Apps to relax to

stress relief apps
Images adapted from: Viridi, Tru Luv, My Oasis

Months of lockdown and staying at home can really make you lose your zest when you’re home all the time. If you find yourself moping in bed with a phone, try these mobile apps to fight back anxiety. The list has a bit of everything, so see what works best for you.

1. Insight Timer – meditate to reduce stress and focus better

Insight Timer offers a library of guided meditations, as well as music or white noise. The music library has recordings of singing bowls and nature sounds for meditation, and soft instrumental music to improve sleep. 

You can select from categories relating to reducing stress, positive thinking, or to help fall asleep. There is also a kids section to get them started on the basics of meditation. For kids having trouble sleeping, there are meditation bedtime stories like “Sarah’s Rainbow Angel” but also an ASMR reading of “The Wizard of Oz”.

StressMobile InsightTimer

Is it free?

Yes but with limited access. There is a premium subscription (“Member Plus”) that gives you access to more courses such as “Overcome Obsessive Thinking” and “Protect Your Body From Daily Stress”.

Where can you download it?

The app is available on the Play Store here and App Store here.

2. MyLife Meditation  – relieve stress by meditating 

When you first start up the app, it will ask you about how you feel physically and emotionally, as well as a set of emotions. MyLife uses the survey to find out what kind of guided activities to give you. For example, there is a meditation activity that teaches you to learn compassion if you’re feeling disconnected. There is also one to help you go to sleep.

StressMobile MyLife guides
A Spanish option is available too

If guided meditation is not for you, there are meditation and breathing timers to guide yourself.

StressMobile MyLife premium

You get additional perks such as more activities and longer narrator sessions if you plan to upgrade but the free version is just fine.

Is it free?

Yes, but it has a premium membership.

Where can you download it?

The app is available on the Play Store here and App Store here.

3. SuperBetter – help motivate healthy routines

SuperBetter is about “gamifying” self-improvement into something fun. You feel motivated to complete mundane tasks in real life to earn EXP, and overall feel better about yourself. 

StressMobile SuperBetter

It does this by giving you quests to do, ranging from drinking a glass of water to writing to someone you haven’t written to in awhile. Other quests ask you to walk anywhere to exercise or try a new recipe – even patting yourself on the back is a quest.

You can see your progress over time and feel more accomplished than just saying you did something. There’s also an option to make your own quests and complete them if you want to set your own goals.

If we can feel rewarded by video games, then SuperBetter aims to make us feel the same about real-life accomplishments, no matter how small.

Is it free?


Where can I download it?

The app is available on the Play Store here and App Store here.

4. A Soft Murmur – to improve sleep and concentration

For some of us, the pitter-patter of rain against the roof helps us forget about the outside world. A Soft Murmur is a fantastic app for white noises, whether you’re studying, working, or need to sleep on a noisy night.

StressMobile SoftMurmur

It has a timer feature that lets you decide how long the sound will play, when it will start, and if you want it to fade as it ends. The “meander” feature randomly adjusts the volume of your chosen sounds, adding some “realism” to the rain and thunder combination.

Or you could be weird and turn on all the sounds. Either way, you can save them as presets for next time.

Is it free?

Yes, but only the rain-related sounds are free on mobile. There is a one-time purchase (฿90) to unlock six other ambient sounds such as coffee shop, singing bowl, and white noise.

Where can you download it?

The app is available on the Play Store here and App Store here.

There is also a web browser version here that has all 10 sounds unlocked, and 13 more to upgrade to including cicadas, air conditioning, and city.

5. My Oasis – grow a small oasis to improve your mood

If you’ve played “clicker idle games” like Cookie Clicker and AdVenture Capitalist before, My Oasis hits similar notes but takes the scenic route and encourages you to kick back.

StressMobile encouraging

You grow your oasis from hearts collected from occasionally talking to the animals and trees. Sometimes, they ask you to sing with them by playing a game of Simon with music notes. The animals say encouraging, optimistic things while playing; it’s especially helpful if you’re having a bad day.

My Oasis is a relaxing game appealing to those who enjoy simulation games. The oasis is your tiny safe place where you can escape worries for a few minutes.

StressMobile sing

The ultimate reward is an oasis full of life.

Is it free?

Yes, but has an in-game for buying currency and collectables.

Where can you download it?

The app is available on the Play Store here and the App Store here.

6. Viridi – gardening break to calm your mind

In this game, you grow potted plants and wait. That’s it. You can water and sing to the plant to make it grow a little faster, or do the same to a snail crawling around your plant pot. 

StressMobile pots

Viridi is meant to be played slowly, in the same way, you can’t expect real-life plants to grow instantly. There’s no winning condition other than the satisfaction of looking after your plants. You’re able to take your mind off things when looking after a virtual plant, even if it’s like watching grass grow – there’s no big expectation for the plant or you.

You get a free new seed once per week, so be sure to check up on your plant occasionally.

Is it free?

StressMobile Viridi splash
Image credit: App Cheaters

Yes, but with in-game purchases. You can buy 2-10 seedlings for $0.99 (฿30) depending on the plan, or two other locations to grow your plant for $4.99 (฿154).

Where can you download it?

The app is available on the Play Store here and the App Store here. There is also a Steam version here with trading support so that you can swap seeds with other people.

7. Antistress – improve concentration and reduce anxiety

Antistress is a collection of minigames and stress toys for those who need a distraction from stress or to cure boredom. Most of it consists of mundane but meditative tasks like chopping vegetables, unzipping zippers, and sorting letting envelopes.

StressMobile fidget
There is, of course, the obligatory fidget spinner.

There’s also a randomizer button in the corner if you can’t decide where to start.

StressMobile zipper

Is it free?

There’s a one-time purchase (฿57) for a “Quiet Pack” that includes a dozen more toys such as painting the fence and stargazing. Otherwise, you could unlock them all for ten minutes by watching an ad.

Where can you download it?

The app is available on the Play Store here and the App Store here.

8. #SelfCare – relaxing minigames

StressMobile SelfCareImage credit: Google Play

Today, you will stay in bed where your worries can’t reach you. That is, your avatar will stay in their bed while you look around the room for activities.

StressMobile SelfCare minigames
Breathing with a plant, petting the cat, and sorting laundry

There is no goal in #SelfCare other than to relax. More activities become available over time, but don’t hold your breath because you’re only meant to play the game every so often.

Is it free?

Yes. There are some in-game purchases if you want to customize the room (฿35), but they’re optional.

Where can you download it?

The app is available on the Play Store here and App store here.

9. Pigment – Adult Coloring Book

Check out Pigment If you want to colour away stress. There are multiple patterns you can select from for your paint bucket tool, including graphite and swirl. Otherwise, there’s also the brush tool with a selection of styles.

Pigment includes a Disney and Jim Henson Company section for those who want to colour pictures based on Zootopia and Labyrinth, respectively.

StressMobile Pigment

Is it free?

Free, but has a subscription and currency option. You can watch ads to unlock enough coins to unlock pages or wait for a free colouring page each day.

Where can you download it?

The app is available on the Play Store here and App store here.

Finding inner strength

Remember that you’re not the only one feeling this way at this time. It’s okay to not be okay and talk to someone you trust.

It’s also good to remind yourself how you’ve made it this far, and why you’re not letting quarantine beat you. Sometimes things get worse before they get better, and this is one of them. Stay strong!

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