Our favorite tips and tools to improve your mental health in 2018

Looking for ways to feel better in 2018? Check out these mental health product, app, and habit recommendations from the Zencare team!



1. Wall calendar

Tracking my daily mood, yoga, and meditation habits on a wall calendar has helped me stay on track to meet my goals! I put a ‘Y’ for days when I go to yoga and ‘M’ for days when I meditate. Because it’s right on the wall in front of my desk and I see it so often, it helps me stay motivated and excited to keep my streak going! -Yuri

2. Pillow mist

There was a time when I was embarrassed to admit that I spent $20 on something so superfluous as pillow mist. Now, I embrace it. Pillow mist rocks. I spray some in my essential oil diffuser when I’m getting ready for bed and the soothing scent helps signal to my body that it’s time to wind down. The combination of scent and vapor is good for your skin, lungs, and sleep cycle. And since the spray is less concentrated, it doesn’t clog the diffuser like traditional oils. -Maggie

3. Aveda Chakra mist

My therapist used to have Aveda mists in her bathroom, and I would try a new one every time I went to her office! They’re great to spray above your head before meditation, a home yoga practice, or just when you need a pick-me-up. Smell is an incredibly powerful way to brighten your mood! One bottle of the Chakra-7 mist has lasted me over a year, and I still love it!  -Yuri

Books, videos, and podcasts

4. Dear Sugars

If you see me walking down the street with headphones in, chances are I’m listening to Dear Sugars, a podcast cohosted by Steve Almond & Cheryl Strayed (author of Wild and general badass). From dodging the stickiness of friends-with-benefits to healing after the loss of a parent, the Sugars tackle it all with the kindness and wisdom of lives well-lived. Even if the episode’s topic isn’t relevant to your life, I’ve found there’s something incredibly helpful about listening to other people’s problems and realizing that no one really has it all together. -Maggie

5. Today Means Amen by Sierra Demulder

This is my go-to book during times of personal crisis.  The poems are short and illustrative, and I find that reading them out loud, to myself or others, is really grounding. -Jess

6. Guided Meditation for Meeting Your Future Self

I’m a big believer in visualization exercises, so I love this guided meditation that guides you to imagine and meet your future self. It’s great to listen to when you’re awake and want to work on actively finding a solution to a dilemma through a meditative journey, or it can work as a soothing track to fall asleep to. It’s worked every time for me, and I’m almost always asleep by the middle of the track! -Yuri


7. Pacifica

This is my go-to mental health app, where I can track my mood and goals and set up small challenges for myself to work on therapy goals. The mood tracker allows you to input your mood as many times a day as you’d like, which is a great feature for people who cycle through highs and lows within short periods of time. When I was mid-depressive episode, this was a great motivator to get out of bed, take my medication as prescribed, and identify patterns that helped me feel better. -Bri

8. Stop, Breathe & Think

A great meditation app! It asks you to enter how you’re feeling physically and mentally as well as enter emotions you’re feeling or felt that day. Using that information, the app provides you with catered meditations! -Will

9. 30/30

This is a time management app that I use to keep track of how much time I spend on assignments and tasks.  You add your to-do’s for the day and enter in a specific amount of time for each one.  The app will let you know when it’s time to move on to the next task – it really helps me keep my day moving! -Jess

10. Meditation Studio

This is the only app I have ever paid for, and that’s because it’s damn good. It breaks down meditations into collections such as stress, sleep, anxiety, and quick breaks, and you can download meditations so they are available offline. They also feature different teachers, so you can find ones that you really click with and rule out ones you don’t. They’re often quite empowering and the “pep talk” is my go-to before exams! -Bri


11. Knitting

If I’m feeling a bit restless I find it really helpful to do something repetitive. I like to knit during tough lectures (if I’m not taking notes) or even when I’m watching TV or listening to music.  I find that it helps me calm down when I’m feeling stressed or anxious. As a result my scarves are hideous, but I think it’s still totally worth it. -Jess

12. Good Morning Journal

I never imagined that I would be a journaling-type person, and to be honest, I’m really not. The only reason I started was because I like to live my life efficiently, and journaling in the morning takes care of two of my New Year’s Resolutions in one: write more, and waste less time on my phone when I wake up. Now every morning I cut myself off after 10min on my phone (I’m only human), and pick up my journal to complete three statements: Today, I am grateful for; I am focusing on; I am feeling. I also jot down any other thoughts that are just taking up too much space in my brain. I’m the kind of the person who tends to think every emotional state is permanent, so it’s nice to be able look back and see ways in which I am making progress, as I complete tasks and feel differently day to day. -Maggie

13. Bullet Journaling

My bullet journal is the best thing for keeping my school stress in check. My journal is not only an organizational tool, but a great creative outlet where I can write my school tasks, journal how I’m feeling, write weekly goals, track habits, and do motivational doodles. I’ve even created a spread in my mental health section with a line graph of my medication doses. Collecting washi tapes, stickers, and pens has become a great hobby that is healthy for me as well ? -Bri

With love from the Zencare team! ❤