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November 19, 2014

No-stress holidays: Lumia apps to help you relax

Keep your sanity and find inner peace with the help of your Lumia and these Windows Phone apps.

It’s the start of the holiday season, which can be joyous and stressful.

There’s the preparation of elaborate “Game of Thrones”-style celebratory meals, spending time with family and friends you haven’t seen since last Christmas, buying and wrapping a multitude of gifts, and perhaps driving or flying many hours to see loved ones. For some of us, it also means wearing 17 extra layers of clothing to ward off the winter cold.

Honestly, all the fuss can make you want to take a holiday from the holidays!

Thankfully, there’s help. From yoga and meditation to sleep aids and nature sounds, load these Windows Phone apps on your Lumia to help you relax.

Yoga for Meditation (free)

There’s no doubt that yoga can leave you feeling refreshed and renewed. But who can spare the time for a 90-minute yoga class?


With the Yoga for Meditation app for Windows Phone 8, you don’t have to. The app contains 115 poses (or “asanas”), high-definition videos and detailed step-by-step instructions. That way, you have all the information you need to perform a personal yoga session before work or even during your lunch break.


The Mindfulness App ($1.99)

Meditation, experts tell us, can help quell anxiety and restore a sense of calm. This app for Windows Phone 7.5 and above will help you do just that.

The app contains four guided meditations of different durations. They range from three minutes (consider it a “booster shot” of serenity) to five, 15 and 30 minutes. Choose whether you prefer to be guided by voice or to just sit in silence, with bells ringing at pre-set times.

Other perks: You can set reminders on when and where to meditate as well as design your own meditation and save it within the app. Can you say “Om”?!

Sleep Bug (free/paid)

Daytime worries often translate into sleepless nights, leaving us even grumpier and more tired the next day. To avoid holiday-related insomnia, you could listen to the soporific tunes of Coldplay and nod off instantly—or you could use the much more palatable Sleep Bug app for Windows Phone 8 and above.

The free app, which has more than two million users worldwide, features 24 calming scenes (like waterfall, jungle, city, beach, etc.) and more than 300 ambient sounds. You can add instruments to create your own serene musical soundscape and even set a sleep timer if you plan on taking an efficiency nap.

Sound Meditation ($1.99)

Sometimes, there are so many things we need to do that we forget to add “remember to breathe” to our to-do list. Sound Meditation for Windows Phone 8 and up enables you to quiet the inner din.


Create a compilation of sounds tailored to your own tastes, add individual sounds, balance out the volumes, set a duration timer and then pin them to your Lumia’s Start screen for easy access when you need to find a happy place.

Tips to Help You Relax

1. Turn off tech an hour before bed. Research shows that bright LED screens and the additional sensory stimulation make it harder for you to relax. If you watch TV to help you unwind, use a TV timer so it automatically shuts off.

2. Yogis call “savasana” the most important pose. It’s a pose of total relaxation: Lie flat on the floor with arms and legs outstretched while emptying your mind and listening to your breathing. The pose reduces blood pressure and muscle tension while energizing you and improving your focus.

3. Exercise is the number one stress-buster. All exercise, including running, cycling, swimming, weight-lifting, or even a brisk walk produce feel-good endorphins, natural chemicals that act as painkillers and help you sleep better.


Have you tried any of these apps? Let us know. I find The Mindfulness App especially helpful on days when I’m feeling a bit more stressed than usual.