Self-Care During Recovery: The Best Self-Care Apps

Photo of young adult ethnic man sitting on a couch looking at his mobile phone
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Recent evidence shows that self-care and recovery apps can be beneficial for people who want to change their lifestyle for the better. Although the research to date has prioritized apps created for people with opioid use disorder (OUD), data from users indicate the most effective apps for changing lifestyle habits – i.e. for self-care, recovery, or both – include the following features:

  • Multimedia content
  • Educational tools
  • Trackers: sobriety, goals, eating, exercise, finances, milestone, medication, appointments, meetings
  • Direct access to community support
  • Relapse management/prevention
  • Professional resources
  • Gaming features

In this article, we’ll share the apps we think can help you in three areas of self-care: addiction recovery, exercise, and meditation/mindfulness.

Since we’re an addiction treatment center, we’ll start with our recommendations for recovery apps.

Top Recovery-Specific Apps

I Am Sober

  • Smartphone app
  • Includes:
    • Recovery tracking down
    • Individualization choices
    • Personal messages
  • Community support potions
  • Great for people new to recovery

Pear reSET-O

  • Smartphone app
  • Only Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved recovery app
  • Includes:
    • Three-month SUD counseling program
    • Counseling is based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
    • Weekly check-ins with real mental health professional
  • Created for patients in outpatient treatment
  • Helpful for people with opioid use disorder (OUD)


  • Smartphone app
  • Includes resource list that connects users to:
    • Treatment programs
    • Sober living support
    • SUD therapists and counselors
  • Studies show SoberWorx is effective

Recovery Today Magazine

  • Smartphone app
  • Includes:
    • Access to Recovery Today Magazine resource archive
    • Resources cover first-person testimonials, recovery pointers, editorial articles, and peer-reviewed journal articles

24 Hours a Day

  • Smartphone app
  • Includes:
    • Inspirational meditations delivered daily
    • Recovery-themed daily reflections
    • Searchable resources
  • Based on best-selling book “24 Hours a Day,” which is the number one selling addiction book published

Recovery Box

  • Smartphone app
  • Includes:
    • 12-step resources
    • Recovery tracker
    • Individualized messages
    • Sponsor program
    • Direct messaging with community
    • Extensive recovery reading and resource library


  • Smartphone app
  • Includes:
    • Recovery clock
    • Achievement trackers
    • Easily sharable achievements
    • Features for people in recovery and their family members
Of the recovery apps available, this is the only one that includes features for family members, which makes it unique among recovery apps.


  • Smartphone app
  • Includes:
    • Milestone trackers
    • Daily online meetings
    • Helpful self-care tools
    • Information on harm reduction
    • Specific support for women and LGBTQIA+
  • Users can allow therapists to monitor their progress
    • Designed for use with specific programs or treatment centers


  • Smartphone app
  • Includes:
    • Tool to help manage cravings
    • Financial savings tracker
    • Milestone-based rewards
    • Personalized daily messaging
    • Excellent relapse prevention app


  • Smartphone app
  • Includes:
    • Milestone trackers
    • Help with setting goals
    • Personalized messaging
    • Easy-to-use reward systems
    • Create personalized message at top of app
  • Works for quitting things other than alcohol or drugs

Next, our list of helpful exercise apps. If exercise is part of your self-care routine, these apps can help you meet your goals and keep you on track.

Self-Care During Recovery: Exercise Apps

Top Exercise-Specific Apps

My Fitness Pal

  • Smartphone app
  • Includes:
    • Personalizes daily plan
    • Calorie tracker
    • Workout tracker
    • Basal metabolic rate tracker
    • Hydration tracker

Nike Training Club

  • Smartphone app
  • Includes:
    • Free personal training
    • Access training programs of various durations
    • Goal setting and tracking
    • Questionnaire help determine personalized programs
  • Classes include yoga, weight training, high intensity training, boot-camp style classes
  • Classes from 10 to 60 minutes

Gym Shark

  • Smartphone app
  • Best for self-motivated people who like working out solo
  • No social component
  • Includes:
    • Extensive workout library
    • Create individualized workout plans
    • Plan workouts to set and rep level specificity
    • Plans specific to goals:
      • Endurance
      • Strength
      • Muscle building
    • Connect to Apple Health apps

Workout for Women

  • Smartphone app
  • Best for women with specific workout goals
  • No social component or live classes
  • Starts with extensive questionnaire that collects information on:
    • Special needs
    • Medical conditions
    • Injury areas – knees, back, etc.
    • Mobility status
    • Preferred workout style
    • Body type
  • Includes:
    • Fitness tracker
    • Health tracker
    • BMI tracker
    • Create individualized workout plans
    • Plan workouts to set and rep level specificity
    • Plans specific to goals:
      • Weight loss
      • Specific body areas to target
    • Prenatal/postnatal workouts
  • Users love the custom options


  • Versatile smartphone app
  • Best for people who love high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
  • Build your own workouts
  • Includes:
    • Customized training plans
    • AI-based coaching
    • Nutrition planning
    • 300+ workout videos
    • Robust social connectivity
    • Accountability partnerships
  • Workout library includes:
    • Cardio sessions
    • Weight training
    • Dumbbell/kettlebell sessions
  • Majority of workouts require no equipment at all

Next, we’ll share our list of helpful mindfulness- and meditation-oriented apps. If things like yoga, tai chi, or mindfulness work for you, and are an important part of your self-care routine, take advantage of these apps: they can help you meet your stress management, relaxation, and overall wellness goals.

