Top Mental Health Apps & Resources for UX Designers

Mental health is health—and prioritizing it will make space for more creativity, productivity, and happiness.

Team Designlab
Team Designlab
May 27, 2021
Min Read

Mental well-being is especially important for folks like UI/UX designers who are constantly engaging with both the analytical and creative sides of their brains. 

UI/UX designers are inherently empathetic people, and empaths require special attention to cleanse and reset their busy minds. After the rollercoaster of last year,  it’s more important than ever to prioritize our mental health.

Read on to learn more about the Designlab community’s top apps, resources, and coping mechanisms for continued well-being.

6 Mental Health Apps with Excellent UI/UX Design

Spending time on your phone may seem counterintuitive to mental health—but there are some apps that can actually help, instead of hurt, your mental state. 

1. Insight Timer

“This app has a really extensive library of guided meditations and exercises from a wide community of teachers. There's no ‘right’ way to meditate or maintain a practice, and I like the ability to search through various offerings (sorted by time/goal/type of practice), trial different teachers and styles, and find and bookmark sessions that are a good fit.” - Harish Venkatesan, Founder/CEO at Designlab

Harish Insight Timer


2. Peloton App

“I use the Peloton app for many reasons like exercise and meditation. Depending on my mental state, I'll do one or the other but they both accomplish the same goal of balancing my mental well-being.” - Emily Ho, Community Manager at Designlab

“I like that the Peloton app focuses on inspiring you to do something through the use of real images. There are so many filters built in so I can drill down into the class I'm looking for— whether it's by length, instructor, music type, etc. It's so easy for me to find what I want, which is great because it doesn't give me much option to change my mind.” - Patrick Multani, Lead Designer at Designlab

“I use this app for meditation as part of my overall health regime. I love that the Peloton app is a single point of access for many of the activities that I do. You are able to choose your instructor and the length of your session. And it’s family friendly too!” - Mandy Kerr, Director of People Opps at Designlab

Emily Peloton App

3. Headspace

“I really like how Headspace experiments with new features. The Today view that was added recently has already changed how I use and see the app. The design makes it easy to tune into an activity and provides a great overview. Also the Instant Suggestions feature was recently added on the Meditate tab. I really like selecting the options and discovering sessions. A feature which I also use often is the Music feature, especially the focus music. I really like them because they are long, can be listened to in the background and they are unique to the app.” - Patrick Multani, Lead Designer at Designlab

“I absolutely love Headspace! They've taught me so much about recognizing when and how I deal with, well, life! They provide really helpful exercises to deal better with stress.” - Abby Mueller (Glaser cohort)

“I'm practicing meditation daily with Headspace. This is my #1 app that helps me a lot and keeps me calm.” - Linor Kirkpatrick (Dwiggins cohort)


4. Calm

“I like Calm's photo and video approach, especially in combination with Headspace, using both creates this interesting mix of visuals. I like to just do the daily meditation in the morning which is right there on the For You tab. And similar to Headspace I like the Music tab and their unique playlists. The player in the Calm app is a mini player, which is much more user friendly. I also like the streaks and how it gives a sense of progress. With Calm when losing a streak it doesn't feel like a failure, which I think is good design.”  - Patrick Multani, Lead Designer at Designlab

Patrick Calm App

5. DownDog

“I use this app for yoga every morning in order to clear my head and start the day right. One of the key reasons that I love it is how customizable they have made the app. You can choose the type of yoga practice, how long you want to practice for and how advanced your practice will be.” - Mandy Kerr, Director of People Opps at Designlab

6. Presently

“Presently is an app that literally has you do one thing: write about what you were grateful for that day.

The user experience has been great for me for a few reasons. One, it's not pushy. There's one notification per day if you want it, and even then, it's just a simple question. Two, it doesn't ask you for much. You don't need to write a whole essay if you don't want to, but you can, and you'll feel accomplished just for having done it. 

Three, it celebrates milestones that you didn't realize were milestones. You'll get a simple congrats on your feed for doing 25, 50, 100, etc. days in a row, with a graphic of your choice. Four, if you don't feel like you can muster gratitude, you can tap the light bulb icon and it will give you a different prompt that also promotes a short, sweet sentence. Five, you can export your entries to CSV just in case you want to look back at it.

