Summer is here and flying by. I don’t know about you, but almost as soon as school gets out, my mind starts turning to self-care. We need to do this year-round of course, but the end of the year is especially hectic, so I know for myself I need to get in some R & R for sure. Ideally, there would be ways to carry this into the school year as well, so that I am not just counting on summer to recharge.  Friends, we are headed straight down the road to burnout if we only take time for ourselves in the summer. Rather, this needs to be a continuous process.

As many of you know, my summer did not start out so well, and I know I am not alone.  As much as we all may be looking forward to having time to ourselves and doing those things we love, sometimes life throws a wrench into those plans.  This is when it is even more important to take care of ourselves. 

Our family has had a lot of loss this summer, from friends and family in the Uvalde shooting, to one of my dear friends and greatest mentors. I also had surgery and they found cancer.  Luckily, they feel confident that they got it all and that it hasn’t spread.  I know those are definitely some common setbacks in life that many people have had to deal with, so I was inspired to write this blog post to share what has helped me. The best part is that these things can be easily carried into the school year as well! Everyone is different, so what works for me might not apply to you. One thing I want to make clear is that there is no right or wrong.  If these suggestions don’t help you–don’t worry, you will find what does help.  

Everyone has their own way of handling these common setbacks, but in this blog post, I am going to share what has worked for me.  I hope these will help you overcome disappointments that come your way as well.  As much as I like to focus on joy–you’ll hear me talk about it a lot–we all have those times when sad or upsetting things happen. I hope these suggestions help to get you through those times. 

In this blog post, I am specifically sharing 3 good apps for self-care that I use daily. This is just one part of what I am doing, but it might be the most significant, so I felt this was a good place to start.  The three apps I am recommending are all free.  Most have a premium (aka paid) option to upgrade and unlock other features, but I have found all three of these to be some of the best free apps for self care out there. The apps I am sharing with you are: Fitbit, Gratitude, and Insight Timer. 

Number One: Fitbit free

(this is the icon you will see in the app store)

Unfortunately, this was not my first cancer scare–it’s actually happened twice before.  I also have an autoimmune disease.  It didn’t take much to see these as a wake-up call to make some health changes. I am a person who loves many things, but two of them are challenges and my phone. I started wearing my Fitbit constantly and tracking health factors on the free app, because I knew I would be motivated by closing all my circles (how they measure progress) and it would be convenient because I almost always have my phone nearby. This is my number one of the best free apps for self care that there is. Yes, I understand it isn’t truly free, since you have to buy the Fitbit too, but it was something I already had and I appreciate that there is a free version to use.  It helps me track so many health related things –exercise, water intake, food I eat, weight, sleep, etc. Here is a screenshot of a pretty successful day. You can see I am not perfect, but this app is great motivation to do the best I can. (The marked out one is my weight and how many pounds I have left to lose.  I decided to keep that information private.)

Number Two: Gratitude – Daily Journal

Second of the self care apps for teachers I would recommend is Gratitude. For many people, being mindful and really turning inward helps to process all of the thoughts, feelings and emotions that we all are likely to  experience at some point. This app is a one-stop-shop for mindfulness practice.  You start by journaling something you are grateful for.  If you are stuck on thinking of something you are grateful for – and when we have those common setbacks in life we do often have trouble thinking about what to be grateful for – they have prompts to help you think of things to write about. Next, they have a selection of affirmations.  You can play them as a slideshow with voiceover and music, or just read them individually. There are many to choose from–a lot require the premium upgrade–but as I first began using this, there were many options available for free.  Now many are only available on premium.  I did notice it changes from day to day what is free, so that is good motivation to check the app daily!! Next is Daily Zen, which includes quotes and motivational images.  If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen these in my stories.  They also have gratitude images you can share with friends or family to show them how grateful you are for them. They also have links to their blog posts and affirmations to add to your collection. Finally, with the free version you can create a vision board. I believe you can have multiple vision boards if you upgrade, but one is good enough for most people.  You choose a theme and then photos from their stock images to go along with that theme. You can caption them as well.  So each day, I look at those images and read the captions to help me manifest the changes I want to make in my life. 

Number three: Insight Timer 

The third self care app for teachers that I recommend is Insight Timer.  Once I started being more mindful, I knew I wanted to start a meditation practice.  I was for sure one of those people who thought that meditation was all just a bunch of hooey, but once I gave it a chance, I was hooked!  For this one, you start with a daily check in–it is super simple and quick–and then they suggest meditations that compliment your mood. They also have some free classes, like meditation for beginners, which I am finding helpful. 

These are my top three best free apps for self care.  I do use others, and would be happy to share those as well if you are interested. Just email me at (or just hit reply to the email about this post if you are part of my list) to let me know you want to see a Part 2 on the topic of overcoming setbacks and/or on more good apps for self care. I hope that you all are having a great summer and doing all the things that bring you joy and happiness!