Christmas isn't just a time to have a break and enjoy the company of family and friends; it's also a time for reflection. It sounds cheesy, but the festive period allows you to look back at the great, and the not-so-great, things that have happened over the past few months.
Perhaps you’ve been worked off your feet all year and now you feel exhausted. Or maybe that health plan didn’t quite go as planned and you’ve put on a few pounds. Whatever the case, there’s hope. You can rest up and enjoy the holiday period knowing that the new year offers a chance for new opportunities.
And there are plenty of apps out there to help you get in shape, both physically and mentally, for a brand new year. We've picked out the best for Android and iPhone, and most of them are free. So here’s to a happy new year – and a happy new you.
The new year is all about trying new things, and there are loads of amazing ways you can boost your health and wellbeing. Taking a fitness class of some kind is a good example, but sometimes it can be hard to find the right one. Mindbody can help.
The app lets you search for classes such as crossfit, yoga, barre and MMA in your area, without the commitment of signing up for a gym membership. Once you’ve found a class, the app will you keep track of your schedule and allow you to set up calendar reminders. In addition, you benefit from exclusive deals.
One of the best ways to stay in shape and keep healthy is, of course, by going to a gym, but if you’re busy with work and domestic commitments it can be difficult to go to one - and CustomFit brings the gym to you. The app is from gym chain Fitness First, but anyone can use it to work out any time, anywhere.
Free to download and use, the app generates workouts based on your preferences and skillset. There are over 800 exercises to choose from, which you can customise to suit your equipment and time scale, and you can also take part in challenges against other users.
Saucony Stride Lab
There’s nothing better than going for a quick run or jog to burn off those pounds, and the great thing is you can go running pretty much anywhere. But while it’s a convenient form of exercise, that’s not to say it’s easy. Running is an art, and the Saucony Stride Lab app for iOS wants to turn you into a champion.
It’s an interactive tool that puts the power of biomechanics in your hand, helping you to develop a better running technique. You go through a multi-step evaluation to assesses your stance, mobility, stability and stride, and the app then delivers a customised, ever-evolving plan for running exercises and drills.
It’s always nice to finish off a busy working day with a beer or a glass of wine - and let’s face it, most of us will be having a few drinks over Christmas. But it’s easy to end up drinking too much, and in addition to the obvious health issues that can lead to, alcoholic drinks are full of calories.
Drinkaware, as the name suggests, aims to help you ensure you don’t go over the suggested weekly unit intake. The app helps you track all the alcohol you drink in a week, and tells if you’ve been drinking too much. It also has a nifty ‘weak spot’ feature, which will tackle specific drinks or habits you’re struggling to give up.
Stress is extremely common, and unless you manage it effectively the symptoms can end up taking over your life. Creativity is thought to be a good way of easing your mind – drawing or painting, in particular, can help your mental health.
So, unless you fancy carrying a book and pencils around with you, it’s worth checking out Recolor. It’s essentially a virtual colouring book, which lets you colour in anything from mandalas to animals. What’s great is that the images are categorised based on complexity, and all the colours are neutral, so you shouldn’t feel overstimulated at any point.
Not getting enough sleep can also have a negative impact on your health and wellbeing, and while technology over-use is often seen as a contributing factor in insomnia, it can also help you get more and better-quality sleep.
There are a some amazing apps out there designed to help you maintain a healthy sleep pattern, and Sleep Genius is one of them. Designed by a team of experts in sleep, sound and neuroscience, the app uses a plethora of algorithms that guide your brain through all the important sleep stages. You’re then woken up with a refreshing alarm.
The Mindfulness App
Meditation is thought to offer a host of health benefits. According to health professionals, mindfulness practices can help decrease stress and anxiety, help you stay focused, increase self-confidence, reduce sleepless nights and encrouage a more positive outlook.
The Mindfulness App does exactly what it says on the tin. Used by more than a million meditators in over 130 countries, it gives you access to a rich library of guided and silent meditation sessions lasting from three to 30 minutes, enabling you to meditate at your own pace, and in any location.
It's easy to overindulge over the festive period, which is one reason why new year resolutions about going on a diet are so popular - and Calorie Counter is a great companion for helping you to lose weight.
It offers a database of over five million foods, helping you to make smart diet choices and keep track of the calories you take in. You can log dietary components including fat, sugar, carbs and fiber. The app is free to download, and shouldn’t take you longer than five minutes to use each day.
Lifesum is a popular app for helping you to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Available for both iOS and Android devices, it takes your lifestyle goals and health data into account to generate a wellbeing plan.
Whether you want to lose weight or simply introduce more nutritious foods into your diet, this app can help. Once it’s logged your data, it’ll provide tips on what to eat, how to exercise effectively and how to stay motivated.