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12 Apps & Tools to Help Protect Your Mental Health at Work

Working online, especially in social media, presents its own unique set of challenges for our mental health.

From never fully switching off from our work and constant ping notifications on our mobiles to receiving hurtful comments on our Instagram accounts, it can be difficult to protect our mental health each day.

To mark Mental Health Awareness Month in the US, and Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK, we’re rounding up some of the best tools, features, and apps to help build your resilience both at home and at work.

Create a More Mindful Instagram Space for Work:

If you’re a brand on Instagram or a social media manager, you know all too well how time spent scrolling easily adds up.

But it’s not just time online that could be affecting your mental health. Constant push notifications, Direct Messages, and comments on your posts could be impacting you more than you realize.

Thankfully, Instagram has some great features that you can use to soothe your scrolling experience and find some headspace throughout your working day.

#1. Mute Push Notifications on Instagram

Need a little quiet time away from Instagram?

You can use the mute feature to silence Instagram’s push notifications for a set amount of time. From 15 minutes to 8 hours, you can choose how long you’d like to take a break.

When the time is up, your notifications will return to its normal settings without having to be reset. That means, you can easily carry on with your work after getting the downtime you need!

Of course, if you’d like to turn off push notifications completely, you can do this through your phone settings:

#2. Use Instagram to Manage Your Time Spent on the App

When you’re working on your Instagram strategy and engaging with your audience, it’s all too easy to spend a chunk of your day on the app.

Instagram knows that you don’t have to be online all the time to engage and manage your account, so they created a tool to help you set limits on how much time you spend on the app.

Using the Daily Reminder tool, you can choose how much time you want to spend on Instagram every day. Then set a daily reminder to give yourself an alert when you’ve reached the set time.

It’s a great way to manage your time and raise your awareness of how much time you’re spending on Instagram each day. Once you’ve maxed out your Instagram time, you know to power down and close the app.

#3. Block Offensive Comments on Your Instagram Account

Thankfully, most of Instagram is a friendly, inclusive place, but trolling and offensive comments can, unfortunately, seep into your profile and have a negative impact on your mental health – especially if those comments are targeting you, your business and your community.

It’s time to put a stop to negative comments on your profile — within Instagram’s settings, you can block offensive words that you don’t want to appear on your feed:

To access the tool, click the “Privacy and Security” from the Settings menu and scroll to tap “Comment Controls.”

Note: This tool is only available in English at the moment, but Instagram will continue rolling out more languages over time.

#4. Take the Focus Away From Your Likes

Recently announced at F8, Instagram is officially testing hidden likes on posts with a percentage of users in Canada.

That means that Instagram is already making moves towards reducing the importance of a post’s like count. And if you’re part of the test group, your profile and posts may look something like this:

Unfortunately, there is no way to opt-in to hidden likes if you’re not part of the test group. But you can start building a habit of ignoring the likes as much as you can.

Instead of watching that like count on your recent post go up as the day goes by, try to focus on your overall engagement rate when it comes to building your social report at the end of the week or month instead.

Also if you spend time reviewing the positive comments and saves you’ve had on your posts, your mindset will shift away from the heart icon, and realize that success on Instagram is more than a like count!

#5. Schedule Your Instagram Content in Advance

When we speak to social media managers and business owners who use Later, the one thing they love is that you can “plan it and leave it”.

Being able to schedule your Instagram content in for a week (or more!) ahead of time means that you can set specific time aside for Instagram, and then not have to spend so much time on the app each day.

“The platform I utilize to post a lot of my social media posts is called Later. It allows me to disconnect from the app and just have it on a desktop, where I can still do my work and create, but… there’s some distance. There’s something about that distance that can be so, so, so good for the soul.” –@beingisbeautiful

If you want to help safeguard your time, schedule your content to auto-publish in advance with Later, so you can get onto more important things in your day.

#6. Go Grey on Mobile to Focus on Your Tasks

If you have Google Pixel phone, you can literally grey out your screen so you can focus on using the apps that need your attention.

By removing any distractions, you may find your mind will be able to better focus on one task at a time, and your overwhelming thoughts could be reduced too.

via android.gadgethacks.com

Just follow these steps to set your phone screen to Grayscale. You can also set a Do Not Disturb and Night Light setting on your phone too!

Use Apps to Find Moments of Calm in Your Work Day:

When you break it down, we spend the majority of our waking hours at work. Our brains are often at full capacity with deadlines, to-do lists, reports, meetings, phone calls — the list can seem endless!

So it’s easy to see how our mind can feel overwhelmed.

While every job is bound to have some stressful periods, there are ways that you can start to incorporate small moments of calm and mindful actions to help relieve any work-related anxiety.

