5 Mental Health Road Blocks & the Apps That Can Help
For better or worse, technology has overtaken almost every aspect of human life today. From texting to smart thermostats and even kitchen appliances, we now live in a saturated digital world. This ever-expanding growth of technology has led to the development of a wide variety of applications for iPhone and Android that can help address a multitude of bothersome problems in life or mental health symptoms. Below are just a few you may find helpful:
- For cleaning up a messy house
Clean My House (Android: free for some features, one-time $1.99 fee for premium)
Cleaning the house is a task that few people really enjoy. If you feel overwhelmed just thinking it, check out this app. The stressful and nebulous beast of “Cleaning” is broken down into smaller steps. It will take you room by room and task per room based on your preference. If you pay for premium, you get access to the suggested tasks for different parts of the house. You can set a schedule and reminders for what and how much gets cleaned, when, and how often. Don’t remember the last time you cleaned the bathtub? Never fear, “Clean My House” recalls not only this, but when it’s scheduled to be cleaned next.
- For organizing all those recipes you keep meaning to file
Copy Me That (Android/iOS: free, $12.50/year, $25 lifetime use)
If you want to easily save a recipe with little fuss, “Copy Me That” is a good option. You can get an extension for your phone or tablet browser that will find the entire recipe within the page you’re on and save it to your recipe box. The instructions for setting up the browser extension are straightforward and easy to follow. Or, there’s an in-app browser you can search through. Once you’re on the site, you click the “copy me that” button, which does exactly that. Once you have a recipe saved you’d like to try, the app can add the ingredients needed to a check-box shopping list. A meal planning feature is also available, as well as the ability to generate cookbooks from your recipes (although for a fee). Paid features include creating multiple shopping lists, personal categories within the shopping list, and emailing meal plans, to name a few.
- For staying on task when you’d rather not
Good Time (Android: free)
The “Good Time” app uses what’s known as the Pomodoro Technique to structure work and break time to avoid burnout and optimize efficiency. The app defaults to the technique protocol, which is 25 minutes of focused work activity followed by a 5 minute break. After four 25 minute segments, you get a longer, 15 minute break. The “Good Time” app allows you to adjust the focus, short break, and long break length to suit your needs. You can also pause the timer if you need to answer a knock at the door, for example. If keeping track of all those chunks of time sounds like too much, don’t worry; the app also keeps track of which part you’re on and how long your break should be. The app can also disable sound, vibration, and Wi-Fi to assist in keeping distractions at bay
TimeTimer (Android: $0.99; iPhone: $2.99; iPad: $4.99; Desktop: $19.95)
With this app, the old kitchen timer goes digital and gets a colorful upgrade in the form of segments that shrink as time elapses. Red is the default color, but if that stresses you out, there are a couple other colors available to choose from. There are three modes: original, in which the timer can be up to 60 minutes; custom, where the timer can be seconds, minutes or hours; and clock, where the timer is overlaid on a clock face. There is also a quick start 60 minute timer if you’re in a hurry, and awake mode keeps your device screen on while the timer (or timers) run(s). You can see one-timer full screen or four timers at once, and each one you create can be named and saved for future use. While a timer may seem like something only children use, it can also benefit adults in helping to visualize the passage of time in a variety of different settings and situations, such as at work or while getting ready in the morning.
- For when you need a break from the digital world
(OFFTIME) (Android: free, $3 pro; iOS, light version: $3)
While technology certainly has its benefits (see above), sometimes disconnecting from the digital world is necessary for your well-being. Enter the “(OFFTIME)” app. Not only does the app track your phone and app use, it also lets you schedule or take random “off times” in which calls, texts, and notifications are blocked. If you still want to be able to use some apps or get in contact with certain people, you can add exceptions to allow that. “(OFFTIME)” will even send auto-replies to your contacts, if you’d like, to let them know you’re off the grid for a while. Once your off time is complete, check out the app’s activity log to see what you missed while you were gone. You might be wondering about now what would stop someone from just turning the app off. The developers thought of just that and have included a setting that lets you decide what’s necessary to end of time. You can long press on the screen, long press and plug the phone into the charger, long press and wait 1 minute, long press and wait 15 minutes, or simply wait until your time is up. You can also create different “profiles,” such as for unplugging during the work week or on the weekend. Unfortunately, the iOS version doesn’t have as many features, nor does the free for Android. There are Business and Professional models available if you own a business and think your employees might also benefit.
- For making your commute or road trip a little less stressful
Waze (Android/iOS: free)
If you’ve ever wished someone would keep track of when you should leave for something based on the traffic, weather, construction, or a host of other disruptive traffic events, your dreams have come true. “Waze” is a turn-by-turn GPS app that has real-time road conditions and traffic reports contributed by its users, who all have the capability of adding content to the app. In fact, if you’re really invested in making the app as up-to-date as possible, you can even go online and edit any errors you find on the map. “Waze” also tries to make driving a little less tedious and a lot more fun with different “moods” and items for your icon you earn by making a road report, editing the map, or achieving certain pre-set goals. You can save addresses and even trips ahead of time by designating what time you’d like to arrive. The app will send you a notification when it’s time to hit the road. The “Waze” website says that driving the same route 3-4 times (such as from home to work) will help it to learn what you prefer to compare the distance and travel time to other possible routes. As more reports come in during your drive, the app has the ability to reroute you to a faster and/or shorter route. Waze also offers different voice directions, sometimes including celebrities, and you have the option to record your own voice directions if you’d like, as well. Ever have trouble finding parking in the city? “Waze” can also tell you where the nearest parking garage to your destination is. If you’re trying to avoid getting a (or any more) speeding tickets, the app not only notifies you of reported police speed traps, it can also alert you if you go over the speed limit if you like. Drives can be shared, so friends and/or family know where you are and what time you’ll arrive.
This post was first published here: www.papsychotherapy.com