Six apps to help you take it easy in 2018, for mindfulness, meditation and relaxation

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Start the year as you mean to go on (Source: Getty)

There's nothing like the Christmas break to relax and unwind from the daily stresses of life. If only that feeling could last a little longer, eh?

Here are some useful apps to keep relaxed into the new year if the thought of getting back into the swing of things is  proving a little daunting, or, if your new year resolution is just to take life a little easier in 2018.

Headspace

Headspace will get you started on a beginners meditation course which has been labelled "kind of genius" by Emma Watson. Because let's face it, meditation does not come easy to everyone. 

Calm

Voted Apple's app of the year, it was co-founded by the mind behind kids brand Moshi Monsters, British entrepreneur Michael Acton Smith

Calm offers traditional mindfulness and meditation guides and "stories" to help you get to sleep and ensure you're fresh and rested for the next day.

Cove

Originally designed to help young people deal with bereavement, Cove can also be used by adults to keep track of their feelings through music. It's being tested by the NHS and was developed with clinicians from Imperial College.

You can out together different elements that reflect your mood and store them in a journal to record how you feel at certain times.

Breathe

Apple Watch users might find reminders from Breathe just another alert that they dismiss instantly, but taking just a minute to follow its instructions (as it says on the tin, breathing in and out, with a moving shape) could be just the break you need to refocus attention. 

You can also change the length of these interludes and tailor the length of breaths as well as scheduling how often you get the reminders. The iPhone health app also monitors how often you do the sessions, helping you keep track.

Peak 

While not quite in the same vein as mindfulness apps, the result of using "brain training" app Peak is that it focuses the mind on specific activities and uses time on your phone (which let's face it, you'll likely be spending it that way anyway) productively.

The mini games cover areas such as memory, language, attention and mental agility.

Lake

On a slightly different but not entirely dissimilar note, this app brings all the joy of colouring in books to to your phone.

A smooth, simple and satisfying interface, too many pictures to choose from - including those shared by artists and illustrators - it's pretty easy to get absorbed and forget entirely the world around you.