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The 5 best mindfulness apps for building a great self-care routine

Posted by
Lauren Geall
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A woman on her phone

Make your mental health a top priority with Stylist’s pick of the best mindfulness apps, the perfect tool to help you squeeze self-care into a busy schedule.

Self-care is a bit of a wellness buzzword these days. So much so that we’ve kind of forgotten what the term meant in the first place. While nowadays many people associate self-care with spa treatments and experimental relaxation practices, the concept actually refers to any activity we can do in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health, including those mentioned above.

And good self-care is actually vitally important. We don’t all have to subscribe to the term itself, but practising simple self-care on a daily basis is just as important as brushing our teeth or eating breakfast, whether you deal with a diagnosed mental health condition or not.

On that note, it’s also important to remember that self-care can look and take as much time as you want it to; you don’t have to complete an hour of silent meditation every day to make it count. Something as simple as completing a mindfulness meditation on the bus into work or getting out in nature and going for a walk can work just as well – if not better – for some people.

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With this in mind, mindfulness apps are a great way to make self-care into a daily habit. Whether they’re guiding you through a breathing exercise or simply reminding you to take care of yourself, mindfulness apps help to make the process a whole lot easier by giving you self-care at your fingertips. 

Here, we’ve selected five of the best mindfulness apps to give you some inspiration to make self-care a part of your daily routine. 

  • Headspace

    Describing itself as “your personal guide to mindfulness,” Headspace is a comprehensive mindfulness tool which makes incorporating self-care into your routine a breeze.

    According to Headspace, just 10 days’ use of the app can increase happiness by 16% – and with content covering everything from sleep and fitness to self-esteem and stress, there’s plenty to enjoy.  

    Headspace currently offers a two-week free trial when you pay for the first year at £49.99. On a monthly basis, a subscription costs £9.99.

  • Shine

    Shine is the perfect mindfulness app for anyone looking for a bit of support and inspiration when it comes to self-care.

    Each weekday the app sends you your “Daily Shine”, a motivational message paired with a mindfulness meditation and research-backed tips on mental health, based on your “self-care focus” which you pick from a list of options. Alongside this, Shine will also prompt you to “check in” with yourself every day, asking simple questions like “What are you grateful for today?” to help you reflect on where you’re at.

    The app also has an online community which engages in conversation via the daily discussion questions, making it a great place to share and learn more about how other people approach self-care.

    You can get limited content on Shine for free, but upgrading to premium opens up a whole library of meditations and strategies for you to use. You can start with a one week free trial, after which a subscription costs £10.99 per month or £62.99 a year.

  • Reflectly

    Take the time out of your day to reflect on how you’re doing with the handy Reflectly app.

    Reflectly uses artificial intelligence to help you “structure and reflect upon your daily thoughts and problems,” learning from the ideas and topics you respond to and providing space for you to reflect on the things that matter for you.

    The best bit? You can do it anywhere at any time, perfect for someone looking to add a few mindful moments into their daily routine.

    To unlock the full features on Reflectly, you can enjoy a seven-day free trial after which you can pay £41.99 for an annual subscription.

  • #SelfCare

    What the #SelfCare app lacks in the guided meditation offered by the other titles on this list, it makes up for in its cute, calming design and satisfyingly simple concept.

    Essentially, what #SelfCare offers is the chance to stay in bed all day (albeit virtually), surrounded by the calming influences of crystals and an adorable pet cat.

    Ultimately, #SelfCare is mindfulness without any fuss. Switch off the world for a second and spend some time sorting virtual laundry and listening to some calming music – you deserve it.

    You can pay for in-game expansions if you fancy it, but the app itself is totally free.

  • Aura

    Whether you’re dealing with stress, anxiety or having trouble sleeping, Aura has got you covered.

    Personalised by AI, this simple app provides short, science-backed mindfulness meditation exercises to suit your self-care needs; just tell Aura your feelings and let the app do the work for you, finding a three-minute meditation exercise suited to your situation. The app also provides you with daily reminders to sit back and take a break, as well as daily reflections to help you practise gratitude.

    The app offers a seven-day free trial, after which a subscription costs £51.99.

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Lauren Geall

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