7 Mental Health Apps for Medical Travelers

Because we all need a little sanity-saving in 2020.

 

It’s no secret that your careers involve stress. We’d be pressed to find a career that doesn’t present an element of stress, but yours—yours is the kind of stress that’s persistent, likely unavoidable, and at times operates undercover. You might not even realize how stressed you are until you’re really in the sh...stuff. 

Then, you add the unexpected variables, such as COVID-19, and you get yourself a double dose of some crazy-stressful situations. 

Luckily, medical professionals tend to be pretty resilient humans, which has its pros and cons. Pro: you look at things logically and matter-of-fact to make informed decisions. Con: you have a tendency to view your personal mental health/well-being objectively and “push through,” which leads to burnout. Not only is that terrible for you, it can also be detrimental for your patients. Studies show that work-related stress and burnout have adverse effects for your patients too. 

You’ve got a lot to do everyday, lives depend on you (literally) and you can’t stop, won’t stop, we dig it. BUT...and it’s a big “but,”...in order for you to perform optimally for your patients, you need your sanity. 

Taking care of your mental health needs to be a habit, like brushing your teeth and “forgetting” to floss. It should be something that’s easy to do because until it becomes second nature, convenience is the key to creating a new habit. What’s easier and more convenient than an app? 

Apps keep you connected with virtual hangouts, replace gyms and in-person doctor visits—a must for on-the-move people, like you. From 12-hour shifts in the ER, to hiking the trails on your days off, apps you can take anywhere are important for a medical traveler’s busy, ever-changing lifestyle.

To help you achieve a mindful, yet convenient, approach to taking care of your mental health, we’ve compiled a list of Seven Sanity-Saving Mental Health Apps for Medical Travelers (based on ratings). 

Headspace

Apple App Rating: 5 ⭐ | 669K Ratings

GooglePlay Rating: 3.4 ⭐ | 132K Ratings

Selling Point: Used by many, loved by many and also free for the rest of the year!

What it does: Headspace has taken proven live meditation training techniques and transferred them to app-based training. They’ve reviewed a number of studies to ensure these online training methods work to achieve mindfulness while producing the same results as an in-person session with a professional. Its cognitive therapy and stress-reducing techniques have been proven effective in supporting people suffering from routine stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, cancer, and chronic pain.

Headspace takes their research very seriously, and research showed in just 10 days of using the app, it reduced stress by 14%. Not only that, but separate studies showed Headspace can make you kinder to others AND yourself. Separate studies conducted by Northeastern University found:

    • Reduced irritability by 27% (after 10 days)
    • Increased compassion by 23% (after three weeks)
    • Reduced aggression by 57% (after three weeks)
    • Improved focus by 14% and significantly decreased mind-wandering
    • Improved self-compassion in a study with health professionals

Cost: Headspace is offering its services for FREE through 2020!

Get started: Visit: https://www.headspace.com/health-covid-19 for details.

 

Simple Habit

Apple App Rating: 4.8 ⭐ | 66K Ratings

GooglePlay Rating: 4.7 ⭐ | 37K Ratings

Selling Point: Award-winning on both Apple and Google, and perfect for busy, on-the-go lifestyles with short sessions and offline availability (*with premium subscription).

What it does: Simple Habits wants you to stress less, achieve more and live better by helping to improve your mood and sleep habits through guided meditation. If you like podcasts, you’ll probably enjoy this app which appeared on the 2017 season of Shark Tank. It provides hundreds of audio sessions recorded by an array of people from mindful experts to former monks. 

Sessions range anywhere from 5 to 65 minutes, so it’s perfect for on-the-go lifestyles like yours! The sessions are divided into categories like anxiety, spiritual, parenting, and even stress related to the coronavirus. They also have a handful of meditations for children.

With the premium subscription, you can access everything offline, which may be worth it if you were to say, need some anxiety coaching on a plane or out hiking in Glacier Park.

Progress tracking and iPhone integration included. You can access the meditation library on the web and there’s even a library of meditative music soundtracks you can listen to while working that’s now in Beta. 

Cost: Free — Premium subscription $11.99/month | $7.49/month (one year contract) | $299 unlimited lifetime access.

Get Started: Check out their website for more info or download it in your app store.

 

Balance

Apple App Rating: 4.9 ⭐ | 18K Ratings

*Not available on Android yet.

Selling Point: This award-winning app learns more about you as you use it and customizes your routine based on your goals. Definitely great for those who have trouble falling asleep.

