Suck At Meditating? 4 Of The Best Self-Care Apps

Bonus: They’re all made by Canadian developers!

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Illustration of a woman sitting cross-legged on the floor on a light pink background with blue foliage

Learning how to truly turn off your brain and and achieve inner calm through meditation might be great for reducing your stress levels, but it is hard. Not to mention, who has the time? Well, technology (of course) has figured out ways to help you boost your mindfulness, chip away at anxiety and achieve a little zen. That’s right—true relaxation is as easy as a few taps on your phone.

Meditation doesn’t have to mean sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed and trying (and, for most of us, failing) to clear your mind and go into some kind of altered state. Simply engaging in a calming activity that takes your focus away from other stresses and stimuli can have a similar effect. So, in the never-ending journey toward self-care we’ve gathered a list of the best self-care apps out there—because maintaining your mental health is non-negotiable.

1. #SelfCare

illustration of a flowing heart on a light pink background

Availability: App store, Play store

Cost: Free

Creator: TruLuv (Toronto)

Launched last year, #SelfCare is a playful approach to relaxation and mindfulness. Inside a customizable virtual bedroom, users perform simple tasks that generate feelings of satisfaction and calm. Doing things like playing word games, watering a plant and waking a snoozing cat not only brighten your character’s dim bedroom, they help reduce your own stress and anxiety. #SelfCare was named one of Apple’s Best of 2018 in its Trends of the Year category, and developers are continuing to improve it.

2. EyeLoveBirds

Availability: App store

Cost: Free

Creator: Erynn Tomlinson (Vancouver)

EyeLoveBirds is a way to take up a hobby that you always thought was boring but is actually so relaxing. You’ll forget about your worries for a little while as you focus on identifying various species of birds via sounds and maps on the app—and you can track your sightings with checklists from the United States, Canada and Europe. Geek out over your newfound love of birds and let your connection to nature help you relax.

3. Ritual of the Moon

Availability: App store, Play store

Cost: $13.99

Creator: Kara Stone (Toronto)

Ritual of the Moon is a daily meditational activity set in space and takes place over 28 real-time days (the length of a lunar cycle). For five minutes each day, the user plays a memory game, draws symbols, receives a mantra and makes a decision about the future of the earth. The game is designed to be an introspective exercise, prompting self-reflection and emotional awareness. Fun fact: The founder’s inspiration came from a personal habit of tracking her moods as a way to check on her well-being.

4. Mindbliss

Availability: App store, Play store

Cost: In-app purchases

Creator: Mindbliss Inc. (Ottawa)

Mindbliss is a little smarter than your average meditation app: It uses “machine learning” to curate your experience, with an algorithm that offers up sessions to suit your needs and preferences based on your app activity and feedback. Start by selecting your goals—from boosting your self-esteem, happiness or focus to improving your sleep—and then choose from hundreds of guided meditations led by world-renowned teachers. There’s some free content, or you can pay a subscription for access to a large catalogue of sessions.