Over the last year, we’ve spent a lot of time at home. While this has helped slow the spread of COVID-19, it’s left some disconnected, unmotivated, more stressed and anxious. Many people are looking for tech, tools and gadgets to help them stay healthy and address stress and anxiety.
Matthew Anderson, MD, clinical innovation director at Banner Health, shared six high-tech and low-tech options to check out if you want to maintain wellness at home.
#1: Oura Ring | High-Tech
No, this isn’t the type of “aura” you may be thinking about. This small digital ring device slips on your finger and collects data about your body, activity and sleep using optical heart-rate monitoring. Whether you’re wanting to improve sleep or stay on top of your health, your Oura Ring makes it easy to track by sending real-time data and feedback to an app on your phone.
“It’s small size makes it excellent for tracking your sleep, giving you ways to make your sleep more refreshing and rejuvenating,” Dr. Anderson said. “The National Basketball Association has used the Oura ring to track wellness in their athletes.”
#2: Noise Machine or Sleep Apps | Low-Tech
Now that we are doing a lot of things at home, there’s lots of distractions and interruptions—from kids learning online to even the deafening sound of silence. If you need to block out the world for some peace of mind, try a white noise machine or a free app like Insight Timer or Calm. These options are not only great during the day, they can also help with sleep at night.
“Many people have the habit of leaving the TV on to help them sleep but that can lead to poor sleep,” Dr. Anderson said. “Instead, these tools can help create a more relaxing sleep environment that promotes healthy, high-quality sleep.”
#3 Weighted Blankets | Low-Tech
Nighttime can also be a time where our minds tend to wander—and during the pandemic, for anxiety to creep in. If you’re literally feeling weighed down by the pandemic, why not try a weighted blanket? “For many people, using a weighted blanket has shown to decrease nighttime anxiety and insomnia and ease stress,” Dr. Anderson said.
Weighted blankets are exactly what they sound like—they’re heavy blankets filled with materials like poly pellets, weighted discs or glass beads that apply pressure across your body. They come in many different styles, weights and sizes and are good for older children and adults.
#4 Fitness Mirror | High-Tech
With many gyms at smaller capacity, people have turned to home gym equipment to stay fit during the pandemic. While exercise bikes and treadmills are popular, a new piece of exercise technology can change how you work out: fitness mirrors.
“Mirrors look just like their name; it’s a tall, full-length mirror that stands against a wall,” Dr. Anderson said. “But inside, it’s a digital gym where you can stream aerobic and strength training videos to guide you in workouts. They are interactive and give you feedback during your workout.”
While you self-monitor in the mirror, your trainer can see your movements and provide feedback. These fitness mirrors also include a heart rate display, music and connection to a community—much like you would find at your local gym.
#5 Resperate | High-Tech
Many people have high blood pressure or are at risk for developing high blood pressure. In addition to diet and exercise, meditation can help lower blood pressure. A home device, Resperate, takes you through daily guided meditations and breathing exercises. By measuring your breathing and heart rate, it tailors routines for your body. Over time, Resperate has been shown to lower your blood pressure.
#6 LED Lights | Low-Tech
The use of LED lights has grown increasingly popular for self-care at home. While they advertise to create younger, healthier skin and even regrow hair, clinical effectiveness has been mixed. However, LED lights and any type of light box have been shown to help with Seasonal Affective Disorder. “If you’re looking to improve your mood during dark, cold winter months, scheduling time in front of these lights may help,” Dr. Anderson said.
Looking for more self-care strategies?
Check out these posts:
- 6 Self-Care Tips to Sneak into Your Busy Life
- How to Practice Healthy Self-Love
- Awe-Spotting: Benefits of Finding Awe in the Ordinary
- Exercising at Home and Staying Active
Product information in this article is provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; it does not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Banner Health of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual.