The road to “self-management” (full personal independence) has a long learning curve. If you’re disabled, the curve is even steeper—not only because of the disability itself, but because society still tends to focus on “can’t-dos.” People may have told you, for as long as you can remember, that you’ll never really be able to take care of yourself.
Don’t believe it. The first step is to look at what you can do, then trust that you can learn to do much more. Even with full-body paralysis or major mental limitations, people can learn, grow, and have a say in their own lives. They rarely need human attendants 24/7 either, especially with today’s assistive-technology options.
BridgingApps’ online database and AT labs offer hundreds of apps and other technologies for building self-management skills. The lists below are only a sample: contact us for personal help choosing the best technology.
Self-Management Skills, with Suggested Apps
- Self-care: Everyday practices that keep your body and mind strong: e.g., healthy eating, exercise, sleep, rest breaks, fun time, prayer/meditation, and caring for personal medical needs. (Note that even if you have a chronic illness, you can take action to stay as healthy as possible.) Suggested apps: Medisafe Medication Management; MyFitnessPal: Calorie Counter
- Self-control: More than just holding back meltdowns, true self-control means nurturing the emotional stability that keeps meltdown temptations at bay, and frees mental energy to focus on priorities. Suggested app: Tappy: Self Care Fidgeter
- Stress management: Personalized strategies (e.g., deep breathing, yoga stretches, organizing something, or taking a brisk walk) to calm down when life gets tense and meltdowns threaten. (Note: Prevention is better than cure: practice everyday relaxation and decluttering before things get stressful.) Suggested apps: Calm; Shine: Calm Anxiety & Stress
- Mindfulness: Ability to curb toxic thinking by focusing on current surroundings and staying aware of one’s feelings. Includes releasing desire to control the uncontrollable. Suggested app: Mindful Powers™
- Initiative: Ability to think up new ideas, plus the courage to test ideas in the larger world. Suggested app: Resume Builder – Template
- Goal setting: Making specific, long-term plans for personally meaningful achievements, and scheduling regular steps in that direction. Suggested app: Todoist: To-Do List & Planner (see also: 8 Ways to Set and Track Your Goals in Todoist)
- Planning: Covers daily routines and special events plus long-term goals. Effective planning means keeping true priorities in their rightful place; eliminating unnecessary tasks; and leaving room to deal with unavoidable interruptions. Suggested apps: Can Plan; Pomodor; Structured – Daily Planner; Visual Schedule Planner
- Budgeting: The art of keeping financial resources in the right places for the right priorities. Suggested app: EveryDollar: Budget Your Money
- Problem solving: Ability to figure out ways around and through obstacles. Suggested app: Peak—Brain Training
- Resilience: Ability to recover and get back on track after colliding with a major disappointment. Suggested app: Mend: Self Care for Breakups
- Attitude of gratitude: Ability to see and appreciate the good in current circumstances, however hard life may seem. Includes courage to hope and dream for an even better future. Suggested app: Grateful: A Gratitude Journal
Best Practices for Cultivating Self-Management Skills, with Suggested Apps
- Build breaks into your schedule. Regular “recharge time”—physical and mental—keeps you in shape to learn better and do more. Suggested apps: One-Moment Meditation; Smiling Mind: Meditation App
- Know your personal triggers—the things that provoke you to meltdown or depression. Make a point of avoiding these triggers when possible, and being prepared to deal with them when they can’t be avoided. (Important: This is about you and whatever pushes your built-in buttons. Don’t worry about what anyone else can or can’t shrug off.) Suggested app: No More Meltdowns
- Find someone to be accountable to—a therapist or close loved one who can view your challenges objectively, and help you set ambitious-yet-realistic goals. Suggested app: Talkspace Therapy and Support
- Cultivate everyday relationships. Even if you’re a serious introvert, you need loved ones to encourage you, comfort you, and add to your joy through shared interests. Suggested app: Meetup: Social Events & Groups
- Resolve to keep learning and growing all your life. Suggested apps: explore.org; Khan Academy
Share your own favorite apps (and self-management practices) in the comments!