Whether you are an established entrepreneur, a mid-career professional, or a young executive – operating in any industry – stress is an inevitable part of your life. A 2018 APA study stated workplace stress to be more rampant than ever among millennials.

Working from home was often seen as the holy grail of work-life balance and stress relief, and then COVID-19 happened, and it changed work as we knew it forever. Now, you might have adapted to remote working beautifully; but the fact that travel is still restricted and one has to think twice before stepping outside can be depressing indeed!

Backaches, insomnia, irritability and restlessness are just some of the side effects that all professionals have felt at some in time while working from home. And let’s not forget loneliness! It can make one feel less productive and unmotivated, as per Buffer.

Sadly, the Coronavirus outbreak is pushing everyone into an extreme kind of working from home. Therefore, whenever your schedule gets a bit hectic, resort to these five apps to de-stress, unwind, and get your mojo back:

1. Calm

Calm is a mobile app that helps you unwind after work and combat stress by helping you meditate. It has a free introductory programme, “7 Days of Calm“, that lets you experience 10-minute guided sessions on the basics of mindfulness meditation daily for seven days.

The full course catalogue, for which you need a paid subscription, features guided and unguided courses that range from 3 minutes to 30 minutes in length and cover a variety of topics such as sleep aid, loving-kindness, self-esteem and calming anxiety.

Moreover, you can customize the background scenes and nature sounds on the app, and set daily reminders for meditation. The web-based Calm programme lets you access user communities on social media. My personal favourite is their blog on mindfulness

Calm’s monthly subscription starts at $12.99/month.

2. Headspace

Headspace introduces the basics of meditation with its 10-day introductory programme “Take 10 Free Trial”, which, as the name suggests, offers a 10-minute session every day along with six video infographics to illustrate meditation concepts.

The full library, for which you will need to take a paid subscription, offers around 365 meditation sessions in both one-off courses and themed session packs on different topics such as relationships, mindfulness, and health.

The app also features a Headspace tour, programmable reminders, user support and daily messages that come as “mindful moments.”

Furthermore, the web-based version of Headspace offers access to its blog “The Orange Dot” and online communities to connect with other users. Its buddy programme, available only on iOS and Android devices, enables you to invite your friends to sign up and track each other’s meditation progress, just like in a fitness app.

Then, there is also kid-friendly content in the session catalogue for children to learn the fundamentals of meditation and practice a relaxed kind of focus with you. The sessions have been customized for three age groups: 5 and under, 6-8 and 9-12.

Headspace’s annual subscription starts at $69.99/month.

3. Sleep Cycle

This is a useful app that tracks your sleep patterns and helps you wake up during your light sleep phases. Sleep Cycle uses sound analysis to track the different sleep states your body goes through, from light sleep to REM sleep.

The app uses a wake-up phase that ends at the alarm time you specify. During this phase, it will wake you up when your sleep is at its lightest. You will need to place your smartphone close to your head so that the app can pick up your sounds and movements.

When the app rings, you can put it on snooze simply by double-tapping. Additionally, the app features an “Intelligent Snooze” mode that gently brings you from the state of being asleep to being completely awake using shorter and shorter snooze durations throughout your wake-up phase. The app, moreover, is free for use on Android, iPhone, and Huawei.

4. Day One

Since it first came out in March 2011, Day One has topped multiple lists as the best journaling app, winning App of the Year, Apple Editors’ Choice and Apple Design Award. It is compatible with Mac and iOS and lets you write quick journal entries in a simple, minimalistic user interface.

You can use templates to format your journal entries more efficiently, add metadata about the weather outside and the music you are currently playing. Besides, upload photos and social media links, tag your entries with hashtags and password-protect your journal.

You can also customize the settings to give you multiple reminders throughout the day based on how often you would like to update your journal. Another unique feature is “On This Day,” which allows you to see your journal entries for the same day in previous years.

Day One is free to use for two weeks, but premium features such as real-time sync, cloud backup, and audio recording can be availed on a subscription basis for $34.99 per year.

5. The Mindfulness App

This is another top-notch meditation app that everyone will find useful. The Mindfulness App includes a five-day guided meditation course to introduce you to mindfulness, along with several 3 to 30 minute-long guided or silent from which you can select one that best fits into your busy lifestyle.

There are over 250 meditation classes for you to choose from on the app – each covering different topics such as stress relief, mindfulness at work, relationships, kids and sleep.

The Mindfulness App offers personalized meditation recommendations, customizable background sounds, and statistics for you to keep track of in your meditation journal.

Plus, you can download your favourite meditation courses, listen to them offline, and set “mindfulness” reminders for the whole day. Using the app is free for two weeks, and you can purchase the premium version and gain access to specialized meditation challenges to target specific symptoms such as stress or sleep quality for $9.99 per month or $59.99 per month.

Summing it up

I understand when you say your work gives you a sense of fulfillment and hence don’t mind pulling in long working hours. I am too. I love what I do, but I am also aware that stress takes a toll on my physical and mental well-being, which is not worth risking in the long run. Plus, the pandemic is temporary – it is essential to stay positive and hopeful.

Next time you feel overwhelmed working from home, pick one out of these apps and give it a fair try. Work hard but not at the cost of your health.