Self-Care During Recovery:  Mindfulness and Meditation Apps

Top Mindfulness- and Meditation-Specific Apps


  • Smartphone or tablet app
  • Wide variety of offerings (really, more extensive than most other similar apps)
  • Includes:
    • Daily personalized messaging
    • Daily meditations
    • Sleep stories
    • Children’s stories
    • Meditation exercises
    • Stress reduction sessions
    • Anxiety management sessions
    • Extensive music library
  • Calm also provides preset programs for people interested in mindfulness of meditation, such as:
    • 7 Days of Calm
    • 21 Days of Calm


  • Smartphone or tablet app
  • Focus on a combination of modern and traditional approaches
  • Personal dashboard
  • Robust social community
  • Includes:
    • Guided daily meditations
    • Traditional chants
    • Daily mantras
    • Music and playlists
    • Meditation timer
    • Meditation tracker (with statistics)
    • Mudras (hand positions to promote relaxation)


  • Smartphone or tablet app
  • Best meditation/mindfulness app for beginners
  • Active social media groups
  • Includes:
    • Beginner’s courses (best variety of intro courses across all apps)
    • Vast article library on mindfulness and meditation
    • Resources for sleep hygiene
    • Resources for specific mental health issues
  • Specific meditation sessions for:
    • Kids
    • Sports
    • Couples
    • Gratitude
    • Walking
    • Weight loss
    • Anger
    • Anxiety
    • Stress
    • Self-esteem
Of all the apps on our list, Headspace makes things easiest for people new to mindfulness and meditation, and especially people who may have previously resisted/not been open to meditation and mindfulness


  • Smartphone, tablet, or computer app
  • Extensive library on a wide variety of mental health topics
  • Can purchase as individual or as business (for employee mental health)
  • Initiate with mental health assessment
  • Create personalized programs for specific mental health issues:
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Others
  • Includes:
    • Live chat with experts
    • Daily meditations
    • Articles
    • Sleep stories
    • Relaxing soundscapes
    • Meditation music/playlists
    • Sleep stories
    • Daily inspirational quotes
  • Meditopia also provides access to other Meditopia resources, such as:

Insight Timer

  • Smartphone, tablet, or computer app
  • Available for individuals or organizations
  • Personalized content base on app activity
  • Focus on stress, anxiety, and sleep
  • Includes:
    • Live lectures and classes
    • Meditation timers and trackers, with stats and milestones
    • Celebrity-led meditations
    • Music playlists
    • In-person meditation meet-ups
    • Daily affirmations
    • Meditations for specific goals: sleep, stress reduction, self-esteem, anxiety
  • Insight also mindfulness-oriented lectures for parents, including:
    • Self-care for busy parents
    • Mindful parenting
    • Kids yoga
    • Mindful approach to kid tantrums/meltdowns

Self-Care and Recovery: Apply Yourself

What’s amazing about all these apps is the fact that when you strip them down to their essentials, what you have is a personalized support system you can carry around in your pocket and access any time you need it. That means that if you find yourself in a bind, in a jam, or in trouble – which, in recovery, essentially means you’re at risk of relapse – you don’t have to make a phone call, make an appointment, or wait for help.

It’s all right there on your phone.

In the past, we had to wait for expert advice and support on topics like recovery, exercise, and mindfulness/meditation. People in recovery in 12-step programs would have to wait to get to a meeting or wait until their sponsor could answer or return a phone call. With these apps, support is available at any time, day or night.

In the past, people had to spend a significant amount of money on personal trainers and gym memberships. The same is true for instruction in meditation, yoga, and mindfulness: classes were often expensive, too time consuming, or both.

Now, it’s all right there on your phone.

While we often see memes, articles, or read editorial insights about how our smartphone-connected culture may harm our mental health, this is the flipside. These smartphone apps make professional quality support and instruction readily available – and most of them encourage the social and community connection that promotes optimal mental health.

But remember: these apps are amazing, but at the end of the day, we still encourage you to seek and engage your recovery peers irl whenever possible: never underestimate the power of simple, honest, human connection.

That might be the best self-care of all.

The materials provided on the Pinnacle Blog are for information and educational purposes only. No behavioral health or any other professional services are provided through the Blog and the information obtained through the Blog is not a substitute for consultation with a qualified health professional. If you are in need of medical or behavioral health treatment, please contact a qualified health professional directly, and if you are in need of emergency help, please go to your nearest emergency room or dial 911.