5 apps for relaxation

Let’s face it, this time of year can be stress-inducing: exams, projects to complete, holidays, New Year’s resolutions!

We do have activities at the libraries that can help. For instance, the dogs will be visiting us, we have puzzle corners, knit knacks, and we’ll be opening the games exhibit for a fun afternoon next week at Schulich Library (Wednesday, noon – 2:30 pm). If you are never without your mobile device, you might also find these apps soothing.

I love to recommend apps that are not only on my phone but that are actually getting some use. Here are five free iOS apps that I regularly go to to lower my blood pressure:

1) TaoMix: This is where you build your own relaxing sound mix. Select different types of sounds, from birds and insects, rain and wind, to city and human noises (human heart), and then move each sound closer to or further from the inner circle to affect the volume. You can move on to other things and the mix will play on. I like the fire camp (it’s getting cold outside).

2) Pocket Pond: Drag and drop fish and lily pads onto your pond (and maybe take a few deep breaths). Create ripples in the water and feed your fish or just listen to the sounds of nature. For a little excitement turn the thunderstorm on from the options under ‘i’. There is now a Pocket Pond 2 but it is asking me to feed the fish every day and I can’t handle that kind of pressure right now.

3) Colorfy: A colouring book app for adults. It would be great to have time to colour in an actual book but this app does the trick. Choose from categories of pictures, including florals, animals, and gardens.

4) Jigsaw Puzzle: Jigsaw puzzles relax me but it is tough to live around a puzzle on the dining room table. Try this app with a daily free puzzle and other free puzzles. Alter the puzzle sizes up to 225 pieces and scatter loose pieces outside of the play area.

5) Paperama: I have a lot of games that I turn to to clear my mind but they can end up being pretty stressful. This paper folding game is nice and gentle. Give it a try. (As a bonus, if you love cats and you have some time to kill, try Nom Cat!).

Alarmy (Sleep If U Can) app

A common nightmare most students have and it is likely to follow them years after graduation is oversleeping on exam day. Every student rely on a different strategy in order to make sure, they are on-time to their exam. I remember when I used  several different alarm clocks which were set to go off at intervals of 15 minutes. So if I turned one of them off without really waking up, I waked up when the next alarm went off. Of course, it was a long time ago.

I have started using Alarmy (Sleep If U Can) app. Apparently, it is called the “World’s Most Annoying Alarm App” but it works. It basically forces you to wake up on-time. It is a neat alarm app since there are 4 methods on how you choose to turn off your alarm.
1) take a photo – The photo must be the same photo you took when you set the alarm; 2) shake your phone the number of times you set to shake your phone when the alarm goes off; 3) solve a math problem – You can choose the level of difficulty when you set your alarm. You can also choose the number of math problems you must answer in order to turn off the alarm; and 4) the boring default method (i.e. like any other alarm clocks).

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I usually take the photo of my coffee machine when I set my alarm. In the morning, I must go to my coffee machine to take the same picture to turn the alarm off. While I am there, I make my coffee and I have no excuse to turn of the alarm without waking up.

Google Play /  Apple Store



  • Very original
  • Effective
  • Easy to use


  • Not all features might be known to new users. Under the setting make sure “Auto silence” is off and “picture sensitivity’, “Shake sensitivity’, and ‘Alarm volume’ are set to an appropriate levels.
  • It is not free for iPhone users. It costs $2.29 on Apple Store.
  • The ads are annoying.