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Looking after yourself

Six apps to help you find emotional connection

Feeling isolated and overwhelmed? These apps could help you find a new community, improve your relationships or talk through your problems.

Many of us are facing money worries and feeling higher levels of stress and anxiety at the moment – which can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. You may find yourself reaching for your phone as a coping device. But instead of mindlessly scrolling, try a little self-care with one of these apps instead.

1. Talk Life

If you’re looking for someone to chat to about your problems, TalkLife is a good option. It’s a free peer-to-peer support community that lets people share their feelings in a safe and anonymous way. Aimed at young people, it’s a place to find connections and make friends with people who are dealing with the same life challenges you are.

Users can ask for help on a certain topic or just share a post saying how they’re feeling that day to get things started. They can also serve as a sounding board for other users who are struggling.

2. Paired

Topics involving money – including spending, debt and other financial issues – are among the top reasons that couples argue. So if you’re feeling disconnected from your partner lately, you’re not alone.

Paired, a relationship app powered by therapists and other qualified experts, helps couples bond by playing fun games and answering questions about each other. But it also offers tools for tackling key issues like the split of domestic chores, and helps couples identify strength and growth areas in their relationship. It’s £5.20 monthly, but you can test it out with a free seven-day trial.

3. Meetup

Cutting down on pricey pub visits and meals out can mean less time with friends and loved ones. Meetup is a good place to grow your community and find free local events to give your social life a boost.

Whether you’re into stamp collecting, volleyball or juggling, chances are there’s a group to match your interests. Can’t find one? You can always start your own. And if IRL (in real life) events aren’t for you, there are also virtual sessions and online communities to help you feel connected.

4. Borrow My Doggy

Research shows that being around dogs can improve our mental health, but owning one isn’t practical for everyone. Enter Borrow My Doggy – a service that connects dog lovers with dog owners. Borrowers can arrange to take dogs on walks, spend time with them in their homes or even look after them for days or weeks at a time.

Meanwhile, dog owners get to introduce their pet to a new friend, take a break for themselves and save money on dog care. It’s free to make a profile, but you’ll need a premium account to arrange meetings. Membership starts at £12.99 per year.

5. Peanut

Peanut is an app-based community that aims to connect women tackling the challenges of fertility, pregnancy, motherhood and menopause. Users can pose questions to relevant groups, get advice from their peers and even connect individually and make plans to meet IRL.

The app and most of its content are free to use, while a subscription (£14.99 a month) gets you some premium features that makes finding connections quicker and simpler.

6. Headspace

Sometimes the best place to start is within yourself. Headspace is the app that’s credited with taking mindfulness mainstream, offering guided meditations for every experience level. It also has tools to help its 70 million users improve sleep, decrease stress, increase focus and more. Choose from two subscription options: £49.99 per year or £9.99 per month.

Ali Gray

Ali is a content director and creative consultant who specialises in lifestyle.

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