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8 essential apps for self-care

Quizlet HQ ·

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Quizlet is proud to partner with real students and recent graduates to showcase authentic voices on our blog. This guest post is by Nicolette Kier, who just graduated from the University of Pittsburgh.

We've all been there before: You put your head down to study, and when you pick it back up, hours have gone by. Your mouth is dry, your stomach complains, and you're just worn out.

It doesn't seem so bad to do this for a day. But do it for a week—midterms, anyone?—a month, or a whole semester? Your body and your mind will suffer.

And there, in the distance, I can see the thing that will save my neck, preventing it from being permanently stuck at an awkward angle.

That's right, it's self-care.

It's important to know that self-care isn't just doing yoga twice a semester (although I commend your efforts). It isn't binge-watching The Good Place (but again, I'm here for it).

You have to practice self-care every day to make a real, lasting impact on your quality of life. And what do we have with us every day? Our phones!

With this in mind, here are eight essential forms of self-care, complete with apps to help you achieve the hydrated, sleeps-like-a-baby life you've been dreaming of. (Well, if you pulled an all-nighter for that calculus exam, you probably haven’t been dreaming much at all.) Use them to take care of yourself during the COVID-19 era and beyond.

An important note: There are no exercise/training/diet apps in this list. Each individual’s physical and mental health is different, and these kinds of tools may not be helpful or even applicable for everyone. Keep your physical and mental health in mind before installing any apps of this nature.

1. Stand Up PH: Self-care for your back, legs and mind.

stand-up-reminder-app.png(Image courtesy of Google Play.)

When you're sitting in your virtual classes, you're sitting. Then you're doing homework, probably in the same position.

But spending hours sitting isn't great for the body. Moving around gets the blood flowing and gets the brain flowing, too. Sitting can have many adverse physical consequences for your health. There are mental and emotional consequences, too. Sitting too long has been linked to heightened levels of anxiety and depression, as well as a decrease in memory.

Enter Stand Up PH, the app that reminds you to stand up. Set your timers, and choose the type of notification you'd like to remind you to move. You can set custom routines for different days of the week. To college kids with wildly different class schedules every day: Stand Up PH sees you.

Use it to stand and stretch. Watch tutorials on proper stretching for both sitting and standing. Just move. It's essential, especially when you're in the same spot most of the day.

Looking for an iOS option? Try Stand Up! The Work Break Timer.

2. Water Reminder: Become a part of the hydration nation.

water-reminder-self-care-app.png(Image courtesy of Google Play.)

Before reading one more word of this post, go drink some water.

You all hydrated? Great.

Dehydration causes fatigue and brain fog. Even mild dehydration can affect your mental mojo.

So take care of yourself by hydrating yourself. Get more of this essential beverage with this essential app: Water Reminder. There’s a cute mascot to help you set reminders and everything.

3. Eye Reminder: Self-care for your eyes.

eye-reminder-essential-self-care-app.png(Image courtesy of Google Play.)

I just went for my annual eye exam (where they told me that my eyes are worse, which was incredible because they were so bad to begin with). I was also told that my eyes are dry.

Sometimes they’re itchy. And a lot of the time, they just feel worn out.

This happens because I’m staring at a screen all day. I’m willing to bet that you, remote learners, are probably living the screen life as well.

It’s not great. Staring at screens all day messes with our vision, can cause headaches, and almost always throws off our circadian rhythms. Our eyes work hard to scan pages for an extended period, especially given the closeness of lines, glare, blue light, you get the picture. Spending too much time immersed in your screen exacerbates these issues.

This is why Eye Reminder exists. You can set yourself reminders to give your eyes a break. As a general rule of thumb, every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds. Use this timer to remind yourself to do it. For iOS, try Eye Protector, which also reminds you to rest your eyes.

Click here for more best practices to save your eyes from screen syndrome.

4. Delightful: Remember three good things in your life.

gratitude-app-for-self-care.png(Image courtesy of Google Play.)

