I need something else to do with my brain temporarily. So I thought I'd come here and do something I haven't done in awhile. Write about tech.
I love wearables and especially ones with a focus on emotional and mental health. I discovered, the other day, the Spire.
I've had it for a few days now. Other than a few hours yesterday where I took it off in utter disgust (yes, I blamed the tech. you try tapering valium, menstruating, and being rational at once. go for it.) and it's only a miracle it didn't end up creating a hole in the wall to live in.
And I did this. To myself. All the Spire was doing was following my instructions and reminding me to breathe.
What does the Spire do? It tracks periods of tension, calm, and activity. When one is active it tracks steps. The rest of the time it tracks breathing.
The image over there is from this morning. According to the Spire I was calm for the first 17 minutes I was at work, then tense for 8 minutes, then calm for 3, then active for 3. No focus yet. The tension correlates to some incredible stabbing pains I was experiencing in my abdomen. I was almost certainly holding my breath. Ouch.
The app also has a monthly calendar that gives an overview of the three major segments: calm, activity, focus. In this picture I've been wearing the Spire since the evening of the 24th so it has several days of data. According to that I'm fairly in line with my goals (which have been shrunk down from the device's defaults.)
When I got the Spire one of the first things I did was to set goals and notifications. Right now it tells me if I'm in a streak of some sort (calm, focus, activity) and also buzzes my phone and the device if I have a period of 60 minutes of inactivity or 10 minutes without a deep breath. The default for the deep breath reminders, by the way, is after 60 minutes.
And this version of this screen, Today's Streaks, is probably my favorite so far. That curvy line at the top is a constant animation that shows breathing as it happens. For this screenshot I took a big, deep inhale then a slow exhale (supposedly activating my parasympathetic system).
The downside? The Spire reminded me to take a deep breath immediately after I did that and told me I was about to hit a tense streak. Unexpected. That's ok.
Now, in theory, this thing has a great battery life and one can wear it to sleep. I did fall asleep with it over the weekend. During that time I got approximately 10 reminders to take a deep breath and had a focus streak for 29 minutes until 10:08pm then another 21 minute focus streak ending at 10:30pm. That pattern continued through the night with periods of being reminded to breathe and periods of focus. I guess I'm not the most calm sleeper. My sheets coulda told you that. ;)
The Spire also has a feature I haven't yet used: Boosts. These are guided meditations:
- Focus Boost
- Calm Boost
- Energy Boost
- Deep Meditation
The reviews of those aren't so great (with repeated mentions that Headspace is better) but I'll give them a try and decide what I think later.
What do I think of this little gadget? I dig the reminders, the tracking, and the stats. I love this daily overview.
The Spire seems pretty accurate for an egg shaped think clipped to my bra or panties. It is "washing machine proof" which is akin to saying "lisa proof" though I haven't yet forgotten to remove it from my clothing (almost forgot twice. this washing machine proof thing will get proven in time, no doubt around me). It was somewhat expensive and worth every penny quadrupled if it helps. I like the app though I'd love a way to export the data/share that info on the web with full privacy control settings. It integrates with Healthkit which I haven't found at all useful. That is... er... I haven't found either Healthkit or the Spire's integration with Healthkit useful.
It did just remind me to take a deep breath, though.
I think I'll keep this one.
-Lisa, 2015-04-29, Comment