It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The holiday season has arrived. As most of us know, along with it comes major stress. The stress of buying the perfect gift, fighting through throngs of people to get said gift, holiday travel plans, and the ultimate stress – getting together with the family. Before you have visions of fighting with your uncle over politics while asking to pass the stuffing – help is on the way! Since all of us are constantly connected to one another and the world at large via the tiny computers in our hands, aka phones, why not put technology to good use? Check out these apps to aid with your holiday season. From mediation guides to organizational tips, there is sure to be something to help you have the smoothest and most enjoyable holiday season ever!
For starters, the app Pacifica is designed specifically to help you deal with stress and anxiety, which for many is known to be particularly cumbersome throughout the holiday season. The app is based on cognitive therapy and it also offers techniques for relaxation and general wellness. It works like this: You track your daily activities which you can either type in or record vocally. The app then tracks what activities that might be triggering your stress and anxiety in order to make changes that work for you. This one might be particularly helpful for getting through stressful moments during the holiday season. It’s available for free on iOS and Android phones, although there may be some in-app purchases.
If you enjoy online shopping then you absolutely must check out Paribus! Paribus is a service that monitors your purchases at stores through your email account. Paribus monitors your email for purchases from around thirty stores and checks to see if prices have dropped since you have made a purchase. Then the service contacts the store on your behalf and negotiates a price-matching refund. This all done for free. If you are okay with allowing the service to monitor your email account then this one is definitely worth a look. Especially for all of those Christmas-related online shopping purchases! You can check this one out by going to the website and signing in with your email account at https://paribus.co/.
GPS For The Soul
GPS For the Soul is an app created by Arianna Huffington and Deepak Chopra. This is another one that will definitely come in handy while attempting to navigate the dynamics of family throughout the holiday season. It works like this: the app offers different kinds of guides to aid you throughout your stress. The guides range from peaceful photographs, meditation, breathing exercises and even yoga. You are able to personalize the guides by uploading your own inspirational quotes, uploading photos of family and adding music you find relaxing. This one might just help you mediate your way through Thanksgiving dinner! The app is available for free on iOS. While there are many guides to choose from, you can also create your own by uploading photos of loved ones or by adding your own music or quotes. Once the guide has launched, a breathing pacer will help you measure your breathing.
Are you worried about how you can afford gifts for the kids this holiday season? If so, this app and financial company might be for you. With Affirm you are able to get small loans which will allow you to choose how you pay it off, from 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month plans. Often, even people with poor credit can qualify for loans with Affirm. Another excellent feature of the company is that when you download the app, you are able to shop at any store and they will issue you a virtual credit card. If you pay back your loan in full faster than expected you are often able to pay less interest. And perhaps the best part of all, the only fees involved are the interest and it is listed upfront so there are no hidden fees. This app will definitely help you relieve some holiday stress when you don’t have to spend a huge amount of money upfront and pay off gifts over time.
Pay It Forward
Pay It Forward is an app that is particularly fantastic in light of the holiday season. This app aims to improve your mental wellness by giving back. The creators of the app believe that engaging in acts of kindness will help bring about happiness. The app encourages you to continue to do a different act of kindness every day while keeping track of your own personal happiness. It seems that the two are actually linked. You can get this app on iOS or Android for 99 cents. Remember, it’s the reason for the season!
Experts agree that one of the healthiest ways to deal with holiday stress is through exercise. However, during the busy season and for those who travel away from their home base, getting a work out in can end up being quite the difficult endeavor. One app that aims to overcome this problem is Sworkit. Sworkit is an app that brings you customized workouts in order to help you exercise while your away. Some of the plans are even a short 15 minutes of exercise. But just 15 minutes can really do wonders for your mental health.
Because of the stress of the holiday season, many will tell you that we may need a little “zen” in our lives. The Buddha Board app aims to do just that with the process of painting. For many people, painting can be a very soothing activity. Buddha Board offers you that in a virtual form. Perhaps if you are stressed out dealing with family or even in the midst of the Christmas shopping craziness, you can take a break to paint in the app. You use your fingers on the app and then the design will slowly disappear which aims to clear your mind. The Buddha Board app is available for free on iOS.
Self-Help Anxiety Management
For many people who suffer from various mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, the holiday season can be almost intolerable. The app Self-Help Anxiety Management aims to help you get through the tough moments. The app works like this: it aims to track what is causing you anxiety or stress and then offers solutions with which to combat it. Then, it will create a graph which will help you track and monitor your own anxiety as well as what works for you to overcome it. Sounds like this would be a perfect app for you if you struggle with any of these very common issues. It is available for free on iOS or Android.
This app is definitely for those who are traveling throughout the holidays. Hopper is an app that aims to help you specifically with getting the best-priced flight. You can pre-set what travel destinations you are interested in and the app will alert you when cheap flights are available. As we all know, the closer you get to the holidays, the more expensive flights become. So, if you need to catch a plane for your holiday travel plans, you should probably download this app soon so you can still try to secure a decently priced flight. Happy holiday season travels!
Santa’s Bag is an app that was created just for the Christmas season – as is evident by the title alone! This one aims to help you keep track of your gift-giving and budget for the Christmas season. Santa’s Bag app is essentially a shopping list with some amazing extra features. You can arrange the list by the gift-recipient or the store you plan to shop at, and the app will monitor how much you have to spend. In true Santa fashion you can also even record your hiding places for your gifts, so you don’t forget where you hid them! The app is available free on iOS, and there also in-app purchases available.
