Caregiving is a tough job and the stress can seriously affect your physical and mental health. A very effective and simple way to combat that is to meditate. Rest assured, you don’t have to be a zen master before you benefit from meditation – even a few minutes a day can make a big difference in well-being.
We share 5 excellent (and free) apps that make it easy and convenient to start meditating. In these apps, there are many types of meditations to choose from and different lengths of time – even 1 minute. You’ll easily find something that suits your mood and fits into your busy day.
What is meditation and what are the benefits?
Meditation doesn’t require any equipment, is free, and is easy to do. All you need is a quiet spot where you can sit and try to focus your attention in a way that helps your body and mind relax. Guided meditations make this easy because you just follow the calming voice prompts.
Don’t worry if your thoughts wander while you’re meditating, that happens to everyone. The only thing that’s important is just to do it, there’s no right or wrong way.
Meditation has dozens of impressive benefits, including:
- Helping to regulate emotions
- Reducing the physical effects of stress
- Boosting immune system
- Improving sleep
- Reducing depression
- Lowering blood pressure
- And more
5 apps that make meditation quick and simple for caregivers
1. Stop, Breathe & Think
Stop, Breathe, & Think is a great app for beginners or anyone who’d like some help getting started. The Learn to Meditate section teaches the basics of meditation by explaining what mindfulness is, why it’s helpful, and what to expect when you press play.
There’s also an option where you go through a quick quiz about your current mood to see a short list of recommended meditations of varying lengths, most of them brief. That saves you from having to search for something that suits how you’re feeling.
2. Insight Timer
Insight Timer is one of the most popular free meditation apps available. It has nearly 7,000 free guided meditations from thousands of teachers.
It’s easy to find meditations based on topic or by the length of time, like 0 – 5 min, 6-10 min, etc. The topics cover stress, sleep, self-compassion, nature, and more. If you like quiet meditation, the timer lets you meditate to intermittent bells or calming ambient noise.
Insight Timer also has a community aspect. The home screen shows how many people are meditating right now. You can also get inspired by other people’s public meditation activity. After you finish a meditation, you’ll learn exactly how many people were meditating at the same time.
Based on your privacy settings, you can choose to display information about your meditation sessions or keep everything private. You can also invite friends to join or join an Insight Group for discussion or meditation challenges. (Free, Get app for iPhoneand Android).
3. Smiling Mind
Smiling Mind is an Australian not-for-profit organization that’s making mindfulness meditation simple and accessible to everyone.
All of their meditations are free and there are dozens of options with different focuses and varying lengths of time. Some meditations are just one minute long — something you can fit into even the most hectic day. (Free; Get app for iPhone or Android or use on web).
Pacifica gives you tools to reduce and manage stress, anxiety, and depression. These tools are based on cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness techniques. They help you cope with difficult situations and emotions.
The app can also help you track your thoughts, mood, health, and goals so you can view your progress. There are many free lessons and activities, but the majority do require a subscription. (Free, Get app for iPhone and Android or use on web).
Headspace is another great app for beginners or those wanting more tips on how to get started with meditation. There are helpful how-to videos and a 10 session introduction to the basics that will ease you into it.