Prepare to download and decompress.

woman holding a coffee mug and using a smart phone

Photo: Getty / d3sign

By now, it's clear that self care is more than just a fad. Not only have Google searches grown by 500 percent over the past five years, but it also has an official definition. The World Health Organization (WHO) deems self care as, "the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health-care provider."

It can feel conflicting, though, that 18.4+ million posts on Instagram have been tagged #selfcare when phones and all-things digital have been blamed for many of our stretched-thin, overly-worked, always-on, craving-self-care ways.

Luckily, several smartphone apps are popping up to make it easier to plug in with your mental, physical and emotional health-all without unplugging from the world. (Baby steps, right?)

5 Self-Care Apps to Add to Your Home Screen

Down Dog

Best self-care app for: Yogis-or those who are hoping to make it a regular habit

Cue up this customizable yoga app and plug in your desired workout length, music genre (from alt beats to acoustic to nature sounds), intensity level and practice focus (such as hip flexor opening or upper body strength). Press "play" and prepare to bend and flex your way through a new at-home yoga class each and every session. "Favorite" workouts you adore to come back to again, or keep working your way through their never-ending video library for a mind-body boost any time of day.


Best self-care app for: Daily stress-relief

More than 3 million people have signed up to "shine" with this app that sends text messages every weekday full of science-backed tips to boost confidence, improve your mood and more. With a premium membership ($53.99 for a year), you can also access Shine Talks (think: meditative podcasts) on-demand and work your way through week-long audio challenges that cover financial management, starting a side hustle and other hot topics.

To Don't

Best self-care app for: Managing your time

Don't feel like tackling another item on your to-do list? Well, don't, this app says. Contradictory to common advice, the creators say the secret to finding more time and being more productive isn't accomplishing more, but rather avoiding the tasks you shouldn't be wasting time doing. Helpful, humorous suggestions include, "text my ex" and "procrastinate on Instagram." Each morning, you'll get a "congrats!" message about all the things you didn't accomplish the day before, plus a clean slate for you to jot down the things you won't waste time doing today.


Best self-care app for: Conquering negativity

Being happy is child's play, as this research-focused app proves. The games and activities related to career success and self-confidence are so fun, you might just forget you're making a concerted effort to combat depressed feelings and promote a more optimistic mindset. Start by taking a quiz to determine your baseline happiness score, then start playing around and listening to meditations. More than eight in 10 users report feeling more joy in just two months.


Best self-care app for: Art therapy

Doodling as an adult has been proven time and time again to lower stress, calm overwhelming thoughts and more. Take your artistic talents to go with this app that allows you to "paint" designs or create your own from scratch to channel your inner Bob Ross (and all his chill vibes).