Self-care is defined as “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.” Today, there’s an abundance of apps that focus on meditation, breathing exercises and other self-care practices, each offering a variety of programs, sessions, and audio tracks to help guide individuals to a place of mental reprieve with such options as white noise, storytelling, guided visualizations and music. They also allow users to personalize their experiences, whether it’s selecting a length of time, the background music or a narrator’s gender.
To avoid getting overwhelmed by choices, we’ve pulled together a starter kit of free apps to help you improve your sleep and find moments to relax in your self-care routine. For us, their main appeal is that they’re generally “hassle free” — no fussing with settings or customization, which can be nice if you’re new to the space. They offer at least one free basic session/program and don’t require signing up or providing personal information, so you can explore until you find something that works for you. Use the iOS or Android links for app details and the other links for more information about the provider/developer. Skip any sign-up, in-app purchase or “store” icons or prompts within the app. They can be bypassed without submitting your information, subscribing or making any purchase.
Insight Timer: Large collection of free guided meditations available on its site and app (on the site, skip the account setup and go directly to the “free library” at the top of the page, and be sure to check out one of our favorites)
Offerings, including any free basic sessions/programs, were current at the time of publication.