Winner of Apple App of the Year award 2019, Balance is an app for meditation and movement. It’s definitely more directed toward learning to practice meditation by making it a part of your everyday routine. Answering daily questions about your goals, meditation experiences and preferences, the app will become more personalized the more you use it.

Depending on your preference, this app offers a variety of meditation options.

  • Daily meditations are 10-day lessons that teach the fundamentals of meditation and are geared toward your specific goals and needs.
  • Single meditations are short bits of meditation you can play anywhere depending on your needs (example: Relax, Energize, Concentrate, etc).
  • Wind-Down activities are a “first-of-its-kind interactive that uses bilateral stimulation and controlled breathing to help you relax before bed and find more restful sleep.”

Cost: Offering a completely free one-year subscription to everyone through 2020.

Get Started: Email access@balanceapp.com for instructions—and please share with others who might benefit.

 

Happify

Apple App Rating: 4.5 ⭐ | 2K Ratings

GooglePlay Rating: 3.9 ⭐ | 2K Ratings

Selling Point: This app is actually fun, so you’re more likely to use it and engage.

What it does: Happify is all about fun and games, but science-based, of course. Using games built by positive psychology experts instead of a bunch of reading makes it more fun for cramped and overwhelmed brains.

The purpose of the activities is to break old, unhealthy habits, form new ones, balance mindfulness, measure cognitive behavioral patterns, and even rid decades of unresolved anxiety, stress, or depression. Your results are delivered on visual charts to track your progress and frequent users (86%) report feeling happier in as little as two months. 

Cost: Free — $14.95/month

Get Started: Visit the Happify website and take the quick “happiness assessment.”

 

Monument Valley

Apple App Rating: 4.6 ⭐ | 4K Ratings

GooglePlay Rating: 4.9 ⭐ | 225K Ratings

Selling Point: The perfect escapism app. It’s fun, challenging, visually stimulating and it doesn’t involve breathing exercises or meditation (we know we just sold some of you).

What it does: Okay, so Monument Valley is technically a game, but it’s a puzzle game, so it’s perfect for the person who has a bunch of energy after a shift and couldn’t possibly meditate because there are just too...many...thoughts!

In this app, you play “Ida,” a silent princess who has to navigate through “surreal, shifting landscapes” and “fantastical architecture” and optical illusions, all while avoiding danger. It’s easy to understand, but it does require some thought and brain-power. Users have found it very soothing and therapeutic. The visuals are pretty cool, take a look. 

Cost: $3.99 with in-app offers and additional purchasing options. 

Get Started: Check out their website for more info or download it in your app store.

 

Breathe2Relax

Apple App Rating: 4.4 ⭐ | 192 Ratings

GooglePlay Rating: 3.4 ⭐ | 1K Ratings

Selling Point: Breathe2Relax was originally developed by the Department of Defense (DoD) and The National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2) so it must hold some merit, right?

What it does: An app that helps you breathe? Yes, absolutely. You know when you catch yourself holding your breaht? Oh, it's just us? 😅

Diaphragmatic breathing is an effective stress-management tool proven to lower one’s “fight-or-flight” response and manage stress, anger and anxiety. Inhale, exhale...ahhhh.

If you’re an iPhone user, the app will link to your iPhone Health app and your Apple Watch to measure your heart rate throughout the breathing exercises.

Cost: Free 

Get Started: Check out their website for more info or download it in your app store.

 

MoodMission

Apple App Rating: 4.0 ⭐ | 7 Ratings

GooglePlay Rating: 3.3 ⭐ | 182 Ratings

Selling Point: A randomized controlled trial (RCT), which is “the gold standard of scientific evidence,” has shown MoodMission can improve mental health and well-being. Very few mental health apps have RCT-backed evidence.

What it does: MoodMission is on a mission to enhance your mood by teaching you new coping skills. You take a survey, which helps with research and tailors your profile. Tell the app how you’re feeling and it will provide you with five quick and easy evidence-based “missions” scientifically proven to lift your spirits using cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).

For those who need to know the “how and why,” (it’s okay, it’s in your nature) this app provides scientific research with each mission so you actually learn why they work. The missions can be mental or physical, so if your mood responds better to physical activity, this app will learn that and provide you with similar suggestions in the future. The more you use it, the better it becomes.

Cost: Free — $4.99 for additional missions.

Get Started: Begin your journey to mindfulness with this free app on the MoodMission website!

 

Don’t neglect your mental health, especially during such a physically and emotionally trying year like 2020. We know change isn’t easy and (good) habits are hard to instill, but if the world can adjust to a “new normal,” pff...you’ve got this!

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