaway as he desperately screams for Wilson.
But, even in these circumstances, primal screaming would still be considered a little uncouth. So, here’s another option. As I sit here, quietly seething with rage and noting a spider slowly making it’s way across my living room (“don’t go… you’re only my friend…”) I have compiled a list of apps that will help you retain your sanity whilst we await further vague instruction. ‘Stay Alert’ to this guide to five of my favourite mental wellbeing apps.
We are what we pay attention to. During the pandemic, our news feeds are blowing up with negativity – every time our phone goes off it appears to be bad news, and it’s raining on us from every outlet. Headspace is a meditation app that encourages you to take 10 minutes each day to train your brain to take control of your thinking. It’s not difficult– it’s not deeply spiritual – it’s easy guided meditation led by founder, Andy, who, as opposed to sounding like a buddhist monk (or an equally unrelatable teacher) he’s calm, down to earth – someone you could probably go to the pub with. It’s easy to follow and there’s helpful animations to get to grips with your practice.
Contrary to popular belief, meditation is not about clearing your mind. It’s about taking a step back from your busy tangle of thoughts, and noticing what you pay attention to. Try it for a week, and I promise you’ll start to feel calmer.
Anyone else going through a break-up during lockdown? My oh my, isn’t this a special type of hell? The upside to spending time alone (and out of a relationship) is that you really get to focus on yourself and what you want, and take stock of lessons learnt from your past relationship, helping you to ready yourself for the next chapter. Mend will help you do that.
The app offers a daily tutorial focused on feeling better, and mending your heartbreak following which you’re then given a daily prompt, which encourages you to journal your feelings for that day. There’s also tonnes of self-help blogs and a community of ‘menders’ you can tap into. Whilst the app is focused on relationship breakdown, the ‘writers in the community’ section covers all sorts of topics from rediscovering yourself to coping with the heartbreak caused by a death or bereavement.
Moodfit offers tools and insights to help you balance your mood. A simple focusing on daily goals, and basic self care – which, doesn’t sound like much but in lockdown, can be really beneficial. One user rated the app for it’s ability to help her track her mood, and reflect upon it in the ‘weekly review,’ allowing her to see if she felt as though she responded appropriately to a given situation.
Others felt that tracking their mood helped them to see if they were about to go into a downward spiral, so they could take measures to prevent that. There’s also a library of motivational articles to help you boost your spirits.
This one is a little bit pricey, but if you can afford to pay for therapy it’s always a worthwhile investment. Talkspace app matches you with a therapist and offers counselling and support 24/7. It connects you with a licensed mental health professional so you can receive therapy from your digital services – perfect if you don’t want to leave the house. They do say a problem shared is a problem halved, and those who have gone to therapy often cite that it wasn’t just the plan put in place by the therapist that helped them to recover, but the act of talking to someone to get it all of their chest.
If you find yourself struggling in lockdown, why not suggest a chat with a close friend or family member via Zoom? You could make a patch to help each-other through. Or, if you’d prefer to talk to an impartial person, ring the Samaritans.
Looking for something a little more fun? Happify offers proven techniques developed by leading scientists and experts, to help you break old habits and follow positive new ones. Whether you’re feeling sad, anxious or stressed, Happify brings you effective tools and programmes to help you take control of your feelings and thoughts.
This article was written by one of our fantastic writers, Jess Cooke! Follow Jess on Instagram to keep up to date with her latest writing work and poetry.
For more ideas on things to do in lockdown, why not try this recipe for vegan banana bread in our Food section?