Best new apps for bettering yourself

That therapist, a lesson you actually have time for and a workout you might actually do daily might be one app away

That therapist, a lesson you actually have time for and a workout you might actually do daily might be one app

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Each day we are inundated with the ideas, advice, foods and exercises that promise to revolutionize and make us the best version of ourselves — and in recent years, there's been no shortage of apps that provide all of this to us at any time, anywhere.  It can be overwhelming to the point of discouraging! Getting to the help you need shouldn't add stress to your plate, and with that in mind, we've created a short list of apps that may be new to you, and offer exactly the guidance you've been looking for. Whether it's help for your digestive system, an opportunity to learn a little when you only have minutes to spare, or HIIT for your mind, here are 10 apps that we hope bring you happiness and health.


AIRE is the first ever digestible tracker that focuses on your gut health. By doing FODMAP tests (testing various ingredients and how each reacts in your gut), data is then rendered and can help suggest dietary options specific to you. You use the breath test device in conjunction with the app so you can get the best feedback and find the foods that are most compatible with your system. — The breath test device is small, portable and more affordable and accessible than those typically found in hospitals. The product and its app is currently in pre-order stage and will run you $145 (plus a $12 shipping fee). Deliveries are expected to roll out come August 2017.


What if you could gradually learn a new language during those split moments when you're waiting to connect to WI-FI or for a website to load? Developed by a team of MIT CSAIL researchers, WaitSuite is a collection of apps seeking to help you learn French or Spanish regardless of what else you have open or are waiting on IRL. The key feature is that the tools prompt you so you don't have to set a reminder. Instead the flash cards pop-up and may challenge you to translate a word quickly while your email sends, or while you're waiting for the elevator you may get a flash card that reminds you to keep the rhythm of your learning going, regardless if you have one minute or one hour. Think of it like HIIT training for the mind. Here's a quick demo to get you better acquainted with the notion of "wait-learning."


If you're someone who needs visual cues as well as a motivating voice behind the exercises, check out this free app. You'll find a bevy of workouts that combine yoga, strength, core, cardio, etc., with demos of each. The exercises don't require equipment and they are pretty step-by-step when it comes to instructions so chances are you won't be getting confused and instead you'll focus on getting more energized. No need to complicate your life anymore, how about just stick to the basics?


BetterHelp connects users to professional, accredited therapists that are there to listen, help and guide you, anytime you need. The first step is to fill out a questionnaire to help better match you to a fitting counselor. Once you've been matched you can chat when is convenient for you (via phone or computer) and your dedicated "room" remains a private space between you and the selected professional. Live chat sessions, live phone sessions and live video sessions all require scheduling, but the messaging feature is available 24/7 and you'll receive an email notification once your counselor has sent you a message back. Plus, you can request a new counselor at anytime should you not be satisfied. Over 200,000 people have received assistance so far and more than two million sessions have taken place. Counseling services range roughly between $50 and $100.


Managing our well-being is a day-to-night effort, so problems arising within the workplace should not be pushed aside. STOPit is a new app that gives employees the power to file reports regarding bullying, discrimination and harassment, all done anonymously through its platform. It's common to hear about ethical messes at companies (think Uber, for example), yet actually reporting such matters is still a lengthy process. There's also a fear attached with reporting someone, which can hinder a lot of people coming forward when they need to. STOPit allows photos or videos to be attached to the report as evidence, but no personal information from the user is recorded. Think about it this way: if there are a bundle of reports being submitted about a certain co-worker (or group of workers), STOPit may just give the push that HR needs to look deeper into the company culture and its potential shortcomings. That's a win in itself.

7-Minute Workout

Some days you don't have time to do your full workout, or, you're just not up for it. It happens. This app gives you a 7-minute workout so you can push yourself in a short period of time, combining various cardio and strength routines. You can be your own personal trainer for under 10 minutes, folks! The mix of exercises from squats to wall-sits to crunches can be done virtually anywhere, too.


Available only on iPhone, Beddit is a sleep system app that monitors your sleep patterns by using the iPhone sensor. Tracking sleep, heart rate, breathing, snoring, and so on is important in our overall health and Beddit allows us to do just this without having to go through strenuous tasks or try to find time to see a sleep doctor (nothing against sleep doctors though!).

The app assesses factors in your environment as well as characteristics of your resting practice to help provide insight, allowing you to actually understand your sleep patterns.


You live a busy lifestyle, we get it, but that's more of a reason to have handy recipes that you can cook up on the fly. The step-by-step, voice-activated cooking app allows you to follow instructions without having to wipe your hands clean of the sauce you're making. Instead, you just simply listen. Not only does the app give you the recipes but it unleashes "how to" approaches and tricks that will help save you time and make your dish reach its full potential. SideChef works with a whole batch of food partners too, providing a comprehensive mix of styles and flavours, essential for any home cooked meal to be enjoyed à la maison or on-the-go. Thanks to its prompts and notifications, you will be able to stay on track—it may just feel like you've got a personal chef in the kitchen making sure you don't muck up.

Pocket Yoga

Do you find yourself constantly telling your body to slow down, breathe and take a moment? What about your mind? Sometimes trying to listen to your panic-stricken voice doesn't really help though, however, an app like Pocket Yoga may be your ticket to finding some solace. With well over 25 classes available to choose from there's certainly something that will get you keen. The added voice guide provides calming instructions too, helping while you're on the go, and it comes complete with relaxing music. You can have a peek at the various positions, stretches and movements you'll be doing beforehand (some are difficult!) and you can pick where your sweet little avatar does the class—a sunny beach, perhaps? You can also now move and/or delete poses, music, etc. from a sequence in order to suit your preference. Downloading Pocket Yoga on iPhone will cost $2.99 and it's $4.09 on Android. If you're looking for a free yoga app that's more driven towards beginners, there's also Daily Yoga, which offers an extensive amount of yoga poses and classes to circle through.

REI's Trail Run

Exploring the outdoors is something we should all take time to do, but will we? Perhaps this app will help boost you into picking various trails around your city. Use this app to locate the trails nearby while also taking in visuals and trail details so you know what to expect. One day you may be more amped than the next and this app will cater to those different moods. Oh, and you can use the app on or offline so you don't need to worry about not being able to find the information you need.  This is just one of the many outdoors-y apps available from REI Co-op. The app is free, but do note that some areas have more available trails listed than others.