It’s time for a fresh start. We are ready to move on and looking at what is new in wellness in 2021. Many of us can’t wait to get back outdoors and are facing the year with a renewed sense of love for the natural world
Wellness is beginning to extend beyond our personal needs, as we realize that we can attain good health more easily within a healthy society and environment. We are seeing more group activities focusing on kindness to nature and fellow living beings. While we expect more digital platforms and solutions as a way to achieve wellness, there is also a growing interest in minimalist and sustainable practices.
Our physical and mental health depend on our access to green spaces, and natural organic ingredients are becoming ever more popular for the health conscious. Interest in plant medicine and natural remedies is also on the rise.
Many of us will be looking forward to traveling again. However, 2020 has also reminded us to value our homes more, enjoy traveling locally, garden more, and really make the best of the spaces we live in.
Here are the top 10 wellness trends in 2021 that we think will gain more focus this year.
1. MENTAL HEALTH
As the fight against depression and other mental illnesses has become a global campaign, people are becoming more aware that mental health is important and integral to holistic wellness. Meditation and other relaxing techniques have been added to our daily routines.
As pandemic measures pushed many of us into social isolation and financial uncertainty, we have had to come to terms with some level of mental distress. The Society of Actuaries cited, in its 2020 trends report, that the increase in unemployment claims in several countries could lead to worsening mental health conditions.
There is help available though, and many mental health services have moved online. This could increase access for those people who usually couldn’t or wouldn’t feel comfortable using these services. One example is telehealth in the United States, whose visits increased by 154% in the last week of March 2020.
2. LIVING SPACES AT HOME
Now that we spend more time at home, either working or resting, we can observe the impact of our spaces on our wellbeing. Our homes are no longer just a place to rest after a long day at the office. They have become all-in-one areas for working, relaxing, entertainment, creating, and bonding with family and friends. Making our spaces more versatile has been a popular interest, and the best home interior designs have highlighted comfort and flexibility.
Being surrounded by the things we enjoy and consider beautiful also helps us maintain a positive mood. It inspires us to be productive and pursue our creative impulses amid major changes in what we perceive as normal.
3. HOME FITNESS
Exercising or doing yoga at home has become commonplace even for those who didn’t consider it before 2020. While the idea of exercising at home would be automatic for the health buff, many of us just started fitness workouts last year. This could be due to either the lack of movement or mere boredom.
We are giving much more attention to our physical health than before when we were consistently busy outside our homes. Many fitness and yoga instructors are concentrating more on video and live online classes. Some people use mobile apps as guides for simple stretching routines or high intensity interval training.
4. SKIN MICROBIOME
We are becoming more conscious about our skin, not only for confidence and beauty, but for our everyday health. Skin, as the largest organ of the body, is our barrier to infections. The importance of the skin barrier and microbiome has been in the spotlight since the pandemic. To note, a study suggests that COVID-19 has higher stability on our skin than its predecessor SARS.
To better protect ourselves, it is beneficial to understand the microbiomes, which consist of microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses, that live on our skin. Our skin is a "continuously self-renewing organ" and its microbiota differ depending on various factors. These include our environments, choices of clothing, soap, cosmetic and skincare products.
5. SEXUAL HEALTH
The importance of sexual health and pleasure is set to become a more mainstream topic in 2021. It is increasingly being viewed as integral to one’s overall contentment and mental health. The lockdown and social distancing measures of the previous year caused major disruption in many people’s relationships. Some couples have been separated for months and others confined together in a way they had never been before. This caused us to reevaluate our relationships with each other and ourselves.
6. CONSCIOUS COOKING AND DIET
Healthy eating is an important part of keeping a strong immune system and is the best defense against many common ailments. Since our favorite restaurants and takeaways have been closed, some of us have been cooking and baking more often than before. Some people are discovering the joy of cooking through meal kits which are easy-to-cook meals that come with measured ingredients and preparation guides. Many are embracing or becoming open to the idea of plant-based and organic diets as a necessity for us and our planet.
7. HEALTHY STORE CUPBOARD FOODS
As people look to more sustainable and healthy ways to eat, many traditional store cupboard foods are becoming popular again. Healthy dried pulses, grains, fruits, nuts and seeds are earth-friendly alternatives to processed foods and out-of-season fruits and vegetables.
There is an increasing wide selection of herbs, spices, oils, vinegars, nut and seed butters, and dried superfoods becoming available. Traditional ingredients such as mushrooms, seaweeds and oats are regaining appreciation in the culinary world for their textures, flavors and health benefits.
8. PLANT MEDICINE
There is a growing case for entheogenic plant medicines as an effective natural remedy for depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. Mainstream medical studies are testing their potential for use in psychotherapy. Derived from natural sources such as mushrooms, cacti and shrubs, entheogens have long been a part of indigenous ceremonies around the globe. There are centers in Europe and America that offer retreats with guided use of entheogens.
9. SELF-CARE THROUGH COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION
A good regime of self-care maintains our physical and mental health, providing also our social needs through community participation. As social beings, humans are happier and better when connected to others, according to psychologist Paul Bloom. Since social distancing has been emphasized as necessary to reduce transmission of coronavirus, online platforms for meetups and shared interest communities are becoming more mainstream.
10. FOOD SECURITY AND HOME GARDENING
Food security is a matter that many of us have previously taken for granted. We have witnessed the way the economic systems can grind to a halt and how governments struggle to meet the basic necessities of the majority of people. In this light, more individuals now want to take control of their own food and minimize reliance on supply chains. For some, this can be achieved through home or community gardening. They want to know where their food is coming from to ensure its quality and to reduce damage to the planet.