By Corey Lewis, CPT, CSCS
It seems hard to believe, but there are just a few weeks of 2019 left. This means it’s almost time for a brand-new year and a fresh start. In fact, we’ve got time before the holiday festivities begin and the New Year’s Eve ball drops. So, I’m reviewing the top 10 wellness trends to watch in 2020 and into the future, from the most talked-about diets to potentially life-changing new products and services. Get a jump on the major wellness trends that will improve your life next year—and for many happy and healthy years to come!
I’ve compiled this list of 10 wellness trends. In addition, I’ll explain a little bit about what each one might mean for you and your personal wellness journey. I’m not recommending or endorsing all of these trends, because everyone is different. What’s right for one person may not be helpful or productive for the next. Consequently, no diet or exercise routine, for example, will work precisely the same way for you as it does for your partner, friend, or coworker.
Instead, I’ll try to give a clear picture of what each of these trends means. Then, you can decide what to do with that information. You know yourself best: what results you want, what most inspires you, and what doesn’t work for you. It’s ultimately up to you to decide what will help you live your best life in 2020!
It seems like everyone is talking about (or advertising) CBD oil, from your friends on social media and in the office to the local drugstore and even your nearest supermarket. CBD is short for cannabidiol. It’s derived from the cannabis plant, and you can buy it in a number of forms, including oil, gummies, capsules, and topical lotions. Users tout CBD oil’s many benefits. These include its anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties, as well its ability to help you relax and sleep more easily. Some people even claim to use CBD oil for weight loss. No wonder it’s become such a thing recently.
As with all products, do your research before making a decision. There are some myths about CBD products to watch out for. Keep in mind that CBD oil products aren’t fully regulated in the U.S. As such, their legality is questionable depending on where you live. The FDA has issued a cautionary statement warning consumers that a number of CBD product manufacturers have made unfounded claims. These include hype about its ability to prevent or treat serious illnesses like cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. They have also found that the products don’t always contain the amount of CBD advertised on the packaging.
It’ll be exciting to see what researchers discover about CBD in the coming years. But for now, my advice is to choose your CBD products carefully. It’s always best to review the use of any new OTC drug or supplement with your doctor.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of the keto (short for ketogenic) diet. Furthermore, you may have friends, family members, and colleagues who rave about their success on it. And while “going keto” for weight loss is a fairly new fad, the diet itself isn’t. Doctors have been using it for nearly a century to effectively help manage drug-resistant epilepsy, especially in younger patients. The keto diet is high in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates. It’s reminiscent of the Atkins diet, which you’ll probably remember from the early 2000s.
The keto eating plan focuses largely on meat, eggs, cheese, poultry, fish, oils, and fibrous veggies. The idea is that their high protein and fat content will kick your body into ketosis, a metabolic state where you burn lots of fat. You can see why it’s so appealing. Who wouldn’t want to eat a filet mignon garnished with full-fat blue cheese crumbles and lose unwanted inches?
If you’re thinking that the benefits of going keto sound too good to be true, however, you’re not entirely wrong. While keto can be an effective strategy for weight loss, it’s wise to exercise caution here. The emphasis on fat and protein can present problems for your liver and kidneys, especially if they are not in perfect shape. (Keep in mind that you could be experiencing certain liver or kidney issues without noticing any obvious symptoms.) Furthermore, the lack of fruits, veggies, and grains in your daily diet can lead to micronutrient deficiencies and (ugh!) constipation. As always, you should discuss any new weight-loss plan that interests you with your family doctor. No diet is “one-size-fits-all,” and there is no “best diet to lose weight.” So, you want to be sure you’re making choices that are completely safe and healthy for you.
I’m sure you have heard chatter about the paleo (short for Paleolithic) diet. It’s commonly known as “the one where you eat like a caveman.” (No, it’s not referring to your table manners!) The paleo diet focuses primarily on the foods researchers believe our ancestors would have eaten in the Paleolithic era, some 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago. The idea is to eat a diet rich in fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, lean meat and fish, and oils derived from fruits and nuts, like olive, avocado, and coconut oil. Paleo dieters abstain from stuff our ancient ancestors wouldn’t have eaten (largely due to lack of availability). The foods they avoid include dairy products, salt, refined sugar, processed foods, potatoes, grains, and legumes.
Unlike the keto diet, the paleo diet doesn’t generally present major risks to your health. Many medical professionals feel that it can be a good choice if you’re looking to lose weight and cut some undesirable elements out of your diet, like salty snacks, microwaveable frozen dinners, and sugary desserts. That said, low-fat cheese and yogurt; whole-wheat bread, cereal, and pasta; and chickpeas and beans are all nutritious and filling. As a result, some experts are skeptical of the paleo diet. This is because it requires you to deprive yourself of a number of healthy foods that many people enjoy. Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you’d like to experiment with chowing down like a Stone Ager in 2020.
