2020 shook us up on so many levels. A global pandemic has put our physical health at risk, while also no doubt impacting our mental health in one way or another. 2021 now carries a lot of expectation to deliver a happier and healthier world for all! While we can’t control what is happening worldwide, we can make a point of focusing on taking control of our own personal health and wellbeing as well as those around us. If you felt like you made it to the finish line of 2020 emotionally and physically exhausted, you are certainly not alone. So what exactly are the health trends that are shaping up to be all the rage in 2021, that may help to put a spring back in our health and the health of our communities?
Self-Care to Community-Care: While many people have focused on self-care to navigate the rough ride that has been 2020, interestingly, the worldwide turbulence and spotlighted systemic issues raised, has opened way for people to focus more on community care; or the health and wellbeing of those around them and beyond too. 2020 forced us to count our blessings when faced with harsh realities and realisations around us. One silver-lining is that the pandemic has opened our eyes to inequalities and given us time to reflect, reset and rethink the ways we give (or can give) in the world. There is a growing awareness that helping others is one path to happiness. Wellness industry predictions are that we will start to view wellness as “for all” rather than “for me” and take actions to place more focus on helping our planet and people outside our bubbles. .
Online Virtual Healthcare: While the door was often closed on a lot of the physical contact we could have with wellness providers in 2020, this has also opened the door to innovative new online healthcare options. New offerings were born out of necessity. Most notably, there was a huge rise in online health services (also called “telehealth” available). From consultations with your GP, to virtual sessions with a physio, Zoom counseling sessions and almost everything in between, it is likely now available to you online in many circumstances. This virtual model of health makes expert advice available to more people, no matter where you live in the world. It’s also allowing for reduced rates in many instances, which makes it even more accessible to all. The idea of virtual health consultations has become more widely accepted as the norm, or at least, a feasible option now, whereas a year or two ago, people often couldn’t get their head around how that style of care may be able to work for them. A mixed approach is now being taken, with in-person appointments still available and popular, but online options are now much more readily available and will be so beyond the pandemic as we adapt to our “new normal”.
Tracking Stress: Move over step trackers, tracking stress is the way forward. An increasing number of wearable health tracking devices are now placing a focus on tracking stress levels in individuals. While stress tracking from wearable devices is not new, it’s definitely rising in popularity and new technology is allowing traceables to track stress levels by other means as well as traditional heart rate stress monitoring. For example, some watches now have built-in blood oxygen monitors that can detect when a panic attack may be coming on. Some wearables are even said to be able to minimise the stress response through vibrations that stimulate nerve endings to help temper the stress response.
Mental Health: Thanks to the impact of the 2020 crisis, focusing on mental health has been more front of mind than ever. Beyond the vast amount of new virtual offerings in this space, is the general move towards people being more open-minded about discussing mental health concerns with those around them…and confidently seeking professional help where necessary. There is more of a general acceptance that just like fitness, tending to our mental health is something that we have to prioritise in order to live a happy, healthy and balanced life.
Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy: While this type of therapy has actually been around for centuries, the medical community is starting to focus more on how psychedelic herbs and drugs may be able to assist in modern medicine. It sounds like a trippy idea that supervised use of psychedelic drugs may be a form of accepted therapy, but watch this space as science is taking this seriously.
Bite-Sized Workouts: Short and sweet workouts are continuing to gain traction. They shot up in popularity with the need for “window” workouts needing to fit into people’s new home work & childcare routines. Worldwide, people have a newfound appreciation for the luxury of being able to head out to do a gym class. When the gym moved home during lockdowns, people searched out ways to squeeze in a workout while also wearing many hats in one standard work/school day! Snacking on exercise is the way forward! With many of our normal wellness routines going out the window for long periods over 2020, we’re going to see a real focus on health and wellness in 2021.
This list is in no way exhaustive, but just a taste of some of the new trends that have been out of a year that the world’s health has been put at such risk! Wishing you all a healthy and happy 2021, a year we know we will continue to be happy with going with the flow!