Self-care apps that clear your workplace headspace

By Dave Jaffer
Self-care apps that clear your workplace headspace

The myriad pressures of the modern workplace have gotten us to a point where 20% of highly engaged employees are at risk of burnout. Creating a self-care routine that works is essential to managing workplace stress, avoiding burnout and aspiring to be a healthier version of yourself.

Self-care apps are increasingly how overtaxed workers experiment with and practice self-care. The rapid growth of these apps revenue-wise suggests that more and more people are using them, which itself suggests more and more people are feeling compelled to use them.

In short, the proliferation of apps in the space speaks to the need for them.


Healthy apps = healthy returns

Techcrunch reported that “the top 10 grossing self-care apps in the U.S. earned $15 million [USD] in combined iOS and Android revenue, and $27 million in worldwide revenue” in the first quarter of 2018. Compared to last year’s Q1, those numbers showed a 170% increase in worldwide revenue and a 167% jump in the U.S. Last spring, Business Insider reported that the app Calm (see below) was valued at around $250 million.


Here are 4 of the best self-care apps

Obviously, self-care apps cannot negotiate complex issues within the workplace. What they can do, however, is offer users convenient ways to prioritize and actively engage in their own health.

The following, in recognition of World Mental Health Day (October 10), is a list of some of the best apps to start out with.



Calm (iOS/Android) was Apple’s App of the Year in 2017 and it aims to change your life. No, seriously — the second screen you see opens with the text “Calm can change your life.” Generally speaking, Calm is a meditation and mindfulness app that also promotes healthy, restful sleep. Users select the areas they want to focus on — options include Reduce Stress, Reduce Anxiety, and Better Sleep — and then Calm creates a program to hit those goals. Guided meditations aim to improve certain areas (stress, anxiety, focus) while Sleep Stories (yes, bedtime stories) encourage better sleep hygiene. For more info, visit



Grateful (iOS) is a prompt-based journaling app that helps users focus on the good things they see, hear, feel and experience. The long-term goal is to encourage users to develop a habit of gratitude as feelings of gratitude are closely inked to better personal relationships and better overall health. Grateful’s design is simple and clean, and focuses on the UX, which is also simple and clean. Users schedule and answer prompts, all of which are easy to understand. Grateful can be found in the App Store.


Aloe Bud

Aloe Bud (iOS) bills itself as “an all-in-one, self-care pocket companion,” and may be the most versatile app on this list. Boasting beautiful eight-bit pixel design and a soothing colour scheme, Aloe Bud uses subtle notifications to gently encourage users to be good to themselves. Motivational reminders are less “I can beat the world” and more “I am capable of great things.” A hydration check-in, similarly, feels like a visit from a helpful friend. Also, it’s very agile — there’s no one way to use it. Fun fact: Aloe Bud was designed by former Hillary Clinton campaign staffer Amber Discko, who became burnt out after the 2016 presidential run. For more info, visit



Headspace (iOS/Android) is a meditation and mindfulness app co-created by a Buddhist monk, and it has a lot to recommend it. Its design and UX expertly toes the line between simple and whimsical, and its focus is on teaching you how and why to meditate rather than pushing wholesale life change. At first glance and use, its interface is slightly better and less cluttered than Calm’s, which helps. If its name and branding feel familiar, it’s likely because Headspace appears to be directed at workers in media and marketing, and SXSW, Spotify and Air Canada are but a few of their partners. For more info, visit



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