Yes, you read that right: pet wellness, including improved nutrition, is a major trend to follow in 2020. While I’m well-versed in food and fitness trends that work well for humans, I won’t comment too much on what’s best for your pooch (or cat, or hamster . . .). But I do predict the pet health trend ramping up. This is because pet owners may now purchase special monthly subscription boxes with all-natural treats and other wellness products. These even include a doggie fitness tracker, to start the new year off on the right paw. No doubt there will be even more pet fitness offerings to come in the near future as animal lovers innovate in this category. Before you change your pet’s diet, though, I have one request. Please review your furry friend’s nutrition plan and exercise routine with your trusted family veterinarian.
Most of us need an escape from the daily grind now and then. As such, researchers have good reason to believe that taking a relaxing vacation could help you live longer. That’s why I think mindfulness retreats (vacations or other getaways that help you to recharge and recenter yourself) will continue to be a major wellness trend in coming years.
Some mindfulness retreats involve guided workshops or group meditation sessions each day. Others are less structured, allowing you to set your own schedule and catch some extra shut-eye. After all, resetting and regulating your sleep patterns is a powerful strategy for stress reduction. This, in turn, will benefit your mental and physical health long after you’ve returned from your week or two away. Many wellness retreat destinations also feature restaurants (or more private, customized dining options) with nutritious meals: think lots of fruits and fresh veggies, lean protein like fish or chicken, and whole grains on your plate.
If you love the sound of a relaxing and rejuvenating trip but are concerned about the cost, you should know that more affordable mindfulness and wellness retreat options are available for travelers nowadays. You don’t need to shell out the cash for a big-name luxury hotel and all its trappings if that’s not in your budget. Sometimes keeping things easy on your wallet is the wisest choice. And, of course, it would be counterproductive in the extreme to overspend on a vacation that will add financial stress to your busy life once your blissful week has ended. Fortunately, as the mindfulness retreat trend continues to gain momentum, I believe we’ll see even more possibilities to suit travelers who are on a budget. These could include “staycations” and other types of group personal training sessions that you can enjoy locally.
Therapy: you’ve probably heard someone in your life talk at length about its benefits. But you may not have considered trying it yourself. While seeing a therapist has numerous benefits, many people feel it’s just not for them. It’s time-consuming, it can be pricey, and the idea of getting so personal with a stranger can make you feel vulnerable and uncomfortable.
Thankfully, living in the digital age means we have many awesome new mindfulness apps and talk-therapy options available to us. These choices may reduce or eliminate concerns about cost and personal discomfort. As a matter of fact, many great mindfulness apps are either partially or completely free to download and use. You will find guided meditation sessions, soothing audio and video content (think falling rain or rushing ocean waves) to help you relax and sleep, and even special metrics to track your progress. Many apps offer free content with the option to purchase more later.
You also may be familiar with online therapy programs like Talkspace and BetterHelp. Founded in 2012, Talkspace matches you with one of over 5000 licensed professional therapists. Depending on the membership plan you purchase, you will have unlimited text, video, and audio messaging capabilities, or even 30-minute live sessions. It’s all HIPAA compliant, so you can be sure that your sessions are completely confidential.
BetterHelp is another online counseling platform, and the services it offers are similar to Talkspace. For a weekly fee, you’ll be matched with a licensed and qualified therapist for private messaging and live phone and video sessions. BetterHelp offers therapy for individuals (both teens and adults) as well as couples. Again, the service is HIPAA compliant and promises to protect your personal information.
I don’t specifically endorse any of these apps or services. As you may know, I feel it’s always best for you to consult with your doctor about anything you’re experiencing. While talking to a therapist via an online program may be beneficial, it isn’t a substitute for in-person therapy. Some people absolutely require face-to-face meetings, such as those who are in crisis or emergency situations. Think of this as a wellness trend to watch, which can be a great fit if you simply need to “talk it out” with someone. It’s a great choice if you just need someone who can help you work through your everyday stresses. For serious problems, however, you should check-in (in person, that is) with a primary care provider who knows your health history. Do that before deciding whether and how to pursue therapy.
Stress and anxiety stink—but thankfully, essential oils and other aromatherapy products smell great! In fact, these products can help you to achieve a more peaceful mindset with just a few whiffs. Essential oils have been a wellness trend for several years now, and it’s likely you’ll see more of them in the coming years. And yes, that does include your coworker who won’t stop trying to sell them to you.
