Health & Wellness Edition
🎉 I’ve been shortlisted for the Tab’s Future 100 list for the community building work I have done with Code First: Girls for the last two years and spreading good vibes on this blog 🎉
Send me some love by voting for me 👍🏻 here. I would greatly appreciate it! 🤗
After posting a very intensive Twitter poll, today I’ll be sharing my favourite health and wellness apps that have helped me on my fitness journey. They’ve helped me stay on track and keep a record of my health data (which I am currently very obsessed with!) I’ll be covering apps that have helped with both my mental and physical health.
Apps: Mental Health
🧘🏻♀️Calm – Introduce meditation practice into your life
Does this app need an introduction? 😝
If you’ve been following me for a while now, you’d know how much I LOVE Calm. It has given me guidance that I truly needed at the lowest point in my life and now shows me light every day. I’ll be writing a separate post on the 600+ days I’ve been using Calm, but for now, 🔗 download it, and give it a shot! I 100% recommend it.
You can find out about how I started getting into mindfulness and meditation practice here.
💙 Five Minute Journal – gratitude practice
I’ve talked about Five Minute Journal a few times before.
For those that are unfamiliar with it; it is a journal that allows you to cultivate gratitude practice into your everyday life by asking a question you probably don’t ask yourself: What are you grateful for?
When I first started practising this, I realised how much I took things in my life for granted like the roof over my head, my nutritious meals, my body for getting up and doing all the things that allow me to make the most out of life. Filling out the journal every morning has set my days out to a more happy one. Along with meditation, I can happily say that has helped with my mental health a lot over the past year.
🔗 Download Five Minute Journal
📝 MoodNotes – A journal for your mood
I downloaded MoodNotes one night when I wasn’t feeling my best – I was feeling very anxious with negative cycle of thoughts that I couldn’t seem to shift at all. Although meditation did help, I felt like I needed a little more guidance and positive reinforcement.
MoodNotes is an enhanced mood journalling app based on an approach to psychotherapy called cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), it aims to help users learn to identify and modify problematic thinking habits.
Once you’ve input how you’re feeling that day, you’re given the option to “re-think” any negative emotions you may have been feeling by making you aware of “traps” you may have fallen into. An example of a trap that I often found myself falling into often is “Catastrophizing”:
Once you’ve identified a possible trap, it asks you to think of the situation without the trap, so if you weren’t blowing things out proportion in the situation – what could you change? Do have control over anything? How do you feel now? Is there a different way of looking at that situation that isn’t attached to negative emotions? Can you cultivate a different, more positive way of thinking?
After this, you can adjust your initial feelings after reassessment.
The app then offers you a suggestion looking forward, in the case of catastrophizing – even if the situation is undeniably bad, are there any positive consequences that might emerge from it?
For instance, in a rejection for a job you really want, you might think that it’s all over and you’ll never get employed. Maybe take a different approach – realise that this failure will set you up for something positive in the future – something that was meant for you. In my case (because this was definitely a journal entry for me) – I created a spreadsheet that allowed me to reflect on each rejection and apply the main learnings to future applications which I’ve been much more successful with.
I have enjoyed using MoodNotes these past few months – I’ve identified a lot of my main traps which has allowed me to be more mindful of them when they arise again, hopefully improving every single time.
🔗 Download MoodNotes
Apps: Physical Health
❤ Clue – understanding your period and reproductive health
…and not being ashamed of talking about it.
I discovered Clue over a year ago. I actually hit my app-niversary with them a few days ago, it’s great to see how the app has developed to be better over time!
At the time of finding Clue, I just got a Fitbit and started tracking everything from steps, calories I was burning to sleep. I increasingly started to realise the more I got into the world of health apps, that people weren’t talking about the one huge thing that the female population go through and that’s… periods.
Stumbling upon Clue was refreshing because it wasn’t just an app that helped me track when Satan comes and tries to ruin my life (a little bit overdramatic, but the breakdown of the uterus lining every month is actually very dramatic), but also really encouraged me to stop feeling ashamed about periods. Because there is nothing to be ashamed about, it’s a natural part of life.
The app has helped me become more mindful of the common patterns I have throughout the month from mood to digestion (because of the hormones that change all sorts of things) and allowed me to act on any changes if need be. I’ve also learnt loads of interesting things about cycles, culture and sex from their newsletters and website – very educational!
🏃🏻♀️ Fitbit app – to capture EVERYTHING
I totally fell in love with my Fitbit when I first got it back in November 2016 and have since loved tracking EVERYTHING it allows me to – steps, calories, sleep, water intake and food (although I don’t use it for my food tracking – intuitive eating right now!) I also have the Fitbit Atria which measures my body fat %, weight, muscle mass and BMI. Do I love the Fitbit ecosystem? YES.
My favourite part all the tracking is the graphs produced with MY DATA. I find that super cool – especially over time – I mean, look at those graphs change! WOOHOOOOO. Wow. Shook. Blowing me away. 😂
Tracking all this using my Fitbit has definitely helped me make more mindful, smarter decisions about lifestyle changes I have decided to do. For example, data on my sleep over 2017 revealed that I only had about 5 hours sleep on some days because of my early 5 am routine that my body couldn’t seem to get out of! I started to burn out real quick. Solution? Change my sleeping pattern and try to establish an evening routine (still a work in progress, however!)
I was empowered knowing that data from my Fitbit to make these changes – as Brandon has said:
“If you want to improve something, track it” well I guess upgrading your tracking devices makes sense and totally justifies buying FitBit products haha! pic.twitter.com/ZZ2vMgw6AQ
— Brandon Skerritt (@brandon_skerrit) April 9, 2018
I have the Fitbit Blaze but thinking of upgrading to the Fitbit Versa because of the newer features and it just looks SO BEAUTIFUL.
🔗 Download Fitbit
🌅 Zero – Keeping track of your Fasting hours
I started intermittent fasting back in February but couldn’t maintain it with my busy university, work and volunteering schedule – no matter how much I planned it! I recently started getting back into my 16:8 fasting system (16-hours fast, 8-hour eating window), Zero has helped keep track of my fasting hours.
I could do a whole blog post on IF (which I will, with photos!) but for now, I recommend Zero for a simple way to track your fasting hours. It’s also very aesthetically pleasing which is a plus!
🏋🏻♀️ Aflete – Workouts!
Those that follow me on Instagram would know that I am currently doing the Grace Fit Guide #3. I’ve enjoyed doing her guides since July last year and particularly enjoy having them on my phone because I don’t have to carry around notes with a workout or have them in my not-so-well-structured Notes app.
There are definitely improvements I’d like to see on the app itself – but it’s functional for its purpose. Again, the GFG and guides, in general, are a whole different blog post! It’s a great starting point for those looking to get into fitness. Also, there are other guides, not just Grace’s in the app – all very much well-thought out. If you’re struggling with a routine, guides on Aflete may be your first step!
I need to reiterate Brandon’s quote once again:
If you want to change something, track it.
Since I started tracking aspects of my health on my smart devices, it has helped empower me to take control of my health because as I’ve said before, your mental and physical health is at the centre of everything you do – so why not make sure everything is at its optimal level?
I’m increasingly becoming interested in health tech and could go on about some things I’m looking forward to in the digital health space but that’s a separate blog post. 🤗 For now, I’d recommend some interesting reading on TechCrunch and this article on definitions of health tech and the importance of it in our growing techy world.
Have you got any favourite health and well-being apps? Comment below! 👇🏼