Updated: Mar 19
Today, I bring you a list of products and apps that help me practice healthier habits or make my day just that little bit better!
My aromatherapy diffuser and essential oils
With so many of us working from home, I think it is incredibly important to be intentional about creating a positive workspace. I've been sure to make my at-home work area as cozy as possible: I have photos and gifts from friends that make me happy, a cute lamp that makes the lighting ~just right~, a high-quality speaker so I can listen to my favourite tunes, and a cozy blanket nearby. Using essential oils and an aromatherapy diffuser is not only an all-natural way to create a beautiful scent in your home, but there are also psychological benefits! In a systematic review of 12 randomized controlled trials, seven of them showed that aromatherapy was helpful in providing relief of depressive symptoms. Some people say that the benefits are simply due to the placebo effect but honestly, if it makes you feel better, ENJOY IT regardless of why that might be the case!
There are a TON of different diffuser options out there, but this one on Amazon is great. When it comes to essential oils, however, you want to make sure that you're sticking to higher quality ones as unfortunately there are a lot on the market that are made up of synthetic, crappy ingredients.
My favourite brand of essential oils is The Aromatherapist. They're a small Canadian business (support local!) that creates organic and wildcrafted essential oils that are extremely high quality. What's more, they have a number of blends that are specifically designed for different purposes. In fact, you'll always see me using their oils at my Markham office. My favourites are their "Lift Depression," "Anxiety Rescue," and "Energy" blends and I'm always getting compliments from people about how pleasant my office smells :)
2. The Plant Nanny app
I've talked about this app before because it's seriously the only thing that helps me drink more water. You choose little plant character and every time you drink water, you get to feed your plant to keep it alive. If you don't, your little plant friend gets the saddest, most hopeless look on its face that is so unbearable you'll literally drink a gallon of water just to make it happy again! Plant Nanny also calculates what your daily water intake should be based on your weight and physical activity level, which is helpful in and of itself! Click here to download the app.
3. Dream Water
I've always had sleep issues but find that taking over-the-counter sleeping aids often leave me feeling super groggy and awful the next morning.
Dream Water is an all-natural drink you consume before bed that contains GABA, melatonin, and 5-HTP, which work together to help you relax, fall asleep and stay asleep so you wake up feeling refreshed. I like that it's non-habit-forming, all natural, tasty, and easy to consume.
4. The Mood Octopus
I came across this Reversible Octopus Plushie on TikTok and it is seriously a MUST-HAVE if you're living with a significant other (or even a roommate) during COVID. On one side, you'll see a super cute, happy-looking octopus, but flip it inside out and you'll see a blue, moody-looking face. This allows you and your partner to share what mood you're in without having to say anything.
For my partner, blue signals "do not disturb" and indicates that he needs some uninterrupted quiet time. For me, blue signals "I'm feeling down and need some TLC." This plushie is not only adorable, but it's a great way to learn more about your partners' needs and how you can best support them (and vice versa). For me, it was very useful to learn that "support" looks very different for my partner and me. While I need more connection in certain moments, he needs more privacy. Seriously, just go buy this. You will not regret it.
5. The 'Three Good Things' app (free)
This is a super simple app that, as the name suggests, asks you to write three good things that happened in your day. There's a limit of 100 characters per item, which I actually like because it's short and sweet. The most fun part is when you look back on your weeks and months of 'three good things' and get to remember all of them! Doing so is very heartwarming and this app makes practicing gratitude super accessible and easy. Click here to download.
6. 'Pure Encapsulations' Vitamin D drops
With Canadian weather being so cold and the days so short, it's practically impossible to meet your vitamin D needs. However, low levels of vitamin D have been associated with both depression and seasonal affective disorder, and I can attest to how much better I started feeling when I took vitamin D drops in the winter time regularly! These drops by Pure Encapsulations provide 1,000 IUs per drop, which you put under your tongue every morning. While the upper level of harmless intake is set ta 4,000 IUs, a study of 17,000 people taking varying doses of vitamin D (some of whom took 20,000 IUs per day!) did not demonstrate any signs of toxicity. So, you'll be safe at 4,000 IUs per day.
I absolutely adore my Fitbit as it tracks my sleep quality, steps, active minutes, and my heart rate during workouts—plus it's waterproof in case you're a swimmer! If you'd like, you can enable reminders to stand during the hour or take a deep breath. Texts from your phone can also be forwarded to your Fitbit. There are different models, but the Fitbit Versa is one of their more affordable options. I should also note that it's battery life is amazing and that I can usually get a good five days off of one charge!
8. A workout subscription to 'The Studio with Jamie Kinkeade'
I am someone who has always been quite disciplined when it comes to working out, but 2020 was a different story. Seriously, I couldn't find the strength to work out for months, which was difficult for me as someone who truly does feel a lot better when they're active.
The Studio is a website that has different categories of workouts that you can do from the comfort of your own home. From yoga and step classes to high-intensity interval training and barre classes, there are so many different classes to choose from. You barely need any space in your home to do their workouts and they don't use much equipment. At most, you might want to buy a few resistance bands, sliders, and booty bands, but these are affordable products. They provide other options in case you don't have these items too (like using a towel instead of bands or paper plates instead of sliders!).
I particularly have really gotten into their 'jam' workouts, which are dance-inspired videos with relatively simple choreography for people who absolutely hate cardio, such as myself. The playlists are incredible and Jamie's personality is so fun and infectious that you'll hardly notice that you're sweating your butt off (literally)!
You can pay $26.20/month or save a bit of money by purchasing the annual pass for $262.10. That ends up being just $22 a month! I can't think of a better way to spend my money.
9. Adaptogen supplements
Extracted from plants, adaptogens are herbs and plant extracts that can lower the body’s reaction to stress and
anxiety symptoms, bringing calm, natural relief. Additionally, they’re able to decrease the effects of hormones and other chemicals released in the body when you’re feeling overwhelmed like cortisol and adrenaline. CanPrev's Adrenal-Pro is one that I like as it contains a number of adaptogens, including ashwaganda, schisandra, ginseng, and more.
10. A funny book of journal prompts
I recently sent a couple of copies of these to my girlfriends and they both had positive things to say about it! Zen as F*ck: A Journal for Practicing the Mindful Art of Not Giving a Sh*t is filled with funny little prompts (and lots of profanity) to help journalling seem a little less daunting. The exercises strike a great balance between being both useful and somehow light-hearted and are a great way to become more mindful and grateful in today's whacky world.
11. A habit-tracking app
"Done: A Simple Habit Tracker" is an app that does exactly what the name suggests—help you track your habits in a simple way. Whether you want to start meditating more often, going to bed earlier, or working out more frequently, this app will keep a tally of how often you're meeting your goals and show your progress through different visual graphs so you'll stay motivated to keep your streak going!
The Bottom Line
I have been absolutely loving these products lately and use them all on a daily basis myself! What products or apps have been keeping you sane and healthy these days? Let me know in the comments below!