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Top 5 Free Apps to Help You Practice Self-Care

We get it. Self-care is hard! Especially during a time with so much political upheaval, financial stressors, and collective grief. It can be really hard to convince yourself to take a step back and take care of yourself. We are bombarded with messages of guilt and shame, which makes it that much harder to do something for yourself. It can feel selfish, and silly to celebrate yourself and to find joy in small things when there is so much happening in the world that make you feel disheartened and helpless. But that is all the more reason to do it!


Whenever I am struggling to take care of myself or celebrate myself, I remember the words of feminist scholar Audre Lorde:

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.

The society we live in has a vested interest in keeping you from taking care of yourself, from feeling like you are worthy, and will do everything in its power to keep you down. When you take a moment for yourself, remember that this is not a silly, frivolous action, but a rebellious one.


That being said, its hard to find the time and the means to practice self-care. So I want to share with you a few apps that have helped me carve out small moments to practice self-care.


(Psst...these are all neurodivergent approved!)


  1. Finch: Self Care Pet (Free to download for iOS & Android) As an autistic person, I struggle a lot with executive dysfunction, and this can make it hard for me to accomplish tasks like brushing my teeth or washing my face. With Finch, you make a list of goals, and every time you accomplish a goal, your pet Finch gets more energy. Once their energy has reached the maximum your pet goes on a little adventure. I find that this app really encourages me to accomplish my goals for the day because I want to take care of my little virtual pet, and this helps to override the executive dysfunction. I also really hate that almost every single app is constantly bombarding you with ads every time you open it, but Finch does not have ads even in the Free version which is what I have.

  2. How We Feel (Free to download for iOS & Android) I really struggle with understanding my emotional state in the moment and naming how I feel. This app has been really helpful because it breaks things down really simply. First you pick whether you are feeling unpleasant with high energy, pleasant with high energy, unpleasant with low energy, or pleasant with low energy. Based on the category you pick it provides you with a list of emotions, and when you click on that emotion it gives you a simple definition. Then you can add some tags like what you were doing, who you were with, where you were, etc., and then you can write a little blurb about why you might feel this way. You can also track how many hours you've slept, if you've exercised, and what the weather is like. Then it will give you suggestions like articles to read, activities to help with your emotional state, or learning more about this emotion. You can pick the amount of times you are prompted to check in and if you want to check in at specific times or random times. It is completely free and there are absolutely NO ads.

  3. Moody (Free to download for iOS & Android) As a person who menstruates, I'm sure all my fellow menstruators can agree that it is absolutely exhausting trying to deal with your cycle! Not only are you bleeding once a month, but your hormones constantly fluctuate throughout the month and every time you feel like you've recovered from your last cycle, the process starts all over again! My therapist recommended Moody to me and I love it! It tracks your cycle but also predicts which phase of your cycle you are in each day and how you are likely to feel as a result. There are three categories: mind, body, and world, as well as a journaling section. You can track anything under the sun and its super customizable! I added a slide scale to track my executive dysfunction, a yes/no toggle to track if I had therapy that day, and a yes/no toggle to track if I feel dysregulated. There is a free version, and a premium version, and even in the free version there are so many things to access like articles about understanding your cycle.

  4. Daylio (Free to download for iOS & Android) This kind of a formatted journaling app. You track your emotional state (rad, good, meh, bad, or awful), things that you have been up to like socializing, hobbies, sleep quality, chores, etc. There are a lot of customization options, and it helps you track any themes like how your sleep influences whether or not you socialize. I started using it when I was first diagnosed with ADHD to track when I was most productive and had the most energy. It helped me figure out that my 'magic hours' are between 10am and 2pm, and so I try to structure my day around these magic hours. For example, things that require more energy, I only work on during my magic hours. It does have ads, but the ads are for the premium version of Daylio.

  5. A Kinder World (Free to download for iOS & Android) This is a cute gardening game. You are growing plants and using tools commonly recommended by therapists to help your plants grow faster. I like this app because it teaches you about the plant (and even though I absolutely love plants, I am terrible at keeping them alive) and there are opportunities for connection with the app community. For example, you can send letters to brighten someone's day. You pick a theme like funny or inspiration and write a small note. There are no ads which I really appreciate.

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