The Five Best Apps For Lockdown
While we all adjust to the new norm of lockdown one of the things to be thankful for is that we’re in the digital age, so tapping into the world’s resources and our own social connections has never been easier.
We can video-meet with our friends or colleagues on Zoom, follow fitness routines via YouTube, browse the news on our tablets, listen to our music of choice on Spotify, and then settle down in front of our smart TVs to watch the widest range of entertainment we’ve ever had before.
This reliance on technology means we’ve all been optimising our gadgets to see us through. We might have signed up for a couple of extra streaming services in case of emergency boredom or downloaded Houseparty to catch up with our pals from our sofa. But the good news is that those services are just the tip of the iceberg.
From social apps to anxiety-easing apps, there are myriad options to choose from to make our lives more fun, connected and easier while we stay at home. Here’s our pick of the apps that will help us ride out the lockdown.
Cutting back on our shopping trips means that you may find yourself at a loss at what to do with the odds and sods left in your fridge after a few days. What could you possibly whip up with prawns, lettuce, and aubergine? There are a host of recipe apps to help deliver culinary inspo, but none more suited to these times than SuperCook. You list the random ingredients you have in your kitchen, and it comes up with a range of creative recipes that you can make right away. It offers options to pick your key ingredient, and you can filter by diet, or browse collections based on what you need to use up first.
It’s only natural that this huge change in daily life may have an impact on our mental health, so hurrah for Headspace, an easy-to-use meditation app. It’s a little pricey at £9.99 a month, but it’s packed with ways to soothe unwelcome feelings and encourage internal calm to be restored. Expect live guided meditations, animations that teach us mindfulness, and exercises for specific circumstances, for example, when you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep. Best of all, you can customise the duration of your sessions (most are between three and ten minutes) so it will be easy to continue with once we return to our usual routines.
Navigating around the range of streaming services is a modern-day chore. Often you have a specific show in mind but you’re not quite sure where to watch it; other times you’re keen on watching a decently-rated movie, but don’t quite trust the service’s own star system. Enter JustWatch, an app that does for TV and movies what Skyscanner does for flights. See who’s streaming the show you’re in the mood for, or pick the streaming services you have, and filter according to year, RottenTomato rating and genre. While you’re in the telly-watching frame of mind, also download Rave, an app that allows you to sync video playback with your friends so you can watch altogether.
Fitbtit wearers rejoice: their app’s Premium service is available during the crisis with a 90-day free trial. It’s handy as the extra time reclaimed from our daily lives can be spent on our fitness and healthiness instead. Access audio and video workouts, get a breakdown on how you’ve been sleeping, and gain insights about your vital stats, to see the effect of your actions on your health.
If you pine for the days of idly stepping into a newsagent and buying a few mags to stay entertained, the next best thing is pretty darn decent: you can access a global supply of newspapers and magazines all from one app. Browse current and back issues of the big-hitters like The Guardian, Wall Street Journal and Vogue, as well as specialist magazines from T3 to Creative Knitting. You’ll note News International titles aren’t included, and another caveat is that the reading experience works best on a tablet. But with that in mind, it’s a treasure trove of reading material that will help make these weeks fly by.