We look at some of the best digital tools that will help you embrace the digital detox, free up some time and space, and relax at the end of a difficult year
The festive period can be intensely stressful. There is always so much to do. People may have to untangle last year’s decorations, grab presents at the last minute, buy an excessive amount of food and drink, base meats and trim veg, and perform myriad other tasks that pile up.
But the end-of-year break should be a time for relaxation. Charity professionals should attempt to put their feet up, grab a mulled wine or hot chocolate, and find some time and space away from the stresses of the season. And there are plenty of digital tools that can help.
Here is our list of the best digital tools that can help you unwind.
It might seem like a contradiction, but arguably the best way to stay off your phone is to download an app. But how strict do you want to be? Are you trying to go cold turkey or just cut down on scrolling?
Moment is an app that tracks the time you spend on your phone. It gives data on the number of times users pick up their phones each day and the number of times the phone is unlocked. Moment has an easy-to-use and fun interface, which helps to monitor usage. But the decision to detox is ultimately yours, as the app has none of the stricter functions that can be found on other apps. Moment simply gives information on phone usage and allows the user to make changes that suit them.
Forest is a detox app with a twist, perfect for those who struggle to put phones down and get tasks done. Users can plant a seed when they need to concentrate for a designated period of time. A virtual tree starts to grow, but if the user opens their phone the virtual tree dies. If users manage to avoid their phone during the designated time, a fully-grown tree appears in your forest. The forest grows and becomes beautiful with every tree.
But that’s not all. When you spend virtual coins that you receive on the app, Forest will plant a tree in real life. Less procrastinating can make a real difference.
Flipd is stricter than Moment or Forest. It allows users to track screen time, review trends, and join groups with others to set up challenges. But Flipd also allows users to set their maximum daily screen time, which some love but others hate. As soon as that time is spent, certain leisure apps will start to disappear from your screen. But don’t worry, the apps will return after a designated period of time.
It can be difficult to find the time and space necessary to relax. There are various digital tools available that can help you get the tough tasks out of the way and clear your schedule.
Mealboard is like having a chef’s assistant in your pocket. It combines recipe management, meal planning, and grocery management into a single app. Mealboard can help you plan your meals at any time of the year, ensure that you do not forget any ingredients, and remind you when food needs to come out of the oven.
Have you left your shopping to the last minute? No need to worry. There are various apps that can help you keep up-to-date with all your presents. Consider, for example, My Gift List, which allows you to organise your gifts for specific events, view friends’ lists, suggest gifts for others, and browse popular websites to find the perfect present.
Meditation and mindfulness give you an opportunity to step away from the stress of the festive season.
Calm focuses on meditation and relaxation. It offers daily calm sessions, which help users to relax and de-stress. It has meditation programmes targeted at complete novices, as well as options for seasoned practitioners, too. Calm focusses on sleep, offering various nature sounds and stories, which might be just what you need after the hectic end-of-year period.
Headspace is another meditation app, with a specific emphasis on mindfulness. You can try basic courses free-of-charge or you can sign-up to experience a huge range of services on offer, such as programmes to help you sleep, focus, and exercise. Headspace also allows you to add friends and family, so you can help each other meet your meditation goals over the Winter Break.
Color therapy offers something a little different. The app allows users to colour images, practice creativity, de-stress, and relax. The app is partnered with a mental health charity and aims to provide ‘art therapy’ that can decrease symptoms of physical or emotional distress. It’s a fun, easy-to-use app that can help users de-stress. Just pick an image, decide whether you want to colour free-hand or colour by number, and relax.