9 Best Mental Health Apps for Digital Nomads

fitness, health and wellness, psychology

Balancing leisure and work is challenging for digital nomads. Burnout and loneliness were cited as top struggles for remote workers even before the pandemic, and now with limited social events and interactions, restricted travel, and shut offices, it has become exacerbated.

The Martec Group surveyed 1,214 individuals to identify how working from home during the pandemic is affecting employees and found a significant decline in mental health across all industries, seniority levels, and demographics. Surprisingly, 84 percent of employees reported working from home as bad for their mental health.

At Fairytrail, most of our users are remote workers and we fully recognized the challenges, so we’ve curated the top 9 must-have mental health apps for digital nomads based on category. 


For Meditation


1. Headspace

I’ve been using Headspace since the day it first came out. To be honest, it’s actually tough to imaging my life without it. It offers excellent options for guided meditations that help you stay calm and provide clarity on things you’re trying to figure out. 

Additionally, they offer articles, videos and guided exercises that will help you live a happier, healthier life. 

Headspace claims to increase your happiness by 16% in 10 days and a single session would reduce your mind wandering by 22%. Use this app regularly for a period of 30 days to see an 11% increase in mental resilience

You can sign up for a 10-day free trial of all the premium content. After this, you can subscribe for $12.99 (monthly) or $95 (annually).

The bottom line: Use this app if you’re curious and just starting out with mental health apps.


2. Pacifica

This app will help you significantly reduce stress, depression and anxiety through journaling and meditation. You can pick what type of environment relaxes you the most when you begin. 

Pacifica will ask you about your goals, preferred meditation time and if you’re working with a mental health professional. If you are, it will tailor your practice using that information. 

The calming and lovely design and the interface will compel you to use it every day. Each day, there’s a free unique meditation that focuses on a specific point of stress like relationships, work, school, etc.

What truly sets this app apart from the thousands of meditation apps on the play store is its integrations with your Spotify playlists. It will recommend you a new playlist every week with tracks that will leave you feeling energized, empowered and will help you with your meditation practise as well as your life. 

Another highlight of this wonderful app is access to chat rooms and community discussions. You can discuss your struggles, wins and experiences with other users of the app. 

You can access the 7 basic modules for free or you can subscribe for $8.99 (monthly), $53.99 (annually) or $199 (lifetime). 

The bottom line: This app is perfect for you if you want to hone a particular pain point such as confidence, social anxiety, etc. 


For Reflection and Mood Tracking


3. Stigma

It’s journaling and mood tracking app that helps you track your moods and pen down our thoughts. You can also share your thoughts with their community of users. 

Its robust analytics feature helps you analyse your thoughts and attitudes over time by creating word clouds that show prominent trends. 

Access to most of the features is free but you need to subscribe in order to track your moods in relation to your fitness/location levels.

The bottom line: Sign up for this app of you want to understand your mood cycle and wish to be a part of an affordable support group that’s always available.


4. Happy Not Perfect

The goal of this app is to help you change the way you take care of your mind through straightforward and thoughtful reflections and exercises. 

With hundreds of themed sessions to work through activities and stressors, it helps you deal with complicated relationships, depression and work stress. 

The app features one-of-a-kind modern, clean aesthetics combined with mindful games that help you gain the clarity you need. You can also listen to a wide array of sound healing experiences and pen down your thoughts in order to keep a track of your moods and feelings. 

It gives you space and time you need for reflection by helping you analyse the stressors that make you feel a certain way. 

The access to 1 session per day is free and you can upgrade for personalized unlimited sessions for approximately $5 a month. 

The bottom line: This is your go-to place for everything you need to look after your mind in a fun new way.


5. Stoic

A free, comprehensive and beautifully designed app that is based on the Greek philosophy of Stoicism. This app helps you manage your negativity by tracking your actions and thoughts through reflective exercises like breathing and mood tracking exercises, meditation with a strong focus on journaling. 

The bottom line: Start using this app if you need help dealing with your emotions and daily obstacles. It’ll help you live a happier, tranquil life.  


