Sep 18, 2020

Check out our top 5 new apps to get you through lockdown

Lockdown is a rub, and it's important to stay not only physically, but also mentally healthy. We give you tips about some apps that could help you get through isolation with joy.

The panic is gone by now as we've adjusted our routine to isolation mode. Lockdown refers not only to dullness and isolation, but gives a boost to social digitalization, mindfulness, self-care, and refocusing. 

We strengthen family relationships through shared entertainment, improve cooking skills, spend less money on our everyday routines, and impulse shopping. Our pets are happy, and nature has a kind of relief. 

Still, our needs are essential. Weekly visits to friends and family, gym, therapist, or cinema are desired parts of our life. To maintain social balance and support themselves, people gather handy apps in their mobiles. Check out our best 5 apps for organizing your life during the lockdown and contribute to the pandemic research. The latter is especially important so this story can have an uplifting end.

Aaptiv 

iOS and Android

Cost: $15/month, $100/year, $400 for life

7 day trial

Reason to download: To stay fitness motivated as with a personal trainer.

Impact: The new you in 30 days.

Since your gym may still be closed and your workday has become one big screen interaction, the last thing you want after a day of work is to stare at another screen. Here is one of the best motivational apps that combines fitness and music.

Aaptiv was created by Ethan Agarwal to eliminate the boredom of routine running and soon turned into the best audio app on the market. It offers access to audio recordings of thousands of guided workout classes led by certified professional trainers.

Aaptiv offers ideal treadmill and stair climber classes for the gym. Current circumstances make the app’s collections of pilates, yoga, strength training, and audio coaching for runs and walks invaluable for working out from home. Beyond training, Aaptiv offers stretching and meditation classes for this high-stress time. It's not the typical program – there are entire 20-minute classes just for stretching your wrists and ankles alone.

Audio-based exercises are a breath of fresh air from demanding personal trainers or the anxiety of a full workout fitness studio class.

Music is at the heart of everything Aaptiv does. Each workout is set to a song collection, based on your preferences. The rhythm that keeps you motivated and feeling energized is multiplied by the instructors. Continuous personal training means that Aaptiv coaches are in your ear non-stop, pushing you further, and getting you pumped.

The app's main con is no feedback, though the app does work well in keeping up with or strengthening the basics. The workouts include pictures of each exercise and the option to click on video examples of each move before getting started.

TRX, the maker of functional training equipment and training content, recently announced a partnership with Aaptiv to provide Aaptiv members access to video-based TRX workouts. So, $15 monthly goes even further than before.

Youper 

iOS and Android

Cost: Free with Premium features

Reason to download:  To have an emotional health assistant anywhere, anytime.

Impact: to build a self-care routine.

San Francisco based Youper was founded in 2016 to make mental healthcare less confusing and more accessible. With over one million app downloads and users in more than 150 countries, Youper is one of the best apps to organize your emotional life and cope with coronavirus stress.

Created by a team of doctors, therapists, and engineers led by Dr. Jose Hamilton, a member of the American Psychiatric Association, Youper utilizes AI to help you monitor and improve your mental health.

You can talk or text to a chatbot, which uses various psychological techniques, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness. It asks users to focus on their thoughts and identify how they feel from a descriptive word menu. Then a scale lets them rate the strength of that emotion from "slightly" to "extremely." More questions help them narrow down what is causing those feelings and track their mood. Such technology empowers you to understand yourself, regulate your emotions, improve your thoughts, and change your behavior. 

A mood tracker shows how far you've come throughout your recovery while guided breathing techniques calm down and destress. Youper's AI learns from you continuously, and it's always up to date with the scientific research about the brain and mind. 

There are many wellness and mental health apps out there trying to solve this problem. But during a conversation with Youper, you will go deeper than you would by using a common wellness app. For instance, you can understand your anxiety's roots, understand reasons, reframe your initial thoughts, or decide to deal with a particular situation stressing you out.

Of course, an app is not a replacement for seeing a therapist or psychiatrist. However, Youper has a much lower barrier to entry for people who can’t see a professional.

Rave 

iOS and Android

Cost: Free

Reason to download: To gather friends and favorite videos in one place.

Impact: To watch parties in perfect sync.

