Tracking My Life with Symple (App Review)
Disclaimer: This is not sponsored, I'm just an app geek who really loves this app! :)
I recently shared some of the lessons I've learned in the first year since being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in a video on my YouTube channel (watch it here). Learning how to read the signals my body is sending me is a huge part of how I keep track of physical and mental symptoms. And one way that I've been able to keep a record of those symptoms is through an app called Symple. I've been using this app for several months now and it's been enormously helpful in more ways than one, so I thought I'd share my thoughts on the app in case it might help others looking for something similar.
How it works
You choose or create the symptoms you want to track. The free version lets you track 10 symptoms but I paid for the upgrade, it was only a couple bucks and totally worth it. The day is then broken up into 4 segments, night, AM, mid day, and PM. You can set reminder alerts at any time within those time blocks and you rank each symptom on a scale: none, mild, moderate, difficult, severe. I try to do my tracking at the same time each day. I do the night check as soon as I wake up and put in anything that I noticed during the night. If I slept straight through I usually select "none" for everything. But if I had insomnia, bad dreams, woke up a few times with back or knee pain, I would record that as soon as I wake up. I do the AM after I've been awake for a few hours later in the morning. Then I usually check in around the middle of the afternoon and finally about an hour or so before bed.
There are some other functions, like a journal, and "factors" that you can record as well. Factors are things that impact your symptoms. So you can record a factor when you eat certain foods or go to physical therapy, have a good day at work or a bad day at work, and then see how those factors correspond to an increase or decrease in the severity of your symptoms. For someone who is interested in tracking how their body or mind responds to a certain food or exercise, this is really helpful, but it's not a feature I use. But I do appreciate that it has that function if I need it.
There's also a calendar so you can jump back to any day to see how you were feeling and an option to print of a report that you could take to your doctor which could be really helpful if you're needing to track a number of symptoms and issues. I've been using it to track both my mental health (anxiety, depression, bad dreams, nightmares, stress level, etc.) and my pain (knee, lower back, shoulder) as well as sort throat from allergies, and my other fibro symptoms like brain fog and fatigue.
If you tilt the screen you can get a chart of the last month, 3 months, 6 months, year, and 2 years, which gives you a great overview of how you're feeling over a longer course of time. If you tap the little "i" for information button you get a overlay of the ranking of the symptoms, I love this because it helps me see over the course of a month or so how many times any symptom was in the difficult or severe range. You can also view two symptoms at a time, you just slide the top or bottom until you get to the pairing you want, this is great because it lets me see how my fatigue matches with my stress or anxiety (am I more or less anxious if I'm more or less tired?), it's been enormously helpful.
Overall the app is super user friendly and easy to use. I've tried a few other symptom trackers before but they were so confusing and had way too many features. I've been using Symple for a few months and it's been exactly what I want.
Why I love it
The biggest thing I like about this app, the reason I've used it so consistently, is because of the record it provides for me. I can see how I'm feeling throughout the day. If I have a rough afternoon it's easy to feel like the whole day was miserable. But the app shows me that the morning actually wasn't bad. If by Friday I'm feeling dead on my feet and super anxious about something and feel tempted to write off the whole week as being bad I can look back through and see that the beginning of the week I was actually feeling really good. I can also see where things started to go downhill, and while I don't track factors in the app I do have a record of my days and my schedule in my bullet journal, so I can usually pin point what it was that tanked the week. Looking at the monthly view I can see roughly what percentage of the month I was doing well with a symptom versus not so well.
For example, I haven't had a major dizzy spell in months, and even though the depression feels like a constant dark cloud, in reality in the past 3 month period I've had as many days with no recorded depression as I've had with a record, and even then only about seven days were ranked at "difficult" and none were "severe". That's a major improvement from the past but also makes me wonder how much of my feeling depressed or in pain in the past was my mind collapsing days in on each other and making me feeling like I was struggling on more days than I really was. We remember bad days more than we remember good days. All it takes is two consecutive rough days and my mind automatically starts thinking the whole week was bad. Since I've started tracking my mood and pain in Symple I've been able to see the days and weeks as they really are, not as my mind twists them. It keeps me from blowing things out of proportion but also helps me deal with problems when they are clearly becoming a repeated problem. When I go to physical therapy on Monday I can look at the app and see that a few days before on Friday I was struggling with back pain and I can tell my PT that's what we need to work on. And it's been a huge help with my psychologist and being able to see how my depression and anxiety are doing from one week to the next. (See last week's post here for a discussion on how I've been taking care of my mental health)
Whatever your problems or struggles, this app has so much flexibility, I've been able to use it for so many more things than I'd thought I would. I'm usually really inconsistent with tracker apps. (Probably why I'm still not drinking enough water lol!) But I've been so consistent with Symple and I can tell it's made a big difference.
I hope this review has helped. Any questions or comments? Please leave them below, I love hearing from you!