For Therapy and Advice


6. Sanvello

Boasting over 3M+ users, this is the #1 free app if you want to deal with depression, anxiety and stress. It provides clinically validated techniques to help you manage your thoughts and moods and offers expert lessons on health and mood tracking and mindfulness. 

You can use the community board to share your stories and progress with others. If you wish to seek professional help, you can browse through the directory of a licensed therapist in your area. 

The bottom line: Use this app if you’re suffering from stress, depression or anxiety.


7. Talkspace

It’s an online therapy app that matches you with qualified therapists. If you’re looking for real therapy without leaving the comfort of this app, Talkspace is what you need. 

Their plans start at $49 a week that allows you to choose a therapist with experience in your problem area. You can chat with them or video call them according to your convenience. 

Therapists will offer actionable advice and steps similar to what you’d get in an actual brick-and-mortar therapy session. You can upgrade your package if you need an unlimited chat and video call access. 

The bottom line: This app is perfect if you’re searching for a therapist. It’s great for teens as well. All you need is your parents’ permission to get started. 


8. 7 Cups

If you’re looking for free counselling and therapy, install 7 Cups. You’re matched with a “listener” based on what you wish to talk about and how you’re feeling. 

Please note that these listeners are not qualified professionals but are volunteers that want to offer you support. The chats are confidential, anonymous and free with listeners available in several different languages. 

Additionally, you can access educational material that’ll provide more insight into therapy, videos and activities, calming games and wellness tests. 

If you wish to chat with a licensed therapist, you can subscribe for a premium service that starts at $12.99 a month. 

The bottom line: Use this app if you need someone to talk to for free counseling or therapy. Return the favour by becoming a listener to do something meaningful with your life. 


To Deal Specifically With Anxiety


9. Calmer You

This app was made by Nick Begley, former head of research at Headspace and is dedicated to help you build an anxiety-free future. 

It has turned self-development books into app-based actionable courses incorporating CBT and mindfulness techniques. These help you form positive habits that will help you keep your anxiety at bay. 

The app provides you with everything from diaphragmatic breathing to mindfulness techniques to help you break down your worries and boost your self-esteem. 

The bottom line: This app is perfect for you if you want to learn mindfulness skills that will improve your overall mental and physical health.


Written by Shristi Patni 

Shristi is the founder of F and B Recipes. Formerly the Chief Content Officer at Raletta, she is currently working on her second cookbook. Feel free to check out her interviews with other food bloggers or her articles on Shamballa Reiki.

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journaling with coffee

Being A Healthier Nomad: Freelancer Fitness

COVID-19, fairytrailapp, fitness, freelance, health and wellness, remote work, travel

Maintaining physical fitness while freelancing.

“Women who reported sitting for more than 6 hours during their leisure time had an approximately 40% higher all-cause death rate, and men had an approximately 20% higher death rate.”American Journal of Epidemiology 

“Women who sat more than 7 hours a day and women who did no physical activity were more likely to have depressive symptoms than women who sat less than 4 hours a day and who met physical activity guidelines, respectively.”American Journal of Preventative Medicine 

“According to the World Health Organization, physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause to global mortality. Being a freelancer who primarily earns an income from my laptop, this puts me on the frontline for chronic diseases and that terrifies me.” – Fairytrail member

What’s even more scary, as I am writing this article, I am strengthening these statistics. Chances are that you, as the reader, are too.

Somewhere between the lavish lifestyle blog posts and “how I trained for my first 5k” video tutorials, a critical piece of information is silenced; the gruesome amount of sedentary hours that freelancers face.

Considering that there are over 57 million freelancers in the United States alone, this is a topic that needs consistent attention. To bring consciousness to the potential long term affects of a sedentary lifestyle, we must observe some of the short-term symptoms.

Here are some physical health struggles that freelancers regularly experience:

  • Joint pain / stiffness
  • Weight gain or unhealthy weight loss
  • Bad posture & back pain
  • Slow metabolism / digestion issues
  • Easily fatigued from exercise

Most of these issues are simply caused by the excess of sedentary tasks and restrictions of range of movement. Whereas, 9-5 jobs in food service or hospitality require you being active on your feet for long hours. And considering that we are collectively experiencing the restrictions of COVID-19, those who regularly did their due- diligence of attending the gym are hindered as well.

