My Bag

Apps For On-The-Go Self-Care

By Toni Brannagan


Smartphones can get a bad rap, but theyโ€™re undeniably useful tools for a variety of things life throws at you. (How did we even operate before phone alarm clocks?)ย 

Finding time for self-care can be challenging, so why shouldnโ€™t you take advantage of that pocket-sized Instagram machine? Self-care is all about being honest about your unique needs. While weโ€™re on that topic, letโ€™s all acknowledge that sometimes, the self-care you need is muting your social channels, or putting your phone down altogether.ย 

But for those of us who canโ€™t imagine unplugging for a day (or an afternoon, or an hour), I rounded up a few apps designed to help you prioritize *you.* Check โ€˜em out!ย 

Plant Nannyย 

Does anyone on this planet actually drink as much water as they should? Iโ€™m gonna say no. Plant Nanny makes the Sisyphean task of hydrating *fun* by linking your suggested water intake to a virtual anthropomorphic plant that thrives at the same pace as you.

What is self-care if not prioritizing the well-being of a cartoon plant? Did I mention these plants are super-cute? They are.ย 

Pro-tip: Donโ€™t name your plant after a real person or pet or something that you actually like, because itโ€™s SO DEPRESSING if it dies. I may or may not be speaking from experience, the world will never know.

Adopt your new plant life partner from the App Store or Google Play.

Breathing Zoneย 

I canโ€™t be the only person who needs a reminder to just *breathe* sometimes (right? โ€ฆright??), but Breathing Zone takes that a step further with guided breathing exercises that range from five minutes up to an hour, depending on how much time you have to spare.ย 

Download Breathing Zone from the App Store or Google Play.

Aloe Bud

If youโ€™re one of those people who doesnโ€™t like cluttering their phone with multiple apps, this oneโ€™s for you! Aloe Bud is self-described as โ€œan all-in-one, self-care pocket companion. It gently brings awareness to self-care activities, using encouraging push notifications, rather than guilt or shame.โ€ย 

The app is customizable based on what reminders you need, whether thatโ€™s drinking water, resting, or even breathing. Special care was also taken to avoid triggering language, so for example, instead of telling you to eat, Aloe Bud nudges you to *fuel*. Besides reclaiming push notifications (FTW) from news outlets, it also has a ridiculously cute interface โ€” a factor I clearly prioritize.

You can find Aloe Bud at the App Store (and I will letย  you know when itโ€™s available for Android bc I AM WAITING).ย 


Meditation is definitely having a moment, so chances are youโ€™ve already heard of this guided meditation app, which has received rave reviews for a few years now.

You can try out the first 10 sessions for free, and subscribers get access to Headspaceโ€™s extensive library of meditation techniques and exercises. Some of their topics include meditation essentials, managing stress and anxiety, falling asleep and waking up, and personal growth.

Download Headspace at the App Store or Google Play.


No matter what, cute notifications about breathing exercises arenโ€™t substitutes for mental health treatment, but there *is* an app for that. (I donโ€™t even remember what commercial thatโ€™s referencing, help.)

If IRL therapy isnโ€™t available to you due to financial or time constraints, online therapy can be a pretty useful alternative โ€” Talkspace makes it easy to connect with an accredited therapist or counselor that suits your needs.

Find your new therapist at the App Store or Google Play.


Do you spend too much time on your phone? Itโ€™s 2018, and youโ€™re halfway through an article about apps, of course you do! The Forest app is designed to boost your productivity by forcing you to unplug.

If you manage not to check Twitter during the times you designate, you earn currency that can be used to plant treesโ€”wait for itโ€”both IRL and in your very own virtual forest. To date, the app has sponsored over 300,000 tree plantings!ย 

Start building your forest (and saving the Earth, you badass) on the App Store or Google Play.ย 

Think Dirtyย 

Even attempting to be a mindful consumer can be stressful โ€” but luckily, thereโ€™s an easier way to figure out exactly what is going on inside the products you buy.

The Think Dirty app allows you to scan your household and beauty products for toxic ingredients, and even suggests alternatives.ย Their website also features a list of pre-approved, *clean* brands.

Download Think Dirty at theย App Store orย Google Play.


Having the Shine App is like having a super motivational BFF ready to give you positive affirmations whenever you need them.ย 

Their daily motivational Shine Talks, based on research-backed advice, explore topics like productivity, mindfulness, burnout, staying motivated, and mindful commuting. They have both annual and monthly plans for access to their full library.

Shine was originally only available at the App Store, but now my fellow Droids can join the fun over at Google Play.

Are there any apps that you use on the reg when you need a liโ€™l break from it all? Share your faves in the comments!

Where did you hear about Thinx? *please check all that apply
Which social media platform? *please check all that apply