reading news on phone

Screen Time That Actually Helps: Apps To Keep Your Sanity And Productivity In Check

It’s probably safe to say that most people are going a little stir crazy these days. Stay-at-home orders and social distancing due to COVID-19 have Americans spending much more time at home. For some, this may lead to extra time spent scrolling through social media or a favorite news app.

While these can certainly keep you “in the loop,” there’s a fine line between being well-informed and over-informed. It may be tempting to watch every update regarding the spread of coronavirus, but that may actually leave you feeling overwhelmed and anxious.


The Impact of Excessive News Coverage During A National Crisis

After the September 11 attacks, research showed that watching repeated news coverage actually triggered post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in people who were nowhere near ground zero. 

Source: Next Avenue


Whether you have extra time on your hands or you’re feeling overwhelmed working from home along with homeschooling and other added responsibilities, news apps may be your go-to form of distraction. However, there are plenty of other smartphone apps that can help you pass the time while keeping your sanity in check during this particularly stressful time.

Here are some apps to help you relax, manage your time, or even just have a little fun. 

Meditation Apps

Meditation can reduce anxiety and depression, as well as improve concentration — and this is key during social distancing, working from home, and, of course, a national pandemic. 

  • Headspace: One of the most well-known meditation apps, Headspace offers hundreds of options ranging from full-blown meditations to mini-meditations to meditations for children.
    • Free starter pack with 10 days of 10-minute meditations, $12.99/month, or $69.99/year
  • Calm: Guided sessions range from 3 to 25 minutes and allow you to choose your focus, such as gratitude or mindfulness. 
    • Free, with in-app purchases 
  • Insight Timer: Choose meditation options based on time and style (body scan, anxiety-reducing), or even just put on the timer with no guidance. 
    • Free, with in-app purchases

Yoga Apps

Offering mental benefits like reduced stress, increased calmness, and sharpened concentration, yoga is a common approach to improving mental wellness. Plus, it provides physical benefits at the same time, such as increased flexibility, strength, and energy.

  • Glo: Over 4,000 yoga classes are available on demand with helpful filters like level, duration, or necessary props. Plus, this app includes meditation and Pilates classes as an added bonus. 
    • $18/month
  • Pocket Yoga: Ranging from 5 minutes to an hour, these classes are taught by an animated instructor and require zero internet access (after you download it). Plus, you get access to a pose dictionary that breaks down every pose so you know you’re doing it right. 
    • $3 (one-time purchase)
  • 5 Minute Yoga: Exactly what it sounds like, this is your go-to quick yoga fix, so you can do one 5-minute yoga session between virtual meetings or create your own yoga flow by going through as many sessions as you want. 
    • Free

Work-Related/Productivity Apps

As businesses are encouraging their employees to work from home whenever possible, many workers are experiencing a drastically different workflow than pre-COVID-19. Plus, plenty of parents are finding themselves with new responsibilities regarding homeschool or caring for children. 

Though working in your pajamas may be nice, this new normal can cause some challenges when it comes to time management and productivity. 

  • Todoist: By swapping your sticky notes for Todoist, you can clear up mental (and physical) space by putting tasks into this advanced to-do list tool. It allows you to prioritize items, assign tasks to others, and make fun charts of your productivity. 
    • Limited free option or $36/year
  • Stayfocusd: Available on a variety of devices, including iPhone, Android, Mac, and Windows, Stayfocusd blocks distracting websites for set times or once you’ve reached a certain limit (like 30 minutes of Twitter). 
    • Free
  • Trello: Perfect for teams that have recently transitioned to working from home, Trello is a project management team with boards, lists, and cards that allow you to organize, prioritize, and get work done on a highly-visual platform. 
    • Limited free option or starting at $9.99 per user/month

Checklist

CareContent’s Work From Home To-Do List

Not an app, but this is our Founder/CEO’s own creation — and her favorite way to get things done while working from home.

Downtime Apps

Every once in awhile, it can be helpful to get away from it all for a little bit. So close the work computer, turn off the news, and get lost in the world of these fun, mindless, and sometimes silly apps. 

  • Cat Piano: Yes, this combines the sound of cats with piano playing, which is great to channel your inner pianist (or cat-lover) — or create a video to send to your other bored friends at home. 
    • Free, with in-app purchases
  • Action Movie FX: Shoot your own video and add special effects, like alien death rays or car crashes. 
    • Free, with in-app purchases   
  • Houseparty: Get your friends together for this group video chat that allows you to play Pictionary, trivia, and card games together (while remaining physically apart). 
    • Free, with in-app purchases
  • Viridi: Whether you have a green thumb or not, Viridi allows you to care for succulents in real time — without the mess or stress. 
    • Free
  • Two Dots: It’s like Connect the Dots — only more colorful and portable. This is truly a mindless but fun way to spend your time at home. 
    • Free

Whether you’re seeking relaxation, productivity, or a bit of an escape, there’s an app for that. As you’re adhering to important social distancing protocols, you’re stuck at home for the time being — and there’s no time like the present to explore the endless world of apps.

Interested in creating content for your healthcare website for the COVID-19 pandemic? We can help!