6 Apps That Have Improved My Life During Lockdown
For most of us, our lives have altered drastically over the past year and the prospect of returning to normal any time soon still feels like a distant possibility. On top of an uncertain future, almost a quarter (24%) of the UK’s workforce now work exclusively from home and, during lockdown, we are only permitted to leave for food, exercise and essential journeys.
Spending so much time inside can certainly be a daunting prospect for people working from home, who spend most of their time in the same indoor space day-in-day-out, and cabin fever threatens to become a constant reality for many- but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been without its positives.
We all know that there are things we can do to be proactive and keep our minds and bodies occupied to take care of our overall well being. However, lockdown days can feel monotonous, making it difficult to stay motivated outside of work.
I find that using a few well-curated apps can have a big impact on my productivity when I’m not working. Each one comes under the umbrella of personal development (i.e. addictive and distracting apps like Candy Crush are a no-go), and what better way to spend your time in lockdown than learning a new skill or refining an existing one?
Without further ado, let’s take a look at my top picks of apps that have improved my life during lockdown.
Taking extra care of your physical health is especially important during lockdown, as our usual day-to-day movements become heavily restricted, and many of us can use the extra time we gain from not commuting to fit in a workout.
If you’re looking to improve your performance, getting the insights from your workouts is crucial, and Whoop does just that and more.
- A ‘granular’ understanding of your body (recommends daily exertion level)
- Access to daily analytics
- Recovery support (tracks your body’s unique physiological state to determine your personal readiness to perform)
- Sleep insights (tells you how much sleep to get)
They’ve also added a feature to detect the signs of Covid-19. If your respiratory rate changes or increases, then this is one of the early signs that may have contracted the virus. Overall, this app is ideal if you want to take your understanding of your workouts and activities to the next level.
Of course, taking care of our wellbeing isn’t as simple as staying physically fit, we also need to take care of our mental wellbeing.
Mental health is a topic that is increasingly making its way into the public consciousness, and since entering lockdown, looking after your mental health has taken on a whole new significance.
No doubt you’ve seen plenty of posts online about all the great things people have been doing for their mental wellbeing, but when it comes to your own, scrolling social media feeds for too long isn’t going to help.
Headspace guided meditation sessions have been great in keeping my head clear, focused, calm and refreshed during the long days, the results speak for themselves, and I would recommend it to everyone to try.
You can download it for free, and there’s a free ‘basics’ course. Due to COVID-19, the app has also released free daily sessions for all its users.
While it’s important that we can adapt and continue our usual routine as best as possible, why not throw something new into the mix? When our stress levels are more elevated than usual, it’s important to have no pressure hobbies.
Learning a new skill is hugely rewarding and useful if you choose carefully. 62% of us in the UK can’t speak a second language. While we may not be going on holiday this summer, we can spend it learning a language ready for our next one.
Duolingo is a free-to-use interactive language app, making learning a new language fun and competitive. You can also personalise your learning so you adapt it to what works best for you.
As well as being able to communicate better, learning a language improves multiple areas:
- Better decision making
- Career opportunities
With 36 languages to choose from, Duolingo is a great option to get started.
Now we’ve spoken about the importance of balancing a healthy body and healthy mind, but what about combining the two?
Research indicates that yoga helps to alleviate stress and depression while having the dual benefits of toning and improving the flexibility of your muscles. Doing this alongside more intensive heartbeat-raising activity will help keep us in tip-top shape during quarantine.
While we’re stuck indoors, it can be challenging to manage stress and mood, but with a little help from the fitness app, Downdog, doing so can be easy.
The app includes classes for:
- Yoga for beginners
- 7 minute
- Prenatal yoga
Not only is there a good selection, but you can also personalise the app to your own specifications, including time, level, focus, voice and music; what’s not to love? Downdog is also free during the Lockdown period.
It’s all well and good fitting workouts in at home, but nothing quite beats spending your allotted outdoor time sweating it out on a run or getting your fill of fresh air on a bike ride. Even if you don’t feel like going out, it’s really important that you make the effort at least a few times a week for health benefits that you simply can’t get indoors.
Whether you’re a keen runner or cyclist, or just starting to get more active during lockdown, having insight into your performance is crucial to improving and keeping you motivated each time.
With the running and cycling app, Strava, not only can you track and analyse every aspect of your activity, but you can also connect with friends, share your journeys and compete with a global community.
It’s also free to join, and you can access the premium features with a 30-day free trial- they include custom goals, safety features like friend and family access to your live location, and more.
Last but not least of the apps that have improved my life during lockdown is Yousician.
Many people are taking advantage of the time they’re spending at home to learn an instrument, and Yousician is ‘your personal music tutor for the digital age’, with step-by-step tutorials, games and competitions to keep you motivated.
The instruments include lessons for are:
Self-learning is no longer a problem with this app, and your future self may thank you for taking up an instrument, as research shows that it will keep your ageing brain in better shape, amongst a whole host of other benefits.
We’re living in uncertain times where so many of us are struggling, and so it’s crucial that we each take care of ourselves while we’re in lockdown. Personal development is a great route to go down because it’s all-encompassing- you just need to decide on something you want to do and work at it, and using apps as a support tool can make all the difference.
However, it’s also important to acknowledge that some people aren’t in positions to spend much time on personal development and are only just managing to juggle the various responsibilities in their life- for those people, I hope that some of these apps that have improved my life during lockdown can be used to help you gain moments of calm and clarity for yourself.
Overall, it has to be said that we’re all incredibly lucky to have access to some truly exceptional apps during this period. If we had experienced this lockdown more than a decade ago, it would be a very different, much less connected experience without the resources to help keep us engaged and proactive.
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