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In this episode, one woman shows us the free apps that help her more easily manage her mental and physical health. Click here to learn about the daily habits that make for increased happiness:

Through weekly video essays, "Making It Work" showcases how *real* people have upgraded their personal or financial lives in some meaningful way. Making your life work for you doesn't mean getting rich just for the sake of it. It means making the most of what you have to build a life you love, both in your present and in your future. And while managing money is a crucial life skill for everyone, there's no one "right way" to go about it — you have to figure out what works best for *you,* full stop.

Video narration by Brittany King

Video by Grace Lee

Based on an article by Mercedes Killeen

The Financial Diet site:

As someone living with chronic mental illness, sometimes I feel like I spend all of my energy and money just trying to get better, whether it's buying a yoga studio membership, paying for medications out of pocket, or simply traveling to and from medical appointments.

My health costs can rapidly add up. But as a millennial, I do have the advantage of being tech savvy and regularly accessing health apps.

Since I'm lucky enough to have a smartphone and a stable internet connection, there are countless resources available to me completely free of cost. I like to joke to my therapist that I have an app for everything, because over the years of trying to manage my mental illnesses, I've gotten pretty creative. There have been times when my only source of income was social assistance or disability payments so I'm always looking for ways to cut costs and streamline the way I manage my health.

These apps are ones I found personally useful, and which all have comprehensive free versions. Most of them have freemium versions, but I've gotten along just fine with the lowest tier. Number one.

Clue, period tracker. Clue is a comprehensive period tracking app. As a menstruating human, this has been an invaluable tool in managing my overall health.

Personally, my mood is intricately linked with my cycle. I have PMDD, which is essentially an extreme version of PMS. This means that I need to be constantly aware of where I am in my cycle, because a depressive episode could be on the horizon.

Clue offers comprehensive menstruating tracking, allowing me to note the length, flow, and severity of my period and its associated symptoms. And since I've been using Clue for several years, it's compiled a lot of data on my health. I like that it automatically predicts the start date of my cycle so that I can work with my doctor to adjust the dosages of my medication accordingly.

It's also one of the rare period tracking apps which isn't super pink and girly in design. The layout is white and gray, making it more neutral and less gendered. Number two.

Daylio, mood tracker. Daylio acts as a mood tracking app. I use it everyday to log my mood, daily activities, and any additional notes.

It's made it easier to explain my symptoms to a therapist or doctor. As somebody who lives with borderline personality disorder, which involves massive fluctuations in mood, often in a matter of seconds, this has been an invaluable tool. It's easy to navigate, giving you the chance to customize different moods and activities with cute icons.

I also enjoy the weekly mood chart, which gives you a literal graph showing your mood. Number three. Habit.

Habit tracker. I tried to keep up with a handwritten habit tracker but found it hard to manage on a daily basis. Instead, I like using the tracking app Habit because it is personalized to my health goals.

For example, I use it to keep track of things like how many times a week I meditate or practice yoga, which are both big parts of my treatment plan. I just set up my goals and I put a checkmark beside them each day I complete them. Over time, I can see how many times per week and month I managed to accomplish them.

The app also shows me detailed stats and lets me know whether I've been improving or not. Number four. InsightTimer.

Meditation. There are a lot of meditation and health apps out there, many of which are quite pricey. InsightTimer, on the other hand, has a great free version.

I especially like how you can search for very specific types of meditation tracks based on filters like length, topic, et cetera. I'm not great with self-guided meditation, so this has been a nice tool to keep up my home practice. It's one of my favorite ways to cope with stress and anxiety.

And this app makes it easy to do. Number five. MediSafe.

Medication reminder. I cannot even begin to describe the difference MediSafe has made in my life. At one point, I was on three different daily medications which made it extremely hard to keep track of whether I'd taken a certain pill and when I should take the next one.

I love how this app lets me set pill reminders so that I never miss a dose. It's also almost annoyingly persistent. If I don't take my meds at the right time, it keeps bugging me every 10 to 20 minutes with the notifications to do so.

While it can be irritating at the time, it helps me stay on top of my doses and even sends me progress reports on how consistently I've been taking my meds. Number six. Sanvello.

Mental health app, formerly Pacifica. While I don't use Sanvello on a daily basis, it's definitely worth keeping downloaded on my phone. This mental health app has many functions.

But the one I use most is the thought section under tools. In essence, it's a simplified version of CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy tools. Instead of using a pen and paper version of a thought record, which is a common CBD technique, I like to use this app instead.

It lets me write down my unhelpful thoughts, identify thinking traps, and work to reframe my thinking. There are also many other features like meditation tracks, inspirational quotes, and symptom tracking. Number 7.

Youper, AI mental health assistant. This is another mental health app which, while I don't use it on a daily basis, is nice to have available in times of distress. It's a pretty unique concept, an AI mental health assistant.

When I can't access an online crisis line or even my therapist, this is a useful tool to have. It's definitely limited but helpful all the same. I use the main Youper function to chat with the little AI assistant about what's going on.

When I'm feeling very low and need somewhere to vent, this is a reliable option. Online crisis lines can sometimes take over an hour to connect you with a counselor so I use Youper as an intermediary tool. It's not the same as talking to a real mental health professional, but it helps me get my thoughts out and process what's happening.

Then it recommends strategies based on my mood, like meditation tracks or other coping skills.