Getting Through January: Self-Care Apps to Help You Feel Happier in the Winter Months

December 27, 2016


Nothing feels as long as the months between the holidays and the sunshine of spring. Cloudy days, dark afternoons and bare trees call for making self-care a priority more than ever.  If a winter cruise is out of the question, here is a tool kit of free apps to help you get from January to April.  I struggle with January myself, so I can vouch for each of these applications, having used them myself.

Habitca makes creating new habits into a game.  Set up tasks and habits you want to accomplish and as you complete them in real life you will earn gold and be able to buy rewards for your game avatar.  You will be gaining real life experience in completing tasks and the game rewards your experience by making pets, skills and opportunities for quests available to your avatar.  There a social tie in so you can even compete with friends.

Headspace helps you cultivate the habit of mindfulness which is the ability to stay focused on the present moment instead of feeling anxious about the future or regretful about the past.  This app gives you solid information about how to begin using mindfulness to reduce anxiety and think more clearly.  You receive free tutorials and ten free sessions with guided mindfulness sessions.  Andy Puddacombe, the creator of Headspace, has a calm, soothing voice, and with his history as a Tibetan monk, he’s the real deal among meditation experts.

Research tells us that our thoughts influence our attitude and emotions. Notes to Self  is a colorful and inspirational gratitude journal that allows you to track gratitude, random acts of kindness and positive thoughts. Finally, MyFitnessPal is an application that helps you track healthy habits like exercise, eating habits and other health goals.  There is an accompanying online community and lots of tools to help you actually stick with your New Year’s resolutions.

I hope these apps help make your winter months full of vitality and joy. Please remember, the winter blues is one thing. If you are having ongoing symptoms such as trouble sleeping, find yourself not enjoying activities you usually enjoy, unexplained anger, hopelessness, spending too much time alone or not being able to get up in the morning among others, please seek help from a physician or talk therapist to explore the possibility of depression that may call for treatment beyond  self-help strategies.

Wanda Sevey, MDiv, LMFT
Staff Therapist
Director, Clergy Training, Postgraduate Program
Office Director, Voorhees, NJ Office

Wanda Sevey  is an individual, couple, and family therapist in Voorhees, NJ and Center City, Philadelphia offices. Read more about Wanda here. To make an appointment with Wanda, click here or call Client Care at 215-382-6680 Extension 1.