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My Favorite Apps for Physical and Mental Health

I am always on the search for more apps to help me along my journey. I truly believe the more tools you have in your toolbox, the better. In 2017 when I first started my journey, I had no idea how to go about taking care of my fitness, nutrition, and mental health. The idea of working on all 3 was completely daunting to me. I felt lost and frustrated that no matter what I did, I didn't see any results.

There of course is no substitute for a program designed by a personal trainer and meal plan designed by a nutritionist, however, I found several apps extremely helpful along my journey. Because of that, I compiled all of my favorite health apps into one list for you. Take a look and see what will suit your needs best!

The first app on my list is Charity Miles. If you are struggling to find motivation to take the dog for a walk, or do your treadmill cardio, this app is amazing. You select if you are going for an indoor walk/run or an outdoor walk/run and then choose the charity you want your miles to count toward. The app will donate $0.05 for every mile you complete. This is fantastic because you can give back while still working on your health. For me, this is huge. I find it much easier to do something for others than for myself.

You can also select it to sync to your phone's step monitoring and it will add your steps for the day to your mile count. The charily list includes everything from the ASPCA to The Wounded Warrior Foundation to Habitat for Humanity.

Sleep Cycle is a great tool to help you better understand how to get a good night's sleep. This is crucial for a few reasons:

1) Your body needs good sleep to make physical changes, such as grow muscle or burn fat

2) If you struggle with mental health as I do, you know how endless sleepless nights can bring your life to a crashing halt, but with this app, you can get a better insight as to what time you need to go to bed and wake up to maximize your REM cycle

You will need your phone to be close to you and plugged into a power source, as it will be monitoring you throughout the night. I've found that it will have inconsistent readings if you have pets or other humans next to the phone, as it monitors for sound to analyze if you are in REM or Deep REM. It also has a great feature where it can gradually wake you up. This has been instrumental for me, because nothing starts the day off wrong to a blaring "WAAAAMP WAAAAAMP WAAAAMP"

When used consistently, you can really gain insight as to when your ideal bedtime and wake up time should be. Personally, I found my bedtime should be between 9-10pm and wake up around 6-6:30am.

Simple Habit is a free with paid options app. It has a variety of guided meditations on in, and in my personal opinion, 1000% worth the purchase to get access to everything. The meditations are specific for all sorts of different scenarios. There's mediations to do while in bed and don't want to get up, there's one for enjoying your morning cup of coffee. There are also mediations for anxiety relief, growing self confidence, dealing with depression, fixing broken relationships, and more.

I cannot express enough how much this app has helped me with my mental health. I will always recommend mediation as a form of self regulation and understanding for anyone who struggles with mental health, but this app gave me something easy and concrete to do every day (5-10 minutes).

Now I will preface this with My Fitness Pal had a security breech a few years ago, so if that is still a concern, I know there are other apps out there that do the same thing, but this is the one I use. I honestly put this on here hesitantly, because I know it can be a dangerous tool, if used in the wrong way. (I used to use it in the wrong way.) I do NOT and would NOT use this app for calorie counting. Strictly calorie counting can be a very slippery slope, as you aren't monitoring for a balanced diet and probably falling into "forbidden fruit" foods that you then binge on. Instead, I use this app to track my macros. This app helps me to understand what amount of protein, carb, and fat is in my foods and has been so helpful in navigating a high protein, vegan lifestyle.

Again, unless you are training for a bikini competition, I wouldn't get too worried about what the numbers say. Use it as a tool and a guid, not as a bible. What I mean is, if you don't hit the protein amount you wanted to, don't beat yourself up, look at what you ate that day as a learning opportunity. Same with any other macro that you may go over or under your goal on, don't worry, take it as a learning opportunity and adjust tomorrow. I say all this because I myself and friends I know have become obsessive over this app and had it trigger our EDs. Make sure you are taking care of yourself and just like any other tool, that's all this is, a tool.

The app Motivation was just recently suggested to me by my buddy and fellow fitness enthusiast Leo. This amazing guy is almost 100lbs down and when I asked him what helped him stick to his goals, this is one of the things he said. The app does cost $20 a year, but it comes with a free 3 day trial. The coolest part about it is you set how many times you want a quote reminder on your phone and from what time to what time, then you select what kind of motivation you need (i.e. productivity, physical health, self-confidence, happiness, ect.).

I haven't had the app for long, but I am so excited to see how this helps along with daily affirmations. It may even inspire some of my new affirmations! My goal is to say outloud whatever quote I am given 5 times before I put it away and see if it helps my motivation and mental health. Just now as I was typing this my Motivation notification went off and it said,

"I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday." SO FREAKING TRUE.

So keep at it! Remember that everything takes time, there is no quick fix. However, if you fill yourself up with positive energy and helpful tools, there is nothing that can stop you!

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