Here’s another app for those who intend to travel during the holiday season should take a look at. Kayak is a travel app which helps with the entirety of planning. From searching for flights, hotels and rental cars, all for the same date – Kayak is your one one-stopp. You can also make your search even more specific by searching by amenities or price. You are also able to plan out a trip for multiple people at once, so you can see one full group price, which might come in handy for some families. Whatever the case might be, any app that can help organize family trips around the holidays are always welcomed!
Red Stamp Cards
It seems like every holiday season you find yourself scrambling around trying to get a halfway decent holiday photo of your family, right? This can be even more complicated to accomplish if you have young kids. However, The Red Stamp app streamlines the entire holiday card process for you, thereby eliminating the stress involved. With an extremely user friendly app you can upload your own photo and then choose various greeting card templates, color schemes, and even custom text. In less than five minutes you can have your very own greeting card. Then you can share the image digitally or you can purchase cards through the app and they will mail them out for you. Talk about a holiday dream come true!
Slice is another app you should look into if holiday shopping brings on the stress. Slice is an app that helps you maintain all of your online shopping. It monitors your purchase, let’s you know when there has been a price drop, a product recall, tracks your shipment and even saves your receipts for you. One of the most loved features is that it has all of your order confirmations in one place making it far easier than having to scan through your entire inbox. This app is available for free on both iOS and Android.
For those who might already struggle with anxiety and know that the holiday season is a particularly difficult time, the Breathe2Relax app might be for you. The aim apps to be a “portable stress management tool”. The app uses one skill in particular: breathing exercises or diaphragmatic breathing. Breathing exercises have long been used to help people cope with various mechanism’s or stress. This can definitely be helpful throughout the holiday season when sometimes it feels as though stress is becoming unmanageable even for those who don’t suffer from anxiety. This app is one handy little tool to have in your pocket, literally!
Christmas Gift List
Christmas Gift List is another created just for the Christmas season. With all the latest toys and tech constantly being advertised, it’s easy to get carried away and buy countless items. However, if a budget is important, then this app is for you. Christmas Gift List keeps track of the people you need to buy gifts for and also maintains a budget for your Christmas list. Even better, the app saves your information from year to year so you can monitor what you spend and also make sure you don’t make the dreaded mistake of giving the safe gift twice. The app is available for free on Android.
Coming up with the perfect gift can often be one of the most stressful parts of the holiday season. We often put massive pressure on ourselves and one another and lose the true reason for the season. Eliminate the gift-giving stress when you download the app Giftster. Giftster basically acts like an idea registry and you can even enlist your loved ones to sign up as well. Then either you can create lists or your friends and family can list items they like, which makes it very easy to buy a gift everyone will love. Then, everyone can mark off if the gift has been purchased so no one else will buy it. You can even include details like clothing sizes which can really eliminate the guessing game of gift buying. In addition to holidays, the app would also be perfect for birthday or even weddings. Giftster is available for free on Android and iOS.
Are you traveling for the holidays? If you have done your sharing of hotel stays, you’ll know that sometimes hotel parking is only available for outlandish fees in addition to already high room fees. If you area already scrambling around in a town you don’t know well during the holiday rush, this can definitely amplify the stress. For others, it might even trigger other difficult conditions like anxiety. However, there’s an app to eliminate the stress before it even starts. SpotHero is an app that helps you find the cheapest and closest parking spot near you. The app also offers cashless parking, which is a lifesaver when you don’t have any cash in hand. You are able to pay through the app and given a barcode which you can then scan. The app is also known to have impeccable customer service.
Everyone should feel happy throughout the most wonderful time of the year and the app Happify’s slogan is “How you feel matters.” Happify helps you to sort through all kinds of mental wellness issues like stress, anxiety, depression and negative thinking. The app sports an array of helpful tools that aim to help you identify your stressors and triggers, as well as offering you helpful excercises to overcome your challenging areas. For many people, the holiday season can really bring up a lot of stressful and negative thought patterns so this app is a good one to delve into to help ensure you stay the happiest you can be. The app also sports the claim that “86% of people who use Happify regularly report feeling better about their lives in 2 months!” Hey, it’s worth a shot!
Although the holiday season is known as the most wonderful time of the year, its also arguably the busiest! If you have children, it can get even crazier. This is where the app Picniic can help you out. The app serves as your personal schedule manager and can help juggle all of your holiday get togethers, family function, kids’ schedules and even shopping. Another great feature is that parents can share access which makes it easier to know exactly what’s going on with no confusion. Streamlining schedules definitely alleviates the stress of the holiday season and this app is a great option for busy parents! This app is available for free on Android and iOS, but you can also buy a premium subscription with even fancier features for $11.99 a month.
NORAD Tracks Santa
Now, perhaps the most important app of the entire list is the NORAD Santa tracker! The app monitors Santa’s location throughout the Christmas holiday so you and your children are able to see just where he is on his stop. One of the best ways to combat stress is to take a step back and remember the joy of the season, which is easy to see if you only look upon the excited faces of children waiting for Santa. Of course, as every kid knows Santa only works his magic on your house when everyone is tucked away safely to bed. The app also has some great other features including activities, games, videos and other fun Santa related items. No one is ever too old for the magic of Santa! The NORAD Santa Tracker is available for free on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.