I’m sure many people in the chronic illness community use various technology or phone apps to help manage their illness. These are five that I’ve found to be useful. Unfortunately most of these apps are paid, but I have really found they help my life every day- so I’m sharing them anyway. Most importantly, I haven’t been asked to promote these apps! (App creators- happy to receive rewards for this promotion, wink wink!)
Ever forgotten to take your medication? This app reminds you what pills to take and when. You can add in each of your pills including their colour and size. I haven’t missed a single day of taking my tablets since I’ve used Pillboxie. Once you’ve had your pill, you go in the app and tick the box. You could use reminders or calendars, but I’ve found Pillboxie the most effective approach for me. It also records the data so you can look back on medication you’ve taken.
Building new habits when you’re chronically ill is difficult. Particularly if you remember the old you, that used to achieve so much before you were unwell. This app can help you break bad old habits (like trying to eat less junk food) or start new habits that will have a positive impact on your health (such as meditating every day for 5 minutes). The app has a bunch of prepared habits, or you can put in your own. You can also allow Streaks to use your phone’s Health app, so it can use data from there.
Since I’ve started using Streaks, just a month ago, I’ve started some great habits including meditating and reading every day.
Stop, Breathe & Think
This meditation app is my absolute favourite. There are many out there that people enjoy for different reasons. I have the full paid version of this app but you can use a lite version for free. I’ve used it for a few years now but if you’re wanting to start meditating, I highly recommend this app to get you into a habit. It’ll give you stickers as rewards and keeps track of how many hours and days in a row you’ve meditated. When you open the app, it prompts you to ‘check in’ to rate your mental and physical health, along with five emotions in order to recommend meditations to help you at the time.
My favourite meditation on the app is called ‘Relax, ground and clear’.
While this might seem like an obvious suggestion, I recommend using Health because it can pair up with other apps like Streaks. While I have an iphone, there are many android phones with similar built-in apps. One of the great features if you’re trying to keep track of your wellbeing with a chronic illness is simply looking back at the pedometer and how many steps you’ve been taking. On some days I find that I don’t walk many steps, but I’m expending a lot of mental energy and vice versa. When we were overseas I was healthier than expected, even with walking over 10,000 on a number of days. Keeping track of your steps can also help monitor the need for complete rest days.
I’m only new to using Seven but it has great benefits. I was recommended by my neurologist to attempt to exercise for six minutes a week. That’s right, six minutes! (Tough to hear when I once did a half-marathon and Tough Mudder). I was totally confused until I watched an episode of Catalyst (http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/4319131.htm).
Basically, increasing your VO2 max (the oxygen your mitochondria receives) for just for a few minutes a week helps your body create healthy mitochondria. Since I’ve got mitochondrial disease, it only makes sense to give this a try. Seven lets you select from a range of work outs or to create your own. The exercises are simple and demonstrated to you by an animated figure. Of course, seek advice from your medical professional before starting a new exercise routine.
Comment below on what apps you use to help monitor your chronic illness. All the best for 2018!