Do you feel like you’ve failed your New Year’s Resolutions already? Don’t fret. You’ll be able to reach your goals with patience, moderation, and the wonder of smartphone technology.
The most common New Year’s Resolutions are perennials – Lose weight! Be less stressed! Work out more! Save money! They’re also easy to forget or ignore once the month wears on and February starts poking its head around the corner. Fortunately, there are also apps that can help you keep your resolutions on track.
Because saving money is always nice, even if reducing debt for 2020 isn’t on your list of things to do, these are all the best free apps we could find to keep your resolutions on the straight and narrow (or get them back on track).
Resolution: Get a Handle on Spending
» Get this app: MINT
If you find yourself wondering at the end of the month what you actually spent money on, you might be interested in the Mint app. Mint helps you track and categorize your expenses – so, for example, you might discover that you’re spending too much on clothing and not enough on diet and wellness. Mint will also send you a notice if you “overspend” in a particular category. Mint has its own spending categories,and you can create your own as well. (Mint is owned by Intuit, the company that puts out TurboTax.)
Resolution: Sleep better
» Get this app: SLEEPCYCLE
SleepCycle tracks your sleep patterns, allowing you to see how restful your sleep is by detecting your movements and your progress through 1 (the shallowest stage of sleep) to 5 (REM sleep, or the dream stage). If you want, you can also use SleepCycle to wake you up during stage 1 sleep, the “shallowest” stage and the best stage for awakening. The average adult needs at least 7 hours of sleep a night—a lack of sleep can cause serious problems that include depressed mood and immune system, chronic medical conditions, and disrupted metabolism. If you’ve made a resolution to get better sleep, you’re in good (if sleepy) company. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least a third of adult Americans routinely get six or fewer hours of sleep a night. Think you’re already a sleep expert? Take the Sleep Quiz and find out!
Resolution: Reduce Stress
» Get this app: ZEEL
Massage has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety—a study published in Depression and Anxiety found a whopping 50% reduction in stress after 12 weeks of consistent massage. The New York Times reported on the stress relief massage brings, finding that after massage, test subjects also saw a significant drop in cortisol, the hormone associated with stress.
The Zeel app allows you to get a massage at a time that works for you, delivered to your home by a licensed massage therapist. No need for scheduling stress either, as Zeel can connect you with a licensed massage therapist for on-demand, at-home massage in as little as an hour. Wondering what type of massage to get? Swedish massage has been shown to increase oxytocin levels (aka the “calming” or “loving” hormone)—and oxytocin also counters cortisol. If you’ve also made a resolution for better sleep, consider a, well, sleep massage, designed for deep, restful snoozing.
To help you stay on track with your resolution to de-stress, consider Zeel’s monthly Member Plus program. With a membership, you’ll reap all the rewards of a monthly in-home massage—at a preferred rate up to 27% off standard booking rates—as well as a complimentary home spa gift and a bonus massage when you complete your sixth booking within six months.
Another way to get a handle on stress: starting a mindfulness routine. Like massage, mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress while also decreasing emotional volatility and improving focus. Get the science-backed lowdown on mindfulness from the Mayo Clinic here.
Resolution: Stop Smoking
» Get this app: SMOKE FREE
If you’re at all interested in wellness, you know that smoking is more or less the anti-wellness habit. It’s hard to find time to link to 60 years of research on why smoking is terrible for your health (and the health of others around you), but suffice it to say that smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. If stress is an issue in your life, smoking will exacerbate the issue. While smoking temporarily raises dopamine levels, it also interferes with the brain’s ability to create dopamine, leading to long term decrease in dopamine levels. Smoking also increases physical stress on the body – the Cleveland Clinic warns that smoking increases your heart rate and blood pressure.
The Smoke Free app helps smokers track their smoking triggers, as well as improvements in health and money saved. It also gives helpful tips on how to quash cravings for nicotine. (Mindfulness and exercise are two sure methods.)
No matter what your New Year resolutions for 2020 might be, we encourage you to take your time and avoid discouragement. You haven’t failed if you end up staying up all night while stressing out and wolfing down a triple-pepperoni pizza – tomorrow is always another day to download the right apps, get a massage, and get a good night’s sleep. Happy New Year!