I am privileged to be assisting with West Coast Swing Wellness, a wellness page aimed at the West Coast Swing dance community which is a dance and a community I love being a part of and working within.
Below is a guest post I authored for their site on the top free Wellness apps in 2020 (according to the ones I have been able to test so far!). I have WCS Wellness's permission to share here too, so please enjoy!
We’ve all felt our mental health put to the test over the last few months. No matter how resilient or positive you are, it’s been tough. Particularly with one of our favorite ways to boost our mental health being(social dancing) on hold.
We believe in the power of community support, connection, and boosting our physical and mental health to help ensure our wellbeing, but we could all use a little help or reminder wherever we go. So, here are our top 5 FREE mental health apps that we’d suggest checking out for that little extra boost in your life.
Please note we have selected those that are available on both android and apple, rather than those that exclusively use just one operating system. We have also tried to find apps with the most scientific backing and clinical support to ensure they are having the highest impact for you, free of charge.
There are tonnes more apps out there but we wanted to limit the overwhelm so these are our personal favorites right now. If you have any suggestions to add in please do drop them in the comments or e-mails us at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. eQoo – All round mental wellbeing and personal development
Love games and having fun?
This app is for you. Designed during COVID by psychologists and the creators of The Walking Dead games, this NHS recommended app is designed to increase your emotional intelligence fitness, whilst having fun!
In a story-based, multiple-choice game format, you control the outcomes and it includes the Big 5 Personality Test (one of the top personalities globally recognised tests).
What’s more, until August 2020 it is totally free to download and use with code EQOGAME. After August the website states the game will be available for a small fee after a free trial period.
Boost personal development
Increase interpersonal relationship skills
What’s more, until August 2020 it is totally free to download and use with code EQOGAME. After August the website states the game will be available for a small free after a free trial period.
2. SuperBetter – Live Gamefully
Another way to bring play and fun to managing depression, anxiety, chronic illness. and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The creators want to help us all to ‘live gamefully’, to bring the same playful and curious mindset of gaming to everyday life.
Studies show that playing the app can improve your:
perceived social support
The app can also help reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. But most importantly it’s helped us get out and safely interact with humans more, and have fun! Definitely a welcome change from the days merging into one.
3. 7Cups – Free listeners and Licensed therapists
We know reaching out helps us feel less alone and helps us fight back again anxiety, depression and many other mental health disorders, but sometimes talking to someone we know can feel like an impossible mountain to climb. 7 Cups offers a free a confidential range of listeners and trained therapists who want to listen and help.
There are over 160,000 trained volunteer listeners and licensed therapists ready any time of day for you to talk any way you need. From venting about your day or simply hear a human voice, to full counselling services. It also gives the option to connect with multiple users and to participate in guided discussions in group support chat rooms.
4. MindShift CBT – Anxiety
Canadian based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) practitioners have created MindShift and app to guide you through both quick relief and longer-acting tools to help you reduce your worries, perfectionism, social anxiety, phobia,s and panics.
The app offers a wide range of tools and techniques to choose from. Including Coping Cards, Check-Ins, tools for creating healthy habits, Goal Setting, exercises to challenge unwanted beliefs, and super quick and easy tools to use when you need instant relief from anxiety that is threatening to bubble up and overwhelm you.
5. I am – daily affirmations/ self-care
Negative thoughts circling your mind on most days? Struggling to see positivity in your day-to-day? I Am, will help you remember the positivity by sending you daily affirmations. Positive affirmations not only do they help make major shifts in your mindset they also serve as prompts and daily reminders on what you are truly capable of, so whether you need a boost in your mood or a daily helping hand to achieve your goals this app is a fantastic way to provide you with prompts throughout your day.
You can set the time, type and frequency of the prompts so you can find what works best for you and at the very least these bring a smile to your face
Ok, we admit it there are some great paid apps out there too.
We didn’t want to include paid only options but below are some of the most popular apps that offer both free and paid options that HAD to be included in this list.
6. Headspace- Meditation and sleep
Free and paid services
Possibly one of the most well-known wellness apps, Headspace is predominantly a meditation and mindfulness app. If you’ve never tried meditation before this can be a great introductory app and guided meditations start from just 2 minutes long and can be scheduled into your diary with reminders to suit you.
During the pandemic Headspace is adding a new free meditation track called "Weathering the storm". Including topics focusing on navigating change, reframing anxiety, and advice for difficult times this is again worth checking out for the free content. If you are currently unemployed Headspace is offering 1years free access to the Headspace Plus app too.
For the employed ,you can take advantage of the free content with a little patience to navigate to find it, or try a 2-week free trial (remember to cancel after that) before paying wither £49.99 a year or £9.99 a month.
7. MyPossibleSelf – Anxiety and Mental Health
Free and paid services
Backed by the NHS, created in partnership with the Black Dog Institute – a leading non-profit research institute on mental health - this app provides 8-week courses to reduce stress and anxiety and boost your mood.
Although split between a free and paid service, we feel that the free offering is substantial enough to warrant being on this list.
The app includes:
Daily mood tracking - Free
Building Happiness and Wellbeing - Free
Managing fear and anxiety – paid
Managing Stress and Overload - paid
Paid services are accessible with a subscription of £5.99 a month or a one-off value pack of £59.99 per year, but before you pad a penny, we’d recommend really checking out the free offering and seeing how much you use this. If it’s a regular go to and you want more then it’s a great app to invest in.
And last but not least here are our two favorite apps that sadly are network exclusives but were so good we didn’t want to leave them out! We are hoping they become universally available soon.
8. Cove – Music for your mood
Create music to capture your mood and express how you feel with the Cove app. Instead of words, create music to reflect emotions like joy, sadness, calm, and anger. You can store your music in a personal journal, or send them to someone and let the music do the talking.
9. Fabulous: Daily Planner a Self-Care Habit Tracker
It's Googles app of the year and we can see why! This app is the one-stop-shop to plan in and track self-care, create new habits, and prompts to help you achieve your goals. It's a planner, a journal, yoga app, meditation app and so much more.
If you are an android user this is one app we'd highly recommend as it combines so much into one space for £33.49 a year it does an awful lot and there is a 7-day free trial (don't forget to cancel at the end of this if you don't want to pay.