A Holistic Approach to Self Care: Virtual Tools

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Managing physical and emotional well-being can be challenging enough during the best of times, however, 2020 has brought more than its fair share of uncertainty to Californians. We’re experiencing a global pandemic, discourse and tensions on racial injustice, unprecedented wildfires, extreme heat, and Public Safety Power Shut-off events. With all that’s happening it is more important than ever to take time for self-care.

With all of life’s responsibilities, it can be really hard to prioritize self-care. In the previously posted companion blog, A Holistic Approach to Self-Care: Hands-on Tools, we outlined physical tools that might assist you in your self-care. In this blog we will provide an overview of various virtual tools to assist you in your self-care journey.

A person with closed eyes and a calm expression on their face with frosted windows with plants the background.

Time for Yourself

Audible can be a fantastic service for individuals with processing disorders, intellectual or developmental disabilities, or blind/low-vision book lovers, or anyone who simply wants to listen to a story. Audible Plus ($7.95/mo) provides unlimited access to a massive Catalog of audiobooks and podcasts. Audible Premium Plus includes unlimited listening from the Audible Plus Catalog, plus 1 book credit a month for a book you keep, even if you cancel your subscription, 30% off all other titles you want, and access to exclusive sales.

And if you are interested in vintage audio treats, Radio OTR – Old Time Radio Shows and Internet Archive have original recordings of classic radio dramas, including, The Shadow, Gunsmoke and Suspense.

Book Clubs are available online, The Girlfriend Book Club, sponsored by AARP, focuses on literature for women 40 and over, The Andrew Luck Book Club was created by the former Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback and offers two recommendations a month respectively for youth, “Rookies”, and adults, “Veterans”, and the Now Read This Book Club created by the PBS NewsHourNew York Times and focuses on both works of fiction and nonfiction that reflect the issues of today.

Coloring apps like Color Therapy, Happy Color – Color by Number and Recolor – Adult Coloring Book are a great way to wind down feelings of stress and anxiety, in the palm of your hand.

Puzzle games are a great way to exercise your mind while having fun. Try classic games, like Daily Themed Crossword – A Fun crossword game, Kryss – The Battle of Words, and Just Jigsaws or venture into more interactive game types, like Merge Magic, Prison Games – Escape Rooms and Bubble Pop Origin! Puzzle Game.

For more ideas about solo virtual activities, and even more on how to socialize while practicing social distancing, please see the Ability Tools Tip Sheet – Tips For Safe Socializing!


Exercise benefits a whole host of physical and mental health concerns. So, just because you may not be able to go to the gym at the moment doesn’t mean you can’t get in a good workout.

Some free online options include the YMCA, which provides health and fitness videos, Seniorexercisesonline.com offers 5 minute workouts geared toward members of the aging community, and YouTube houses a variety of great fitness channels, such as: Sweat with Self‘s HIIT and Strength training videos, Move With Colour dance classes. and Yoga with Adriene‘s yoga videos.

Some paid options include Zombies, Run! ($5.99/mo or $34.99/yr) which frames interval cardio training around a mission-based audio story line of being a runner in the Zombie apocalypse. As a counter to that energy, Glo ($18/mo) offers Pilates, yoga and meditation. Or if your free time is not bountiful enough for a typical length class, try Seven ($9.99/mo or $59.99/yr) who provide, as you might guess, seven-minute workouts. No equipment required, just go.

Sleep Management

Good sleep is key to physical and mental health, and there are a whole host of apps that can assist you in getting the perfect night’s sleep. Aura app is an AI driven sleep management app that contains stories and music, Calm is a website that has music, sleep and meditation tracks, along with natural scenes to aid in gaining serenity via visual methods, and TM soft white noise not only offers white noise listening options, it also has a create function where you can share your creations with the community.

Mental Health

If you are experiencing loneliness, depression, anxiety or any other feelings that disrupt you quality of life, there are people and places that are here to help. Reaching out to NAMI is a good first step toward finding the support you need.

Please know that mental health therapy is not only an in-person service. There are many counseling options available online, from resources like: Betterhelp, a service that offers access to licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists, marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, and board licensed professional counselors. Talkspace has you take an assessment, helps you select your online therapy plan, and matches you to a therapist – Talkspace also has free, therapist led, Facebook support groups

There are plenty of mental health apps out there, so many that it could be a bit overwhelming to discern which is the best match for you. Psyberguide provides an anxiety management app guide to assist you in finding the right app for you. Some apps you might find useful might be Moodtools, which is a free app that offers a depression questionnaire, journal and enables the user to set up a suicide safety plan. Mood Kit allows the user to export their mood charts by week or month to be able to share with their mental health professionals and has face ID to ensure security for your account. Self-Help for Anxiety Management (SAM) is an app that you tell your feelings and anxieties to and the app provides you with relaxation exercises.

Personal Development

Developing personal skills can be a fun way to spend free time, build job skills, and can boost your self-esteem.

Skill Share allows you to continue growing through learning new skills through online courses on a variety of topics, such as: DSLR photography, digital illustration and creative writing.

Rosetta Stone is a great option for learning any of 25 new languages, and has an app to provide support when away from your computer. Some additional support apps for your language learning journey are The ASL App, Duolingo, and Drops.

Masterclass taps into the expertise of individuals who are top in their field in order to offer thousands of courses for individuals to learn and grow.