But overcoming adversity is what fabricates the best entrepreneurs, right?

These burdens are not enough to counterbalance the benefits of being a freelancer, they are just conditions to note while entertaining this way of living. 

So what are some ways to incorporate health & physical activity into your busy life?


 1) Modify your tasks

That zoom call you have in 20 mins?

Maybe no one will mind if you are on a brisk walk during the call, or chime in between sets.That is if you use mute as needed that way no one is a victim to your awkward heavy breathing.

Just starting to brainstorm ideas on a new pitch or project?

Put down the pen, close the computer and brainstorm on the go. Get your blood moving and as ideas come to mind. Open up notepad on your phone and type or voice record them so that the can be marveled on later.

Don’t have time?

You are 100% right! You don’t have time, that’s why you have to make it.

I know that is a broken-record statement, But in all honesty we operate in a trifecta of the Mind, body , and spirit. This trifecta works like turning gears, and when one gear gets neglected, it isn’t a long grace period till the other gears suffer the ache as well. Lucky for you, being a freelancer demands being creative.


A study conducted in 2014 by Stanford University suggested that “out of the 48 participants, 81% improved their creative output while walking”.

As far as each individual goes, their creative juices are enhanced by 60% JUST BY WALKING. The experiment further claimed that extending your activity to the outdoors can expose even more benefits. 

“Think about it, they are called creative juices for a reason, right? When you exercise, your heart rate increases, which sends more blood flow to the brain. As blood flow increases, your brain inherits more oxygen. Physical activity is not just for your body, it’s the key ingredient to helping your brain be a well-lubricated machine.”

Wellness-focused freelancer, James Leung

You don’t need to go hard. 

Any movement is better than none. As long as you are getting your heart rate up in some way to increase your blood flow, you will benefit. Use your creativity to innovate ways to weave movement medicine into your everyday life.

If you can find wiggle room, use it to wiggle!


2) Make movement your first priority.

Checking emails

We have all been there; Setting the alarm for 5:45 am in regards to squeeze some morning cardio in before you start your day. You turn to respond to your alarm and one of 2 things happen:

  1. You hit snooze and sleep in past your goals
  2. You find yourself knee-deep in emails and internal pressure to start crafting new content, completely putting AM movement on hold. Staaaahp. Don’t do this.

Remember a great benefit to being a digital nomad is having more time to yourself and not having to be rushed into a workplace everyday that has overhead.

Don’t let your phone or laptop be that overhead.

Your body is the vehicle that drives everything in your life and business. Don’t put it on the back burner.


3) Set the pace for the day.

As soon as your eyes open in the AM, your cortisol levels rise. Why not use that flight response to fuel a good morning workout? (which in return, will REDUCE overall stress). Not to mention, if you give yourself too much time, your entrepreneurial ego will negotiate “more important” things you can be doing with your time than tending to your health. Also, if you get your physical activity out of the way first thing in the morning, you will have the rest of the day to be working more effectively  with a clean conscience knowing that you put your health first.

Benefits of A.M. workout include:

  • You will burn up to 20%, due to being in a fasted state.
  • Increases human growth hormone
  • Sets the pace for a proactive mindset
  • Mental clarity & increased alertness
  • Lines you up for better sleep that night

But.. I’m really not a morning person

No problem! Everyone is different. If A.M. workouts come with too much resistance, then that may not be your peak hour to work-out.

“I have found that my workouts are more effective in the morning, but honestly some people feel they reap the most benefits from their workouts in the evening. A great way to determine whether your workouts are most efficient in the morning or evening is to listen to your body and journal your energy levels throughout the day. Whatever times of the day you’ve documented that you were the most energetic, try and plug in some physical activity during those times and see how you feel.”


4) Take care of your digestive system.

Your body digests food a lot better when it knows that it is going to actively need it, but if you are sedentary for most hours, your digestive tract may become sedentary as well. 

This is why it is important to be a Intuitive and mindful eating 

If you are going to be sitting for a while, is it necessary to eat dense foods such as pizza and steak that digest slower and will sit in your stomach like a log? Fuel your body as necessary to your activity level. That way you dont experience a calorie surplus resulting in weight gain or calorie deficit, resulting in fatigue. 

