Apps help chase the winter chill


Nikita Raheja

Escape the drag of winter with some helpful apps to encourage a healthy mind and body.

By Isabella Winkler, Columnist

Other parts of the country are coming out of the darkness of winter, but the midwest is just getting started. As the weather stays dreadful, so do some of our moods.

Seasonal depression is especially common among college students, causing mood swings and low energy in the winter months. On top of the many stresses and pressures from the responsibilities of college, seasonal depression is another roadblock for students.

Add that to the bleak, dreary mood of the nation following President Donald Trump’s alarming executive orders, and it is safe to say campus may not be the most joyful place.

But an unlikely relief is closer than you think. iPhones have gotten a bad rap in recent years for their connection to millennials’ obsession with technology. They strain our necks, keep us from going to sleep and disconnect us from the people around us. But iPhones can surprisingly help improve our well-being.

With the ever-present feeling that I had begun to lose hold of what used to be so easy to control — school, health and social life — I went on an App Store shopping spree that I hoped would convince me I had my life together.

I found a plethora of apps for managing health, from meditation to tracking your water intake, and so far, they have helped restore some of the control I was anxious about losing.

One app WaterMinder helps you track your water intake. It seems silly that we now need technology to remind us to do something that literally keeps our bodies running.

Studies show that over half of U.S. students aren’t drinking enough water. If drinking more water can improve our energy, balance our bodily systems and clear our skin, then it seems worth it to make sure we’re getting enough. And no, blue guys and lattes don’t count.

Another app Headspace is for those of us feeling overwhelmed. We often forget to stop and take a breath in between essays, projects and Netflix series, so blocking out some time for introspection and relaxation is unfortunately not a priority for college students.

By encouraging you to take 20 minutes out of your day to take part in guided meditations, Headspace provides the mental benefits of a yoga class in the click of a button before having to deal with the demanding realities of life.

If you find it hard to get out of bed each morning and bear the frigid winds of winter in the midwest, then Sunshine is for you. It wakes you up each morning to a weather forecast, suggesting what to wear and preparing you for rain, snow or subzero temperatures. It also makes waking up for those early classes a little more bearable.

A little deep-diving into the App Store can dig up some apps that may help you gain back some control over your mental health.

Twitter and Instagram are a great release until you close the app and feel the overbearing societal pressures crash in on you.

Candy Crush can only keep you occupied until you run out of lives and can’t justify spending 99 cents to keep going. Snapchat streaks eventually end.

We are millennials, after all; our phones are glued to our hands for the instant gratification that we desperately crave.

But there’s no shame in admitting that you need some guidance — next time you’re feeling down, turn to the App Store.

Isabella is a sophomore in ACES.

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