Holidays are a happy time, but all the planning, shopping, and traveling can also take a toll on your peace of mind. According to the Mayo Clinic and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the period between Thanksgiving and the new year can be a stressor and a depressor. The American Psychological Association reports that 69 percent of Americans are stressed out about lack of time or money, and almost 25 percent experience "extreme stress" over the holidays. Defy the holiday strain with these 12 apps to help you chill out and de-stress.
Sometimes you need a getaway. If you're in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Montreal, or Ottawa for the holidays and need a break from pushy shoppers or family members, then Breather will be a breath of fresh air. Through it you can rent a private room or office for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Journaling is a great way to get your feelings out. Moodnotes, developed by clinical psychologists, is a streamlined app to pour them into. Capture your moods, add explainers, identify traps, and discover new ways of thinking.
If you're feeling brave enough to share your feelings, cute and colorful Moodtrack Diary makes journaling social. Here you can track your moods and the moods of others to discover that you're not alone in your feelings. Give and get support through anonymous chat. If you'd rather keep it private, a 99-cent upgrade will do the trick.
Yoga Studio (iOS)
In times of stress, yoga is a great way to center yourself. Yoga Studio provides a library of 65 HD yoga videos, ranging from 10 to 60 minutes and from beginner to intermediate. If you know your poses, stitch together your own workout videos. Background music and ambient sound options enhance your experience.
Daily Yoga for Beginners (Android)
Daily Yoga for Beginners provides 60 yoga videos benefiting your eyes, neck, heart, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hands, waist, hip, knees, and legs. It also offers detailed instructions and pose images to ensure that you're practicing yoga safely.
Laser Lights (iOS)
Put on some Enya, sit back, and enjoy the hypnotic, holographic visuals of Laser Lights. Or use the multitouch feature to create your own light show with a couple fingers.
Meditation Free Live Wallpaper (Android)
Recline and unwind to colorful, abstract, kaleidoscopic images. Just trying to decipher what you're seeing will divert you from worries and stresses.
What relaxes you -- the sound of a thunderstorm, sea waves, or wind chimes? Noizio, a white noise app for iOS and Mac, brings you these ambient sounds and a dozen others for a truly transportive experience. Use it to block annoying distractions or get a full night's sleep.
With White Noise, you'll enjoy 40-plus sounds, from an air conditioner to a camp fire to a cat purring. Mask outside noise so you can unwind or nap. The full-screen digital clock is attractive, and the advanced alarm and timer system slowly fades audio in and out so you awake more naturally.
As its name suggests, the Webby award-winning Stop, Breathe & Think app tasks you with pausing, closing your eyes, taking a deep breath, and thinking about how you feel. After you rate your mood and choose five feelings, you'll be prescribed meditations and meditative walks of various lengths to de-stress and increase your sense of mental and physical well-being. If you're new to the mind-body practice, you'll also get detailed instructions to help you on the road to mindfulness.
If the holiday hustle is making you anxious, then behavioral tactics, affirmations, or guided meditation may be in order. Calm Down Now, created by a psychotherapist, offers all this as well as two dozen relaxing sounds and the ability to combine them to create your own soothing soundscape.
It's difficult to discount the importance of a good night's sleep, especially during stressful times, when our sleep quality only diminishes. With the five stages of sleep in mind, Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock, an iTunes Essentials app, uses your phone's mike or accelerometer to monitor your movements and determine which sleep stage you are in. This ensures that you are woken up in your lightest sleep phase, which helps you wake refreshed. See how your sleep improves over time with helpful statistics and graphs.