Since it only needs to do one thing reliably, the app can focus more on aesthetics, creating an inviting space to sit and jot down your one sentence of gratitude. There are 20 different themes to choose from, all of which are simply cosmetic, but they bring their own form of joy. In not having to have so many things to edit, you can just focus on the single task of typing in your gratitude for the day.” - Robbin Arcega, Curriculum Writer at Designlab


Community-Recommended Mental Health Resources

Happiful Magazine

“I subscribed to a magazine called Happiful and signed up for a book subscription not long ago too. I get a book every month with some quote cards for each day that I put near my computer. Right now I'm reading Mindset which is about growth mindset.” - Linor Kirkpatrick (Dwiggins cohort)

The Best Self Journal

“I just love Best Self products. I have their Journal and also a few card decks for prompts. Really great tools for the mind (and planning).” - Linor Kirkpatrick (Dwiggins cohort)

Safi Bahcall on Hypnosis

“In the first quarter of this podcast you’ll learn a technique that sounds insane but works like magic. If you can afford it, try a hypnosis and NLP session. I know some people might doubt this but the amount of research that Stanford has done on this stuff has made its effectiveness unquestionable.” - Krishna Shamji (Eisenberg cohort)

Coping Mechanisms for Daily Stress Management

Write It Out

“Articulating your thoughts every day in a journal, or even writing short quotes or paragraphs of things that bother you helps a lot. Expressing it helps release the emotion, and the very act of articulating helps you better understand the issue and analyze the problems.” - Krishna Shamji (Eisenberg cohort)

Practice Gratitude

“Checkout gratitude techniques. If you do these regularly you’ll find your appreciation and enjoyment of life will increase on a moment to moment level, and you won’t feel bogged down by unavoidable events that will happen in your life, quite the contrary.” - Krishna Shamji (Eisenberg cohort)

Maintain a Healthy Diet & Exercise Regularly 

“You can’t understate the importance of exercise and diet. It regulates the mood, energy and will literally improve every aspect of your life. If you don’t know how to start with this stuff, or have had trouble sticking to the routine, the book Atomic Habits can help you a lot with this.” - Krishna Shamji (Eisenberg cohort)

Do What You Love

“I take the time to do things I love like baking, paddle boarding,bike riding, or sitting and listening to the ocean.” - Abby Mueller (Glaser cohort)

Find a (Free?) Therapist

“I get free therapy through my state, and it has been huge for me. Research to see if there are resources for you—there are a lot more than I thought!” - Hannah Chung (Chwast cohort)

Give Chanting a Try

“I have a daily Buddhist practice of chanting (Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo) in the mornings and evenings. In the mornings, I chant for the life force I need to carry me through the day. In the evenings I (try to!) chant with gratitude. I also chant to praise myself, my work and my process instead of listening to the voices of self-doubt, which helps me to catch myself when I'm beating myself up. I have a network of other practitioners with whom I can share all my struggles, and that helps with perspective!” - Simone Obidah (Glaser cohort)

Help Someone Else

“Talk to others regularly and try to help them, we’re social animals after all, and the act of generosity feeds the soul, even if it isn’t reciprocated.” - Krishna Shamji (Eisenberg cohort)

Unplug & Turn Off

“Step one is to turn off my phone. From there, I can focus awareness on myself, the present moment, the people around me, and my surroundings.” - Calley Prezzano (Eisenberg cohort)


“I’ve adopted a mantra: simplify. Lately I get overwhelmed easily, so now I ask myself how I can simplify or break down the situation.” - Ewuradjoa Abaaho (Glaser cohort)

Mental Health Tips from our Social Community

“Focusing on things I can control (like my breathing) to make me feel more present in the moment.” - @nicsmar

“Exercise, preferably in the forest! Aka ‘forest bathing’ reduces stress.” - @emmar

“I run through a checklist. How is my 1) water intake 2) sleep 3) eating habits 4) exercise?” - @v.pbb

“Meditation, long walks, listening to podcasts or reading!” - @maanasamahesh

Our UX Academy community is a source of stability, support, and inspiration for students, mentors, and alumni alike—it's a space to learn about UI/UX design, and to also build connections.


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Gain confidence using product data to design better, justify design decisions, and win stakeholders. 6-week course for experienced UX designers.