Perhaps your New Year’s resolutions involved plans to nurture that mind-body connection or simply bring down stress levels by taking yoga or meditation classes. Now, with spring here, the thrill has morphed into dread, and attempts to squeeze in those plans have left you even more stressed.
For the sake of your sanity, consider the next best thing: online wellness subscriptions, affordable and easy to fit into the most hectic schedules.“Online is so much more convenient,” said Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project,” a book about her experiments in the pursuit of happiness and good habits. “People can do things with an app that they couldn’t do if they [had to] actually show up in a class.”
Both Kati Morton, a licensed therapist in Los Angeles who manages a popular mental health YouTube channel, and Rubin give this advice:
- Don’t wait to feel depressed Most people don’t consider upping their wellness game unless faced with an emotional or physical crisis. But you shouldn’t wait to reach the end of your rope to take action, said Morton. Instead, she suggests looking for telltale signs that your mind and body could use a reboot: having trouble sleeping or feeling fearful or stressed out.
- Let your personality guide you “There’s nothing that universally works for everybody,” Rubin said.
- Build on things that you already like “If you enjoy walking or have always been involved in sports, then you might focus more on yoga or any kind of movement-based therapy,” Morton said. On the other hand, meditation works better for those consumed by obsessive thoughts.
- Take it for a spin No matter how much something resonates with you, resist the temptation to invest right off the bat in the unlimited package — often the priciest option. Most apps that focus on mental well-being offer free trials. To access them, you’ll be asked for your credit card information. Set an alarm on your phone so you don’t have to pay once the trial expires, Morton advised.
- Do your homework Before purchasing a month’s worth of self-care classes, pay attention to logistics. Is there any mention of email or text notifications? If so, how often will those hit your inbox? Likewise, look up the program to make sure it won’t do more harm than good, Morton said. “There’s been some apps not empirically supported that can be damaging.”
Below are three types of wellness subscriptions and apps to fit various lifestyles and budgets.
If you’re just getting started, try Headspace. Its guided meditation sessions are perfect for beginners and can be listened to on your phone or computer. Subscriptions are $12.95 per month or $7.99 per month if you sign up for a year. There’s also a 10-day free trial.
Looking for an affordable quick fix? Opt for Buddhify. At only $4.99 for iOS or $2.99 for Android at press time, this beautifully designed app delivers 80 different short audio tracks for every moment of the day, including “Work,” “Going to Sleep,” “When Stressed,” “Traveling,” “Walking,” “Online,” etc.
Another choice is Pacifica, which combines meditation with journaling and relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and visualization.
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned yogi looking to switch things up, YogaGlo has something for everyone. For $18 per month, you get unlimited access to over 3,500 online streaming classes taught by reputable yoga teachers and ranging from five to 120 minutes. It offers a 15-day free trial.
Maybe you want the flexibility to play around with your budget and your exercise choices. The Cody app and website provide just that: a mix of low-intensity workouts such as yoga and Pilates, plus fitness-inspired workouts from weightlifting to high-intensity interval training. Instead of subscribing, you buy a plan. Costs vary greatly, based on complexity and teachers’ reputation. Among the budget-friendly options is a $19.99 Journey to Headstand 31-day plan. Pricier choices include the $159.99 EmBody Yoga Bundle with 39 classes taught by Jessamyn Stanley and Dana Falsetti, plus-size Instagram yogi sensations.
Created by registered dietitians and geared to women who struggle with body issues or disordered eating patterns. Sought-after programs are the ones by nutritionists Christy Harrison and Robyn Coale, at christyharrison.com and nutshellnutrition.com, respectively. Harrison’s 13-week, $329 online course contains audio, video and interactive exercises meant to teach clients to “give up dieting for good,” “start exercising for the joy of movement” and more. Coale gives advice on achieving a healthy weight, managing stress, improving sleep and more, at various prices.