Several months ago, I found myself pacing around my apartment at 3:15 AM. After drinking a cup of chamomile tea and reading a chapter of my book, I wasn’t any more tired than I had been four hours earlier. I was restless, and completely frustrated. “Why haven’t you tried Headspace?” a co-worker asked me the next day. “It’s an app with simple meditations that will help you wind down,” she explained. “It will definitely get you to sleep better.” Just like that, I was sold.

This week, Apple released its annual “best of” lists, naming self-care apps (including Headspace) as the top App Store trend of 2018. The winner is hardly a surprise given the tech industry’s focus on mental well-being this year. Following companies like Google and Microsoft, Apple launched its Screen Time feature, encouraging users to set limits on their device use and set healthier boundaries with technology. Social media platforms like Instagram have also recently implemented their own ways to inspire more mindful scrolling.

With popular self-care apps Calm, 10% Happier, Shine, and, yes, Headspace, at the top of the list, the App Store’s trend echoes the broader cultural movement that has inspired users around the world to meditate, pay attention to their mental health, breathe deeper, get more sleep, and set screen time boundaries to stay present. And while the tech industry has experienced backlash for producing products that are at times distracting, isolating, and even anxiety-inducing, companies behind the screens appear to be taking note, and are switching gears to better align with our larger cultural conversation.

“This year the best self-care apps put our mental well-being front and center,” App Store editors noted in their in-app announcement. “These innovative apps made self-care more accessible than ever, expanding the practice of wellness around the world.”

While taking my colleague’s Headspace suggestion slowly helped me wind down and get to sleep, self-care means something different to everyone, and that’s the beauty of having so many helpful apps to choose from. Whether you need a guided meditation during your commute or a quick mantra to help silence your inner critic, there’s an app that will help you do that.

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  • Rebecca Muller Feintuch

    Senior Editor and Community Manager


    Rebecca Muller Feintuch is the Senior Editor and Community Manager at Thrive. Her previous work experience includes roles in editorial and digital journalism. Rebecca is passionate about storytelling, creating meaningful connections, and prioritizing mental health and self-care. She is a graduate of New York University, where she studied Media, Culture and Communications with a minor in Creative Writing. For her undergraduate thesis, she researched the relationship between women and fitness media consumerism.