college, free stuff, resources

15 Health and Wellness Apps for Students

September 14, 2015

orphan survival guide - social media - health and wellness apps for students

My home internet is pretty spotty at times, which means that WordPress will eat my posts while I’m writing them if I don’t save constantly. So let this be a lesson to save every few minutes or whenever you take a break!

Earlier in the year I started collecting reference link and app masterposts for students in the hopes of making a big masterpost of apps and resources for everything from studying to writing papers to taking naps–but that got too unwieldy and I decided to break everything up for the sake of readability.

I had this series in a different order before, but since I’m getting over the flu this weekend I’m starting things off with health apps!

Fitness

Let’s be real: one of the first things to get pushed to the back burner during a hectic semester is working out. “I walked to class, so I don’t need to work out today!” or “I turned a lot of pages doing my reading tonight, that’s totally a workout!” are excuses that most, if not all, of us have used when skipping workouts.

The problem with that is that your metabolism starts to go out when you’re in college. I’m not just talking Freshman 15–by your senior year, your body is slipping closer to middle-age and you start to lose that super-fast-awesome metabolism you had as a teenager. And the habits you develop in college regarding food and exercise are what will stick with you the rest of your life. So why not commit to good ones?

myFitness Pal iOS | Android | Web

I like MyFitness Pal to track what I eat, and that serves two purposes for me: making sure I hold myself accountable for the foods I eat and don’t just snack all day, and also to track what foods make me feel crummy because I am bad at avoiding lactose. It’s meant to be a calorie tracker to help you lose weight, and it has a social component so that you can compete/connect with friends.

Sworkit iOS | Android | Web

Sworkit is a great app if you want to work out but don’t have a lot of time–you can work out for as little as 5 minutes. The lite version is pretty limited, but still useful, and their website has recommendations for different custom workouts.

WOD Deck of Cards iOS | Android | Web

WOD is an exercise app intended for Crossfitters, but I like the concept of a randomized workout routine. It’s like the popsicle stick method, but on your phone!

Fitocracy iOS | Android | Web

Fitocracy is a workout tracker that incentivizes exercise by turning it into a game. The more you work, the more you level up–in real life and in the app.

FitBit iOS | Android | Web

It seems like everyone I know is getting a Fitbit. I haven’t used it, but with so many people willing to drop $100+ on a bracelet, it must really work. It tracks all kinds of stuff–heart rate, steps, sleep.

Sleep Management

I’ve struggled with insomnia my entire life and I’m a big fan of naps. When you’re cramming for a test or writing a paper at the last minute, it’s easy to convince yourself to pull an all-nighter. But don’t.

Don’t pull all-nighters. Ever. You will retain more information with 4 hours’ of sleep and studying for 15 minutes than studying all night with no sleep. Use these apps to help you get into a better sleep schedule or to help you sleep more efficiently if you just want to take power naps all the time.

Twilight Android

Twilight is an Android-only app that dims your screen lower than the default darkest setting on the device, and also tinges it red to make the glare less harsh on your eyes at night. I use this app every day because I’m bad about reading on my phone in bed at night, and I cannot recommend Twilight enough.

Sleep Cycle iOS | Android | Web

Sleep Cycle is perfect for everyone who sleeps with their phone–and let’s be honest, that’s most of us. I tend to keep mine on the bedside table, but if you put it on the bed with you, it tracks your movement as indicators of your sleep cycles so that you can get the best night’s sleep.

Alarmy (Sleep if U Can) iOS | Android | Web

Alarmy is the most annoying alarm clock. It’s incredibly loud and forces you to perform a task in order to hit the snooze–at which point, you may as well stay awake.

Sleepyti.me Android | Web

These two links are for different apps, but they have the same goal: telling you what time you should go to bed based on when you plan to wake up, so that you wake feeling rested and not interrupted.

Sleep Sounds

I like quiet, but I hate silence. I can’t sleep without some kind of sound in the room–usually a fan or the air/heat is enough, but I nod off a lot faster with some combination of ambient noise and music.

Relax Melodies iOS | AndroidWeb

There are so many ambient noise soundboard apps, but the set of three Relax Melodies apps are my favorite because they have a nicer selection of sounds and even some musical tracks that are rhythmic enough to drown out or zone out to.

Ambio iOS | Android | Web

Ambio–formerly Lightning Bug–is a nice sleep sound app that comes with some basic sounds and free/premium expansions. It was my go-to sleep sound app until I found Relax Melodies, because it allows you to create mixes and playlists and save them for later so you’re not selecting each sound from each package every time you want to use the app.

Mental Health

One in four college students will struggle with mental health at some point in their college career. From anxiety attacks during finals week to long depressive episodes in the spring, it can be hard to manage mental health and college, especially if you are genetically predisposed to mental illness. These apps can help you develop techniques to manage your emotions and reactions, or put you in touch with someone who can help.

SAM (Self-Help for Anxiety Management) iOS | Android | Web + Pacifica iOS | Android | Web

SAM and Pacifica are similar apps that allow you to track your mood and health activities and guide you through meditation or breathing exercises to alleviate anxiety.

PTSD Coach iOS | Android | Web

PTSD Coach is slightly similar to SAM and Pacifica in that it tracks and manages your mood through exercises, but it also has practical information about PTSD triggers and finding help in real life. The downsides to this app are that they’re incredibly old and don’t look like they’ll be updated in the near future, but the web version is more robust and less clunky, even though it’s obviously from the late 2000s.

Note: There are several good talk-to-a-counselor apps out there, however they’re all very expensive–either to download or to subscribe. Lots of crisis hotlines have chat components now if you have social anxiety and still want to “talk” to someone:

  • CrisisChat.org is the most well-known counselor chat line, which means it often has very long hold times. I have also seen reports that they track your IP to send police to your home if they suspect you are self-harming.
  • IMAlive is another chat with hold times, and I have read that it has better counselors than CrisisChat. It also supports a wider variety of issues than self-harm or suicidal ideation.
  • Lifeline has a crisis chat that is focused on self-harm and suicidal ideation, and comes with an international (outside the US) option as well.
  • Crisis Text Line allows you to text instead of call or chat, if that is an option that is more convenient/accessible from your device.

Period Tracking

Stress from strenuous classes or projects, and being around lots of other girls, will mess with your cycle. I used to be able to time mine every month, but now I need help remembering–and even then, the predictions made by apps aren’t perfect.

Lots of period trackers have flower icons and pink interfaces and the features are geared toward tracking your period for the purpose of conception, but the two I’m including are simple and focus on tracking your symptoms.

Clue iOS | Android | Web

Clue is an incredibly popular period tracker that has a modern, uncluttered interface with lots of features and an inconspicuous icon.

MyCycles iOS | Android | Web

I started using Period Tracker but eventually switched over to MyCycles a couple of years ago because it synced with my iPad and Note so I could get double the notifications. At this point, it has so much saved data for me that I can’t bring myself to abandon it for Clue even though Clue seems like a better app overall. (For some reason the MyCycles website is flowery and pink, but I promise the app is not.)


ESSENTIAL APPS FOR STUDENTS SERIES:

  1. 15 Health and Wellness Apps for Students
  2. 25 Organization and Productivity Apps for Students
  3. 30 Studying and Education Apps for Students
  4. 15 Reading Apps for Students
  5. 35 Academic Resources for Students

 

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