Practicing gratitude is more than saying “thank you.” It’s about recognizing positive things in your life that you are grateful for. Practicing gratitude helps you to:

  • Block out toxic emotions that may have built up throughout the day
  • Celebrate the present
  • Develop a greater sense of self-worth
  • Foster a sense of optimism about the future
  • Improve mental health in general (especially anxiety and depression)

Writing daily lists of what you are grateful for builds interest in your positivity bank. A positive attitude compounds, and soon you’ll start feeling more positive in general, without even trying.

Delightful is a simple, no-frills app that helps you easily find three good things that happened in your day. The app also has writing prompts for journaling and self-expression, for people who have trouble staring down the blank page.

Think you’ll forget about using this app? The developers figured that might happen, so they added a notification setting.

5. InnerHour Self-Care Therapy: Check in with your emotions.

self-care-therapy-app.png(Image courtesy of Google Play.)

You need to practice self-care every day. Enhanced self-awareness helps you recognize when you might need a little extra self-care.

With InnerHour Self-Care, you can track your mood as well as the events that may have triggered that mood or emotional reaction. You can analyze this to minimize stress and unhelpful interactions. It’s like a facial for your mind.

With InnerHour, you can also set up self-care goals, and let this friendly owl guide you to them. (The app also presents you with professional, science-based evidence for learning how to cope with difficult emotions. Owls are wise, but science is probably more wise.)

6. Let’s Meditate: Cultivate a little peace in your nighttime routine.

meditation-for-calm-and-sleep.png(Image courtesy of Google Play.)

A wind-down routine before bed signals to your brain that it’s time to sleep. Adding a meditation practice to that routine can help, removing negative thoughts and encouraging stillness at the end of the day.

One of the difficulties of meditation and sleep sound apps (Let’s Meditate has both functionalities) is that you usually have to physically close the app, which makes you look at your phone. And your phone might become a trap that keeps you up until three in the morning (no, I’m not projecting).

But Let’s Meditate solves this problem by allowing you to download guided meditations and sleep sounds and play them offline, so they stop when they’re done. You don’t have to pick up your phone, so you can drift away into slumber.

You can also track your sleep patterns. Those insights help you figure out what’s working in your wind-down and wake-up routines.

7. Selfpause: Out with the negative self-talk, and in with the positive.

positive-affirmation-self-care-app.png(Image courtesy of Google Play.)

Positive affirmations, much like gratitude lists, are self-care in the form of generating positivity and confidence in your life.

Your thoughts guide your actions, which shape your life. Start to cultivate positive thoughts with Selfpause.

Read or listen to self-affirmations throughout the day. You can even record yourself saying them, and listen to your past self reassuring your present self.

8. Terrarium - Garden Idle: Zen out and grow plants, virtually. (I can’t keep plants alive in real life.)

zen-garden-to-relieve-stress.png(Image courtesy of Google Play.)

At some point, though, self-care is just about letting your mind check out for a little while. Forming all these good habits is work. It’s good work, but it does require some level of thought and action.

Terrarium is an adorable way to check out for a little while. I like it because I can’t grow plants in real life, so this will have to do.

It’s a calm game, one that’s not very goal-oriented, so you won’t get sucked into it.

Self-care is worth it.

Self-care requires time from your busy day, but it’s worth it. Working all day long, without any mental or physical breaks, is taxing. It’s taxing to the point of burnout. Productivity comes from working smarter, not harder.

Refresh your mind every day, especially in these uncertain times.

Nicolette Kier just made it to the other side of a degree in physics and writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She reaped the usual rewards of college: knowledge, a job, and debt. She thinks it was worth it.


  1. amazingashlyn12

    that is so cool

  2. camacho-hensley

    Great Article

  3. camacho-hensley

    really awsome

  4. Lillian1234291


  5. Anabel_Velasquez83

    This is great information
    Thank you

  6. smartgirl335

    This is cool! Thank you so much for this

  7. juli2258

    this will totally help me with all in covid 19 :)

  8. Burnell-Wojtech_Cleo

    thx for this

  9. justinolsen2017

    I am definitely getting the first 3 apps

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