Here are some apps and tools to try out at work:

#7. Clear Your Mind with Headspace App

The award-winning and research-backed meditation app is a team-favorite here at Later.

Headspace has hundreds of meditations (some are just 5 minutes long!) on everything from stress to sleep to focus and anxiety.

When it comes to stress, a work-based study found that 30 days of Headspace lowered stress by 32%, and just 4 sessions reduced burnout by 14%.

So if you’re looking for ways to quiet the internal chatter in your mind at work, pop on some headphones and give Headspace a try.

Available on iOS and Android.

#8. Build Healthy Habits with The Fabulous App

Taking care of your physical and mental wellbeing often starts with building a healthy habit.

Whether that’s a reminder to drink more water, take a break from your screen or to get outdoors on your lunch break, The Fabulous app helps you build that into your day.

While you’re building new habits with small, daily changes, you can also learn some of the science around mental health.

Available on iOS and Android.

#9. Get in the Zone with Noisili App

Looking to block out external noise and find some focus?

To help you improve your focus and boost your productivity, Noisili lets you mix different sounds and create your perfect work environment.

Whether you want to listen to the background noises of a cafe, or the ocean waves crashing in a thunderstorm — you got it!

We find it useful for helping us focusing on a detailed project we find overwhelming to get started with  — a good background noise soundtrack can make all the difference to relieving stress and keeping our attention focused on the task.

Available on desktop, iOS and Android.

#10. Record Your Thoughts with Aloe Bud App

Are you finding your thoughts a bit overwhelming? Sometimes getting them down on paper can help, but that in itself can feel like a daunting task when there’s a lot going on in your head.

Aloe Bud app helps you organize those thoughts with small and simple reflection prompts to help you micro-journal how you’re feeling each day.

Instead of being presented with an intimidating blank page, the bite-sized check-ins help encourage writing down your thoughts while reducing overwhelming feelings.

Available on iOS.

#11. Reduce Your Phone Screen Time with Moment

If you work online, we can probably guess that you spend a lot of time on your phone.

Whether that’s managing your Instagram, answering emails, editing your photos — we spend a lot of time looking at a small screen in our hands.

If you’re looking to reduce your screen time (especially outside of work hours!) try out Moment app.

Through short, daily exercises tailored to you by a Moment Coach, the app helps you use your phone in a healthy way so that you can be more present for the parts of life that matter most.

Available on iOS and Android.

#12. Stretch Out Some Stress with DeskJob App

Sitting and staring at your screen for too long will only add to your stress levels — so getting up, moving and stretching it out is so important for your mental and physical health.

Take a look a DeskJob app — it’s a basic app that simply reminds you to take a break from your desk and guides you through some easy stretches you can do at work. There’s nothing fancy about it — just useful prompts keep your mind and body nimble!

Available on iOS.

Take Time Each Day to Check-in On Your Mental Health

Whether you want to use an app to record your thoughts, or inwardly reflect on your feelings each day, dedicating time each day — no matter how busy your workday gets! — to your mental health is important.

And equally important, is sharing how you’re feeling and reaching out for help when you need it.

This month, Instagram has collaborated with the AFSP on a public awareness campaign called #RealConvo. It aims is to raise awareness of mental health and to inspire people to share their personal mental health experiences.

In an interview with Mashable, Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) stressed that “every conversation, no matter how small, encourage progress”.

Some of Instagram’s most influential mental health-focused profiles are taking part in the campaign, sharing their personal experience and helping build the conversation further.

Founders of @SadGirlsClub and @SadBoysOrg, Elyse Fox & Kelvin Hamilton created a video as part of the campaign:

Along with other influencers like actress Sasha Pieterse, and advocates like Gabby Frost, founder and CEO of @BuddyProject and Vivian Nunez, founder of @2damnyoung, the campaign promotes the importance of being vulnerable online and creating healthy dialogue around mental health disorders like depression.

While the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety, and other mental health problems, present themselves in different ways for different people, if you’re feeling down at work (and at home), it’s important to remember that there are people around who are able and willing, to help you.

Chatting with friends, family and your work manager — as well as seeking professional help from your doctor — can help you work through difficult periods.

For more information on protecting your mental health, check out MentalHealth.gov, National Institute of Mental Health, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, or Mental Health UK.

Want to Speak to Someone Now?

Contact the National Suicide Prevention lifeline at 800.273.TALK (8255)

Contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741

Call The Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123 (UK)

Not in the US or UK? Find an international crisis line here

Written By

Nikki Canning

Nikki is Later’s Blog Editor. She’s worked in digital media in Dublin, London, and Sydney & loves nothing more than hitting “publish” on a new post. On a weekend, you’ll find her outdoors, patting a stranger’s dog or scrolling Instagram to plan her next adventure — follow along on @nikkitravelled.