Happy New Year (a few weeks late!). Did you feel a sense of relief when the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve? It felt like we were all waiting for last year to be over. To be fair, 2020 wasn’t exactly easy for anyone, but I remain optimistic that this year will be better. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, however, we’ll all have to continue making sacrifices and adjustments to stay safe. Here, I’ll talk about the ten biggest wellness trends I predict we’ll see this year, based on our continued need to practice social distancing.
- Staying Safe at Home
- Mental and Emotional Self-Care
- More Wellness Trends Ahead
- Hang in There in 2021
Staying Safe at Home
Life goes on, whether there’s a global pandemic happening or not. Here are some of the ways we’re making everyday things work in a safe and socially distanced way.
Trend #1: Touchless Spa Services
The unusual circumstances of the past year have forced us to rethink how we do things. The majority of spa treatments, for example, are on hiatus until it’s safer for us to have close contact with people outside of our families. For now, you can take advantage of touchless spa services, like cryotherapy, compression therapy, and infrared saunas. You might try one in place of your usual massage or facial, as they don’t require a therapist or aesthetician to physically touch you. If you’ve been itching for a day at the spa, you can still make it happen in 2021. If not, then consider at-home products like this infrared sauna blanket.
Trend #2: Fitness Apps
Though gyms are closed and fitness classes are currently on hold, it’s more important than ever to get regular exercise. Not only does it offer some protection against COVID-19, it also helps you to stay balanced in a stressful time. Thanks to the wealth of fitness streaming apps available for purchase, it’s easier to make effective home workouts part of your regular wellness routine. If you want a quick, virtual training session, then have a look at Mind Body. Also check out OpenFit, which offers everything from barre, yoga, and Pilates, to kickboxing and weight training. You might also like Obé Fitness, which features workouts like cardio boxing and prenatal/postnatal yoga. And for dance lovers, there’s CLI Studios, which offers classes in every style from beginner to advanced. Many of these apps offer live classes in addition to their extensive on-demand menus, as well as free trial periods. At $100-$200 a year, they’re an excellent investment in your health.
Trend #3: Virtual Medical Care
If you needed to see a doctor in 2020, chances are good you were offered a virtual appointment in place of an in-person one. Until the coronavirus pandemic has subsided, it’s likely we’ll continue to see healthcare providers offering (or, in some cases, requiring) this kind of care. And even when we’ve returned to normal, it’s possible you’ll be able to see your doctor for certain appointments, like follow-ups, using an app. It’s no substitute for a physical exam, of course, but it’s a great way to keep in touch with the people you trust with your health.
Mental and Emotional Self-Care
Months of quarantine haven’t done wonders for our mental and emotional health. As we do our best to cope with feelings of social isolation and uncertainty, here are some current trends I predict will remain relevant throughout the year.
Trend #4: Online Therapy
When I talked about online therapy programs in my roundup of wellness trends in 2020, I had no idea how relevant they would become in just a matter of weeks. Because of the virus outbreak, online mental health support has gained significant traction. These days, mental health practitioners are offering virtual and telephone appointments, and the popularity of portals like BetterHelp and Talkspace continues to increase. It’s a great and very safe way to work through stress, anxiety, and depression, and, as it turns out, many patients prefer it to traditional in-person therapy. Much like virtual medical care, I think online therapy is here to stay. Not only does it adhere to social distancing recommendations, it’s also more convenient and comfortable for many people. And anything that gets people to ask for professional help when they need it is a fantastic new development.
Trend #5: Mindfulness Exercises
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by what feels like an endless stream of bad news these days. If you find yourself feeling stressed on a daily basis, you’re far from alone. That’s where mindfulness exercises come in—simple meditative behaviors that can help you to relax, center yourself, and move forward in a more peaceful way. There’s no time like the present to master the technique of mindfulness-based stress reduction. It’s something you can learn and practice in the comfort of your own home and take with you wherever you go. There’s great value in that, both during the pandemic and beyond.
Trend #6: Intuitive Eating
In trying times, it’s tempting to let our good eating habits fall by the wayside. Whether you’re eating your lunch while Zooming with coworkers or stress-snacking during a Netflix marathon, an eating reset could be good for you. At your next meal, put your phone and laptop away and eat mindfully instead. Intuitive or mindful eating means eating only when you’re truly hungry and enjoying meals without distractions. It means chewing slowly and savoring each bite, rather than shoveling in your meal as quickly as possible. Eating mindfully can help you to lose weight and enjoy a healthier relationship with food.
Trend #7: The Digital Detox
If you were a technology addict before COVID-19 hit, it’s highly unlikely that things have improved since then. For the past year, many of us have had to shift to working, going to school, and socializing online rather than in person. And since it seems like there’s bad news every day, we’ve become addicted to checking our phones and tablets nonstop. If you find yourself compulsively scrolling through your Facebook and Insta feeds every hour or staying up late at night doing the dreaded “doom scroll,” it may be time for a digital detox. How you do it is up to you—you could commit to putting your phone away at night or banish electronics to the closet for the weekend. The important thing is that you spend time reconnecting withto your true priorities, like your loved ones and your health. Need more motivation to take a break? Check out the benefits of detaching from technology, like better sleep and improved relationships.
More Wellness Trends Ahead
As we continue to navigate an uncertain future, here are a few more of my predictions for health and wellness this year.
Trend #8: Prioritizing Environmental Wellness
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to think and speak more about our impact on the environment. On the one hand, social distancing guidelines have resulted in a huge reduction in travel, which, in turn, has helped to improve the air quality in many areas. On the other, the widespread use of disposable masks could present a new threat to the cleanliness of our oceans. In any case, I think we’ll see a renewed commitment to this aspect of environmental wellness as we do our best to protect the Earth. That means voluntarily engaging in green activities like recycling and reusing goods, but it also means enjoying the beauty of our world. The next time you’re feeling overloaded, try taking a brisk fifteen-minute walk to appreciate the sights and sounds of nature. Breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the beautiful weather, and remember why you choose to do your part to take care of the planet.
Trend #9: Walk-and-Talk Therapy
Speaking of taking a walk, check out the benefits of walk-and-talk therapy. This practice works much like traditional psychotherapy, except that the practitioner and patient go for a walk outdoors as they talk. If you miss the in-person connection of traditional therapy but want to remain safe in the pandemic, this could be a good option for you. Getting fresh air and exercise can help you to process your feelings more effectively in your sessions, and walking is an excellent fitness activity to boot. You can also reap some of the mind-body benefits of walk-and-talk therapy by having regular walking dates with a good friend. You’ll hardly notice how many miles you’re traveling as you vent, share ideas, and enjoy each other’s company.
Trend #10: Practicing Gratitude
It’s tempting (and often fun!) to complain about the trying times we’re living in, but it’s good to remember how truly fortunate we are. This year, don’t forget to practice gratitude on a daily basis. Do it by writing in a gratitude journal or by saying thank you to the people who make a difference. When life gets complicated, it’s so important to be thankful for the people who have kept us afloat, whether it’s our family, our coworkers, or our friends. The proven benefits of gratitude include better physical and mental health, improved relationships, and even better sleep. That’s a lot to be thankful for already!
Hang in There in 2021
What we’ve been through hasn’t been easy. As we move closer (hopefully!) to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, please continue to take good care of yourself and stay safe.