Improve Your Well-Being at Work With These 8 Free Tools for Mac
It’s easy to adopt unhealthy habits when working at a computer all day. Sitting for long periods, staring at a screen without a break, forgetting to hydrate—there are many ways to neglect your well-being.
Fortunately, there are lots of excellent tools that can help you avoid these common mistakes. If you use a Mac for work, here are some free tools you can download to help you adopt healthy habits while at your desk.
No matter how busy your working day is, getting up regularly and moving around is essential. A sedentary lifestyle is not good for your health. You’ll get regular reminders to stand up if you have a smartwatch such as an Apple Watch, and there are some great break reminder apps for your iPhone. Alternatively, you can download a break reminder app for your Mac that will display a notification right on your screen when it’s time to pause.
1. Time Out – Break Reminders
Time Out takes just a moment to set up. You can benefit from two types of breaks: a “normal” break each hour for around 10 minutes and a “micro” break, typically for just 15 seconds every 15 minutes, allowing you to look away from the screen, stretch, and check that your posture isn’t causing discomfort.
The app is easy to use and allows you to configure your break times and the period between the breaks. There are numerous customizable break themes, and a progress bar will let you see how long until a break is over.
Download: Time Out – Break Reminders (Free)
2. Awareness Timer
Not so much a break timer as a time awareness tool, Awareness Timer is a minimalist timer app that nestles in your Mac’s menu bar and counts down to zero (or shows the time elapsed, if you prefer).
When Awareness Timer reaches the end of the allotted period, you get a gentle nudge. You can customize this to suit you or simply ignore it if you can’t be disturbed at that moment. It’s a great, discreet reminder of time passing and the need to stand and take a break.
Download: Awareness Timer (Free)
When working at a computer for an extended period, it’s important to look away from the screen at least once every 20 minutes and focus your vision on a different focal length. This reduces the risk of eye fatigue, and it’s yet another reason to download a break reminder app.
It’s also advisable to check that your computer monitor isn’t too dark or too bright. In addition to adjusting the built-in settings, it can help to download an app for this.
3. Screen Colors Filter
Screen Colors Filter blocks out high-energy visible light (HEV light), the blue light emitted by the sun but also by your computer, tablet, and phone. Therefore it will reduce eye fatigue.
This free app provides 16 color preset filters for your monitor, allowing you to respond to the ambient light in your environment and work more efficiently in low light. You can fine-tune the colors using the dim slider bar and invert the color palette completely at the touch of a button. This is not only an excellent tool for avoiding eye strain, but it may also be helpful for adjusting the screen color display for workers with dyslexia.
Download: Screen Colors Filter (Free)
Tools for Remembering to Check and Adjust Your Posture
We all know how important it is to adopt a good posture at the desk to avoid back, shoulder, and neck pain. There are numerous websites for learning how to improve your posture. But it’s easy to forget to sit correctly when you’re engrossed in a task. To overcome this issue, you could download an app to analyze and correct your posture as you work.
4. HLTH Posture & Break Reminders
HLTH uses your Mac’s built-in webcam to monitor your sitting position as you work. It keeps a live “score” of your posture and sends notifications if you lean back or forward too much. It’s a minimalist app that works away constantly in the background. All you’ll see most of the time is a little “traffic light” icon in your menu bar.
Although the app promises to protect your privacy by not storing or sharing any captured images, it’s a little unnerving to have the webcam light on all the time as you work. Still, if you can overcome those reservations, HLTH can definitely help your posture. And if you go for too long without taking a break, you’ll get a notification to move.
Download: HLTH Posture & Break Reminders (Free, in-app purchases available)
Mac Apps That Use Background Sounds to Help You Concentrate
In a noisy environment, you can use background sounds to help you concentrate and focus on your work. Music with lyrics can be distracting, but white and ambient noise tracks minimize distractions and can help calm you.
5. Apple Accessibility Background Sounds
There’s a white noise generator built right into your Mac, so you don’t even need to download an external app. It’s buried in the Accessibility settings, so it’s easy to miss. Go to System Settings and select Accessibility > Audio > Background sounds to enable the feature. You can choose from a range of sounds:
- Balanced noise
- Bright noise
- Dark noise
You can download each sound for offline use.
6. White Noise Lite
If you’re after a more fully-featured app, White Noise Lite offers a choice of 50 HD ambient sounds of the environment, which you can combine in mixes to suit your personal preferences. The app features beautiful nature images with cover flow artwork, making it quick and straightforward to switch between sounds. And you can save your selections to the Favorites section.
You can set timers and alarms, too, and your sounds will be gently faded in or out. White Noise Lite would be a great companion if you’re traveling and need help relaxing or sleeping.
Although there’s already a great choice of sounds included, if you need any additional effects, visit the extensive catalog on the White Noise Market website.
Download: White Noise Lite (Free)
Of course, it’s vital to drink plenty of water to remain healthy, and there are many ways to log your water intake on your iPhone. But this is another health factor that’s easily neglected during a long stretch at your workstation. Installing a water tracker on your Mac can ensure you remember to drink regularly during the working day.
7. Water Tracker
Water Tracker is a simple app with a clear interface that will help you set a target quantity for your water intake, log each glass you drink, and send notifications to help you remember to stay hydrated. This app takes moments to set up, and the benefit to your concentration and health makes it well worth it.
Download: Water Tracker (Free)
Now that you’re taking regular breaks for your posture, eyesight, concentration, and hydration, you can also benefit from a quiet moment to allow your mind to rest. There are lots of great apps to help you pause for a mindful moment on the go.
One solution is to install Mindfulness Bell in the menu bar of your Mac. This tiny tool allows you to choose a time interval and let a small or large bell sound at the allotted time, reminding you to take a moment to breathe and be mindful.
Download: Mindfulness Bell Menu Bar (Free)
During a busy working day, you have plenty on your mind, and it’s easy to neglect your physical and mental well-being. Since you’re already using your Mac, installing some of these free apps will allow it to lend a helping hand to enable you to remember your wellness needs. Taking better care of yourself will help boost your concentration and productivity, and hopefully, you’ll be a little less tired by the end of the work session!