The coronavirus pandemic has changed the daily routines and lives of many, as most states have enacted shelter-in-place orders or restrictions on in-person non-essential activities, including school and work. More people are now confined to their homes most of the time. There is also increasing collective anxiety over when things will return to “normal” and whether the spread of the virus will personally impact ourselves or someone we know. Spending more time at home has increased the need to rely on the Internet, smartphone apps, streaming, and online-based means of entertainment and information exchanges.
Smartphone Apps for Reducing Stress & Anxiety
While it is good to balance screen time with neighborhood walks, lawn work, or other permitted outdoor activity close to home, various smartphone apps can help keep you connected, entertained, and productive. Although using smartphone apps and technology is not a complete substitution for reducing the adverse effects of isolation and anxiety, these phone apps may help.
- Calm: Rated as one of the most popular apps for relaxation and relieving stress, it includes a set of calming images, backgrounds, and meditations. The app can also help you get to sleep if you find yourself restless at night.
- 7 Cups: If you’re looking for someone else to talk to about a sensitive problem or want someone to help you get through a challenging situation, this mobile app will connect you with a team of trained volunteers. All conversations remain confidential and can occur through text or online. Talk to someone one on one or to others in a virtual group.
- FitBit: If you own a FitBit, use the app’s sleep settings to set reminders of when to start winding down each evening, as well as target wake up times and alarms. Wear your FitBit to bed to help track your sleep patterns, including how many hours of average sleep you’re getting each week and the quality of your sleep.
- Insurance Telehealth apps: Use these apps to connect with medical and mental health professionals to seek guidance and care. Check with your insurance company to see which telehealth apps your providers cover for reimbursement. If you currently don’t have coverage, check out Healthline’s list of 2019’s best telemedicine apps for low-cost options.
Best Apps for Making Connections
You don’t have to be a social butterfly to start feeling isolated and wonder how you can keep your relationships alive during a shelter-in-place order or quarantine. And if you need to work from home, staying in touch and keeping the lines of communication open with your colleagues can be critical to keeping things running outside of the office.
Here’s a list of mobile apps that can help keep your connections alive while practicing social distancing.
- Zoom: This popular app and online site can help facilitate webinars, virtual meetings, and chats with small groups up to 100 or large teams up 1,000 people with the Premium version. You can easily set up a meeting and share a link that others can join.
- FaceTime: A popular app for Apple and iOS users, FaceTime makes it easy to virtually connect over a video chat with family and friends. See their faces and hear their voices as you chat and celebrate special occasions online!
- Facebook Messenger: If you have Android users in your family or circle of friends, Facebook Messenger is a good video chat alternative to FaceTime. Don’t want to use video? No problem! You can still chat using emojis, texts, and plenty of gifs! There’s also a kid’s version with built-in parental controls.
- Skype: One of the earliest video chat applications, Skype can be used on any device with an internet connection or as a smartphone app. Chat with up to 50 people at a time.
Apps for Entertainment & Staying Informed
Of course, sometimes you want to spend a few moments alone or may live by yourself and have gone through everything on Netflix. Or you want to stay up to date when new information about the pandemic comes out. If you haven’t tried some of these smartphone apps, take some time now to discover something new!
- Spotify: Listen to free podcasts and music or purchase a paid subscription to gain access to even more content. Create your own playlists and listen from any smartphone, computer, or SmartTV.
- Boomerang: An app that the kids and young at heart are sure to love. Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry are back! Watch classic popular cartoons from Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera, & more.
- Facebook: Turn on notifications for your governor’s Facebook page and the pages of other major news sites to receive updates on critical information and press hearings about the coronavirus. Watch press announcements live from your smartphone or any connected device.
- TED: Watch and listen to your favorite TED Talks or discover new insights from world leaders, top practitioners, and thought leaders. Search for talks by subject or name. You can also listen to TEDRadio through the app.
- Vudu: Access thousands of free movies or rent one that’s not available on Netflix or Hulu. Use the app on your smartphone or SmartTV.
- Bookmobile: If you like audiobooks and have an Apple device, try signing up for a free trial of Bookmobile. Listen to up to 3 audiobook titles for 60 days.
Hopefully, these apps will be a starting point to help you find new ways to reduce stress at home and inspire you to try something new to keep entertained and connected with those that matter most. For more information on how Viaero is responding to the coronavirus pandemic, please click here.
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