By Mara Benner
Even as we head into the new year, the COVID-19 pandemic that defined 2020 continues to impact us in areas such as health, wellbeing, fitness and nutrition. Even before COVID-19, global wellness expenditures had been increasing, with the Global Wellness Institute reporting that the overall spend reached more than $4.5 trillion.
That trend is not likely to slow in 2021, as individuals continue to remain home, transforming the wellness sector through evolving innovations. Here are the eight wellness trends likely to impact you this year.
Home based fitness and wellbeing
Your favorite workout classes, yoga studios and even meditation sessions are now focused on supporting you outside of their physical business location. Fitness, yoga and other classes are now being offered online. At the same time, the fitness sector has also seen an increase in the use of artificial intelligence. For instance, NordicTrack now offers its Vault home fitness, which pairs artificial intelligence to its mirror workout through an iFit program. Workout accessories such as weights are also included in the Vault for easy access and use.
Meanwhile, Netflix has collaborated with Headspace to offer a new series on mindfulness and meditation. Now you can stream mindfulness practices from your couch and reduce stress and anxiety, ease tension and get better sleep. “Headspace Guide to Meditation” is now streaming on Netflix.
Employment alternatives for wellness efforts
While in the past business meetings were conducted over lunch or coffee or even a martini, the new trend is to meet outdoors. Socially distanced walks provide coworkers and friends the chance to safely distance while connecting in person. Plus, you can get your 10,000 steps needed for the day.
Employers are also recognizing the need to offer additional stress management support for their employees, including helping them balance work, life and kids sharing the family internet. Businesses are therefore offering an array of options, including meditation, counseling services and even nutritional advice. In some scenarios, the services are tailored to the employee through a lifestyle spending account option where the employee chooses where they will receive holistic services.
Speaking of nutrition, as we continue to focus on how we can keep our immune system strong through the winter, more restaurants are offering options for alcohol-free drinks, including an array of healthy juices. This trend will likely increase as coffee shops may be difficult to visit and people are seeking more options to satisfy their sipping needs.
Plant based meats
Alcohol-free drinks are just one of the many dining trends happening, as restaurants have to rethink how they are delivering food to people living in lockdown. Vegetarian options have always been the norm, but many consumers are now seeking plant-based meats too. Egg alternatives and vegan chicken have been gaining popularity since last year. This year, food companies such as Good Catch and Sophie’s Kitchen will reportedly offer a vegan fish now too.
Mind, body and spirit – holistic care
The pandemic has shown that not all people respond in a similar fashion to the virus. Now, even healthy individuals who contract COVID-19 are being impacted by long-term symptoms. These people have been called “long haulers.” Healthcare organizations and providers are seeking holistic approaches to address an array of physical, emotional and mental symptoms. More research is needed, but the situation calls for an integrated, holistic approach for these individuals to help them address these longer lasting symptoms.
Missed in-person massages or acupuncture sessions? While the wellness community adapts to safety precautions when offerings services, many wellness options are now moving to luxury personal self-care options mailed to you at home. This new wellness trend offers tips and products to ensure that you are sticking with your new year’s resolution to care for yourself – whether through self-care daily tips, new fitness trends, health updates, essential oils, recipes or other wellness products.
Consumers gained interest in CBD products in 2020 and show no signs of slowing as we enter the new year. Interest will continue to grow with revenues reaching $20 billion by 2024, according to Market Business News. CBD is now offered in all types of products and is readily available in Alexandria too. Two businesses in particular are Your CBD Store and Alexandria-based Healthnetics.
Wellness on the go
Many wellness initiatives are available right at your fingertips. A wide variety of helpful wellness and health apps are being developed that help individuals with everything from sleep to fitness to tracking your emotions and so much more.
Mara Benner is the founder of Four Directions Wellness, connecting body, mind, emotions and spirit. The organization is affiliated with the GW Center for Integrative Medicine and offers individual sessions, classes and consulting.