We could all do with a vacation every once in awhile (@winter break, I’ve got my eye on you). Unfortunately, my academic schedule is not flexible enough and my wallet is not big enough to accommodate all the vacations my mind, body, and soul need/want. So I’m going to make wherever I am right now, my happy place, and you can too!
Get in tune with yourself.
Super Better // Turn your to-do list into a fun game filled with power-ups, battles, and quests! It’s kind of like Habitica, where you have an avatar with which you gain gold and experience by completing positive habits, defeating and repeating daily tasks, and completing to-dos. While Habitica helps with productivity in general, Super Better specializes in resiliency and built-in self-care challenges that can be further customized. It offers challenges focused on anxiety, chronic pain, concussion, depression, eating healthier, losing weight, lowering stress, more energy, physical energy, sleeping better, will power, and working out.
Pacifica // Cultivate mindfulness by checking in on your mood throughout the day at your own pace. You can choose to get daily reminders randomly throughout the day, only after 7PM, or none at all. The long-term goal is to improve your mood, feel less stress or anxiety, feel less stress or anxiety in social situations, and/or to live a healthier lifestyle. Those are big goals, but you can choose from a plethora of daily challenges to help you get there. Activities include relaxation, meditation, goals, and thoughts. After each activity, the app checks in on your mood.
Stop, Breathe, & Think // Learn how to meditate for different situations and gauge your progress, keeping track of your stickers, check-in streak, weekly settledness/emotions, and total time meditating. Guided meditations include mindful breathing, body scan, engaging your senses, mindful walk, be present, gratitude, change, commonality of suffering, cause and effect, kindness, equanimity, compassion, joy, great compassion, and many more.
Set the ambiance.
Noisili // Transport yourself by mixing different sounds to create your perfect environment. Soundrown does something similar, though I prefer Noisili’s graphics. Layer different sounds on top of each other and adjust the volume levels of each. Sitting in the comfort of my dorm with blankets draped over my shoulders and a hot cup of tea in hand, there’s a fire crackling beside me, some leaves rustling overhead, and a low rumble of thunder in the distance. To add some more class to the evening, I have my private jazz band play on infinite loop.
Calm // Choose one of the 25 beautifully animated scenes, each paired with unique ambient background music and noise. You can also overlay it with a guided meditation. I like to climb into bed and play 15 minutes of this right before I go to sleep. Once the guided meditation is over, I leave the music playing until I drift off to sleep in my newly relaxed state.
White Noise Player // Who knew white noise comes in so many different colours? If you get distracted by music, this might be the app for you, to just simply tune out. Noisili and Soundrown also offer the option of white noise, but not to such a colourful extent. I find some of the sounds a little prickly, so play around with it and see what works best for you (my favourite is grey noise). Visit the website to learn about the benefits, how it helps you sleep, and how it masks sounds. You can also download the sounds as 10 minute MP3 tracks.
“My goal is to create a life I don’t need a vacation from.” -Rob Hill Sr.