You can diffuse your oils, use them to scent your dryer balls, or use them in homemade soaps. Take note that you should exercise extreme caution and courtesy before using them in an office or other shared spaces. Consider that these products can trigger asthma attacks or cause headaches in people who are sensitive to scents. Some oils are considered unsafe for babies, children, and pregnant women, and medical professionals don’t consider them safe for internal consumption (e.g., using them in your food or beverages).
If all this sounds too complicated for you, or if you’re allergic or otherwise sensitive to essential oils, you may prefer other scented self-care products. Raw Sugar body washes are plant-based, smell amazing, and are not tested on animals. And for after your bubble bath or shower, there are Bliss body butters. These have light, fresh scents and will keep your skin feeling soft and moisturized for hours.
Remember that effective self-care can be simple! It’s not intended to cure or treat disease, and you shouldn’t use as a substitute for professional medical care. It’s just a little something that can help you to feel happier and more relaxed—and maybe even sleep better. Make a resolution that in the coming year you’ll spend a little time each day doing things that help you to chill out—and stick to it!
When we talk about general wellness, we usually think about nutrition, fitness, stress relief, and sleep. This is all good stuff that keeps us feeling energized, balanced, and ready to take on the world. It turns out, however, that there’s more to wellness than eating well, working out, going to bed on time, and taking some time each day to meditate, though all those habits are important. Take a look at the wellness wheel. You’ll note that financial wellness is another hugely important part of an overall happy life. In 2020 and beyond, I believe there will continue to be a focus on achieving greater financial wellness, which looks a little different for each person.
What concrete steps could you take to achieve greater financial stability and success next year? Maybe it’s committing to make bigger monthly payments on your student loans or subletting part of your living space to a roommate to reduce your share of the monthly rent. Maybe it’s contributing more money to your retirement account than in previous years or opening an investment portfolio with a professional financial advisor. Even small changes can add up to big savings in the long term.
But whatever you do, wisely managing your money is an important form of self-care! This wellness trend might not be as relaxing as sipping herbal tea or going for a run. But making choices that result in greater stability and less debt should significantly reduce your stress level. And decreasing stress and anxiety about your finances means you can enjoy all the other amazing things going on in your life that much more.
Athleisure has enjoyed immense popularity in the last several years. So, I believe even more stylish collections are coming soon, for both men and women. Athleisure allows you to go from the office to the gym or yoga studio and back without having to pack a separate outfit. Fashionable fitness fanatics will, as always, have an eye on the best workout clothes for women (and men) in 2020. For example, women might look into Gymshark Leggings, or Lululemon Align Pants, while both women and men might look into some of the best squat shoes. However, there’s more to athleisure now than amazing leggings or moisture-wicking performance tees.
In the coming years, athleisure beauty products (or what some call “workout makeup”) are likely to gain increased traction. From tinted facial moisturizers with SPF and dry shampoos with fragrances to die for to all-natural deodorant and eau de toilette, more product options than ever are available to men and women who want to hit the gym looking good and return to class or a boardroom feeling (and smelling!) fresh. And if you enjoy exercising outdoors, adequate sun protection is an absolute must!
It’s likely that you’re familiar with some of the most prominent wellness support groups. These include get-togethers for people to address addiction recovery (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Al-Anon, to name a few) or target weight-loss goals. What you may not know, however, is that there are community wellness support groups. These are designed to help you cope with a variety of health concerns and major life changes.
Your local medical or community center, for example, may offer meetings for community members who are living with cancer, considering or recovering from bariatric weight loss surgery, experiencing menopause, or acting as primary caregivers for loved ones with diagnoses like Alzheimer’s disease. There are support groups for new mothers, full-time stay-at-home parents, and working adults who are between jobs and actively seeking employment. There are even groups for people who have experienced the recent loss of loved ones.
While many support groups meet in community spaces like churches, these groups may not be religious in nature. Don’t be afraid to call or email the group leader with questions about what meetings are like and what you might expect if you decide to attend. Many major medical centers, hospitals, and community centers list their available groups and meeting times right on their websites. Often, they even extend open invitations to new attendees.
Dealing with a health challenge (yours or a loved one’s) or other significant life change can make you feel stressed, anxious, frightened, and helpless. Thankfully, you don’t need to go it alone. If you can’t find a group that addresses your particular concerns, you might consider starting your own support group. You never know whose life you may change for the better, beginning with your own.
Now you have a better idea of the big wellness trends we’re likely to see in 2020 and beyond. I hope you’re inspired to make some positive changes that will help you to enjoy your healthiest and happiest year yet. You might decide to set aside some of your savings and vacation days for a rejuvenating wellness retreat. Or, you might simply commit to a few minutes of mindful meditation every night before bed, taking great care of yourself every day is so important. Make a point of sticking to your good habits, and I can guarantee you’ll see a difference.
Happy New Year!