“Energy input should equal energy output – that’s the key! Know that your body is going to be using whatever you are putting into it. If you predict a slower-moving day ahead of you, adjust your food consumption accordingly.”

James Leung

Chew slowly and thoroughly to ensure that your lax-day compensates your digestive system. Possibly drink tea or just warm liquids to nurture your metabolism throughout the day.


5) You don’t need a gym or equipment to have a killer workout.

Whether you are a freelancer who doesn’t have space for equipment during travels or a gym junkie who is deprived due to COVID-19 , it’s time to get innovative with your exercise.

Here’s a tip, YOUR BODY IS YOUR BEST DUMBELL. And no, i did not just call you dumb.

Your body is with you wherever you go (duh), might as well use it! Here are 50 bodyweight exercises that you can perform literally anywhere. If you want to add a little more heat, resistance bands are flooding the fitness industry. They are perfect for light traveling and can be used anywhere in multiple ways. If you are someone who is is interested in using technology as a fitness tool, check out out article on our recommended best fitness apps.

“ I have a good feeling that because of the coronavirus, people are going to start taking it upon themselves to integrate fitness into their everyday life rather than strictly going to the gym 2x a week. Gyms are amazing, but you don’t need them to get a great workout in. There is TONS of free workout content all over the internet that require very little space and no equipment. Most of them can be done in under 10 minutes! If you are someone that needs a little more guidance I suggest you find a fitness influencer that you truly vibe with and support them. You are helping them as they are helping you.” – Bella Gonzalez

James had a similar response when asked “what effects do you think this pandemic will have of the fitness industry?”

“I think people are going to come out of this quarantine feeling better than they did before. Overall, for some people, this was a very necessary pause to reset their mind, body, and spirit.  A pause that has given them the time to consider what they value in their daily routine and to integrate activities to look after their well-being. You really only need a small space to perform a decent workout at any intensity level.” – James Leung


 6) Your body can stand almost anything. It’s your mind that you have to convince.

“It’s important to keep your ‘mindful movement-toggle’ turned on in all circumstances. When you are traveling, find ways to marble physical activity into your vacation, that way you are not taking away from your experience nor are you neglecting your body. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. It could be as simple as walking to your next tourist destination rather than Ubering, squatting with your backpack on, a short jog on the beach, taking the stairs to your hotel room rather than the elevator. Yoga mats and resistance bands are lightweight and you can use them anywhere. Seriously ANYTHING  to get your blood pumping and to remind your body that you are always being mindful by finding ways to take care of it.” – Bella Gonzalez

“It’s easy to slip into an unmotivated mindset. But if you look around, you will find inspiration everywhere. If you are conscious of the science-backed reasons of how physical activity greatly improves your overall wellness, it becomes a no-brainer as to why you are going to do it despite any outside factors. Bruce Lee says, ‘think and you shall become’, if you think with a wellness mindset, a wellness lifestyle will start to surround you.” – James Leung

There will always be a way that your mind will try and convince you not exercise, but none of those reasons are valid.

Without your body & it’s optimal health, you wouldn’t be eligible to experience all the greatness life has to offer. 

So rather than putting your health last, put it first!

James Leung is a traveller, wellness-teacher, trainer, and content creator for BALM. James is using his past education and inherited skills to apply them to his passion: Living and promoting a wellness lifestyle from anywhere in the world. When not travelling, James predominantly resides in London. Although he enjoys all things wellness related, he highly enjoys martial arts in yoga. 

Next destination: Thailand.

If you would like to get to know James better, you can find him on instagram @jamesjleung or @balm.welness

Bella Gonzalez is a free-spirited freelancer/yoga teacher who uses her knowledge as a graphic designer to supply income and connect with the world while fulfilling her dreams of endless exploration. All-in-one package and a true go-getter. 

Next destination: India.

If you would like to get to know Bella better, you can find her on instagram @letswithbella or her website/blog https://bellagonzalez.com 

Written by: Hannah Johnsen @hannahspeex