Just because you're stuck at home doesn't mean you have to watch Netflix in solitude. Invite your friends to watch YouTube, Vimeo, Reddit, or your collection from Google Drive by streaming media and syncing an unlimited number of devices. 

The key Rave technology is the perfect sync of videos streaming directly from the source, rather than illegally re-streaming them. The content is all directed from the source to you, in full quality. Powered by a millisecond-precise synchronization engine, Rave can transform a collection of phones into a speaker system or power international karaoke parties.

Rave combines the most popular mobile activities: watching videos, texting, and talking over VoIP. It's the multimedia messenger app that allows users to socialize in real time. Just make sure to set your viewing parties to "Friends" or "Private" if you don't want random people joining.

The idea for Rave came from an unlikely pair: founders Michael Pazaratz and Saeed Darvish-Kazem were medical doctors trained in Canada. 

But the two initially didn't think to create an app – they just went in search of something like it on the App Store and found nothing. So the two decided to build it themselves. The app finally was coded by a team of ex-BlackBerry engineers located in Waterloo, Canada, where Rave is based. 

Lately, the service has generated buzz with a new service called RaveDJ that uses AI to compose seamless mashups from user-selected songs. Perfect for the lockdown party!

Freedom

Mac OS X and Windows Vista

iOS and Android

Cost: $6.99/month, $29.04/year, or $129 for life. 

Free trial for seven sessions.

Reason to download: To eliminate distractions and focus on a single task.

Impact: To have control over technology and regain your productivity.

The famous study of Gloria Mark 'The Cost of Interrupted Work' showed that our mind requires 23 minutes of refocus time to get back on task every time you divert. In other words, that "30 seconds to check Twitter" isn't just 30 seconds wasted. It's 23 minutes and 30 seconds.

The next find is that we're actually 40% less productive when multitasking. While we may feel incredibly prolific jumping around, we eventually experience higher stress, a bad mood, and lower potential. Even using willpower to ignore distractions promise little results as the digital world is designed to attract our attention. 

Fred Stutzman's journey to Freedom began in 2009 when his favorite coffee shop work spot acquired a dangerous feature – wifi. With this new installation, Fred found that his favorite cafe was no longer a safe haven for writing his Ph.D. dissertation. Instead, he had to battle the web constantly. After noticing the drop in his productivity, he created Freedom's predecessor – a simple program that would block the internet for a specified time.

Today Freedom is the best life app because it offers plenty of customization for blocking anything, anywhere you want. When you need to focus, start a Freedom session and then choose what to block. You can also create recurring sessions if, for example, you desire to avoid Tinder and Facebook between 8 AM and 6 PM every day. You may even block the whole internet turning your computer into something straight out of 1994.

For the days when your willpower needs an extra boost, locked mode prevents you from changing the settings in the middle of a session. The Premium version also provides you with features such as: ambient sounds like a library or coffee shop, advance scheduling, session annotations, and history. Freedom users (Google, Microsoft, SalesForce, Stanford University, among others) report gaining on average 2.5 hours every day!

Freedom lets remote employees and students improve their relationship with technology and enjoy digital wellness from now on.

How We Feel 

iOS and Android

Cost: Free

Reason to download: To help scientists get ahead of the virus and get back to life faster.

Impact: For every new download, HWF will donate a meal to people in need.

This app was built by an independent, nonprofit organization called The How We Feel Project (HWF), founded by a volunteer team of scientists, doctors, and technologists. Among involved are Pinterest, Feeding America, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and scientists from Harvard, Cornell, Stanford, and University of Pennsylvania.

How We Feel asks users to donate data by completing health check-ins so that researchers can track the spread of the coronavirus. Participants can select symptoms from a list throughout the survey, which takes no longer than 30 seconds. 

The key is to share data daily even if you're feeling well because it can help experts track how the virus spreads and predict areas on the brink of an outbreak of COVID-19. Self-reported data can be a powerful new tool in our fight against the pandemic, especially as we see a widespread shortage of testing. 

The app doesn't ask you to create an account or log in through other accounts. It also won’t request any personally identifying information like your name or email; still, it does ask for your age, gender, location, and health history. To aggregate data and share it securely, HWF collaborates with Dr. Gary King from Harvard University, who specializes in developing technologies for protecting shared data.

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