What I learned from trying an app for self-care activities
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When it comes to self-care activities — exercises to work out your mind and body and promote self-love — you wouldn’t automatically think to turn on your cellphone.

In fact, you’d probably want to lock your phone away to escape the politically-charged Twitter rants and endless distractions. (Or, maybe you'd rather throw it in the ocean for some lone dolphin to enjoy.)

But Moov Inc.'s Sanity & Self is here to help. The new self-care app is stocked with guided videos and audio that cover self-care activities from full body workouts to journaling, mediation and expert-led pep talks for daily encouragement and reflection. (My favorite? "Being an Empowered Woman.")

Meng Li, the founder of Sanity & Self, told TechCrunch late last month that she wants the app to be "focused on overall wellness."

 

"Women are more stressed than men," Li said (the American Psychological Association even states so), "and moms ... have as little as 17 minutes a day to themselves." So, Li wants to make self-care activities more accessible for them especially.

You can download the app on iTunes or through the app store, and upgrading to premium — only $9.99 per month — will unlock every guided session. (Note: the free version lets you try about one session in each category.)

Here’s everything I learned from this self-care app.

Self-care activities promote both physical and mental well-being

You know when you go to a workout class and you disregard the instructor warning you that the next 30 minutes will be your own personal Hell? Then, somewhere between the second and third pump-up songs you realize how wrong you were to roll your eyes? That’s how I felt when I did the "Strong 1: Bodyweight Quick Start" workout with instructor Tommy.

What I realized was that, though all the squats and push-ups were helping me get physically stronger, Tommy’s encouragement also improved my confidence. He helped me believe in myself when I felt like I couldn’t make it past the final few rounds.

He ends with a simple mantra that I took with me after the fact: "Stay healthy, stay happy." So, though the workouts on this self-care app are for building strength, it applies to your muscles and your character.

Self-care activities are personal to you

Tommy’s workout was great — like I said before, it kicked my butt. But I learned that when it comes to self-care activities, I need more help adjusting my mindset.

With Sanity & Self, I found myself more excited about other self-care activities like journaling.

The introduction to journaling audio I listened to was all about clearing mental clutter in order to increase your awareness. The instructor, Jimmee, tells of her personal experiences with her first notebook and talks about the importance of keeping a safe space. 

For me, self-care activities aren't always about working out — they can't be. But, it’s all personal to you and what you need for your wellness journey. 

what I learned from trying self-care activities

Self-care activities can be quick

Self-care activities don’t have to take hours out of your day. 

For instance, Jimmee’s introduction to "de-stress" meditation was just six minutes long. She spoke of being in the present moment to regain focus and perspective and letting yourself "be a beginner."

Other sessions offered on the self-care app are similar in length and can easily fit into your daily routine. 

The early morning stretch I did with Jenna, for example, lasted all of three minutes — which is definitely shorter than showering (if you have time to bathe, you have time for some stretches).

You don’t have to do self-care activities alone

Delving into self-care can be daunting, especially if you're not used to it. But, taking those first steps with Sanity & Self experts makes it less scary.

The "Being an Empowered Woman" audio session with Airial walks you through how to prioritize yourself and your needs. 

She wants you to start off by "valuing your unique frustrations and motivations" and finding the empowerment plan that works best for you — one where you aren’t accountable for other people, just yourself, and one where you have access to resources.

"Give yourself the space to know what you know — and also honor the intelligence and resourcefulness of women you meet," she says.

Airial's words made me feel safe and gave me a sense of hope — hope that I can take care of myself with her help but on my own terms.

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