Feel like you’re cooped up at home, and don’t have much mental space to ‘be free’ and grow? These personal development tools will help you become your best self
It’s been nearly a week since the government implemented the ‘circuit breaker’, mandating employees to work from home wherever possible and closing schools for the next month. While it may be slightly tougher to be productive – and positive – in the midst of a global crisis, all’s not lost. Here’s a silver lining in this COVID-19 dark cloud: having some extra time now that your commute time has been effectively cut to zero, freeing up a good chunk of time to spend on things you’ve always wanted to try, but never really had the time to. As good mental health promotes good physical health and vice versa, so here are a list of fitness, mindfulness and reading apps to keep you mentally and physically fit.
Get In Better Shape
Sworkit throws all your excuses for not exercising out of the window. No time? It’ll get your heart racing in just a minute. No equipment? The programme relies fully on body weight. Easily bored? There are more than 400 unique workouts and over 800 exercises in its repertoire, and they can be customised to suit your fitness level.
There are also in-app coaches and nutritional experts to answer your queries. But perhaps the most unique of the lot would is its Quiet Home Workouts series, designed for smaller spaces with the least amount of jumping possible. You’ll be able to work out in the same room as your sleeping child, or even when your other half is taking a conference call in the next room.
Built by cult sportswear brand Alo Yoga, Alo Moves offers thousands of practices – from Ashtanga to Vinyasa – guided by some of the biggest yogis in the world, including Ashley Galvin, Dylan Werner and Caley Alyssa. The Fitness section also turns things up a notch with strength training, HIIT, pilates, barre, stretching and core exercises. United Airlines has teamed up with Alo Moves to offer all United MileagePlus members a 30-day trial. For those who aren’t already a part of the programme you can sign up here. Membership is free.
For those who are looking to achieve specific fitness goals, look to Nike Training Club. Its four- to six-week training plans are designed by Nike Master Trainers, and come with a variety of workouts across strength, endurance, yoga, and mobility. Unless you’re blessed with iron-clad self-discipline, you’ll appreciate the accountability tools that ensure you stay on top of your training and reach your target in a timely manner.
Be More Present and Mindful
Besides time, the other thing one could have in abundance right now – even without realising it – is anxiety. There are thousands of apps in the market that offer meditation as a way of coping, but the one that has successfully brought an ancient practice to the masses (now 60 million and counting) is Headspace, founded by a former Buddhist monk, an ad exec and a financier. Its collection of meditation courses covers various aspects of life, whether you’re trying to manage stress, cope with challenges, seek personal growth or sleep better.
Yet another meditation app you can try is 10% Happier, which was developed by ABC News correspondent and best-selling author Dan Harris, who suffered a panic attack on live television and wrote about it in his book of the same name. Apart from meditation sessions, you can also consult experienced mediators who typically reply in a day. While Headspace is course-driven, Harris’ app offers hundreds of single sessions, as well as Talks for on-the-go mindfulness.
For those looking to learn different life skills, download Sanvello. This mental-health app provides users with cognitive behavioral therapy tools for dealing with stress, anxiety and depression. It also offers a wider range of audio lessons with a related activity to help you connect and achieve self-realisation. The mood and health tracker is also a welcome feature, allowing you to be better prepared when the going gets tough as you become more aware of trends and causes.
You don’t need a Kindle to access Amazon, the world’s largest ebook store; it has 3.4 million books on its virtual shelves at any given point. The Kindle app has more or less the same features you’ll find in the device: dictionary, X-Ray (to keep track of characters, places, and events in the book), Wikipedia lookup, instant translations, font adjustments, progress tracker, highlights, and bird’s-eye view.
Also referred to as the “Netflix for books”, members of Scribd – a subscription-based app – has access to an unlimited collection of books, audiobooks, magazines, newspapers, sheet music, periodicals and other types of documents. Think of it as an app that may deem other apps – such as Audible and Kindle Unlimited – obsolete. You can also download titles in advance if you intend to read in the air.
And of all the news aggregators available, Pocket is undoubtedly one of the best apps for those who want to stay updated, but are always on the go. It lets you save articles, videos, and stories from any publication, page of app you’re in for distraction-free, offline reading. More than that, Pocket provides reading time estimates, a highlighting tool, a text-to-speech feature so you can listen to your articles. Its ‘Explore’ function also recommends you content by others. While you can’t see who has saved what, you’ll get a sense of what individuals have saved, and can follow their feed (or pockets).
Staying home during this period of time isn’t easy, we get it! But we’ll be keeping you company. Subscribe to our digital magazines for free, and check out what ideas we have for you. #StayHomeWithRobb