COVID has changed the way we eat and live, and renewed our interest in staying healthy.
To better understand what to expect and pay extra attention to in 2021, we've looked closer at the market and tapped into our expert network for their perspectives.
While we already could see some of these health and wellness trends last year, the global pandemic has accelerated them - and created new ones.
Here's what 2021 has in store in terms of health and wellness shifts based on the predictions of this group of industry leaders.
Mental Wellness is the top priority
"Leaders in the $4.5 trillion wellness sector are in agreement that mental wellness is the top trend coming out of the pandemic, and that it has all of the many other pathways to wellness embedded within it", says Professor Gerry Bodeker.
"Resilience and the means to it – including regular exercise, meditative practices, supportive social connections and healthy eating – is the need of the time. A body of science supports the use of these approaches for enhancing mental wellness.
It has never been clearer that the mind-body connection is essential for our wellbeing going forward. By taking care of the mind and emotions through wellness pathways, we are strengthening the body and its capacity to resist an combat illness."
The Global Wellness Institute values the mental wellness economy at $121 billion. The four sub-sectors of this global market are; Senses, Spaces & Sleep ($49.5 billion), Brain-Boosting Nutraceuticals & Botanicals ($34.8 billion), Meditation & Mindfulness ($2.9 billion), and Self-Improvement ($33.6 billion).
Learning how to relax and adapt to new changes is key
Dr Goh puts emphasis on the need for a positive mental attitude to be able to keep going. "Conquer fear & paranoia and learn to relax through meditation or prayers. Indulge in a home-made spa, perform yoga, pilates, or listen to relaxing music.
Learn to adapt to and live with changes. Take the opportunity to pick up new skills, or to foster stronger relationships with family members by doing things together at home.
2020 has put many people in the dark - being apprehensive, depressed, paranoid, fearful and feeling lost. Covid-19 is not going away anytime soon. We may only see the light at the end of 2021. However, we shouldn’t let this pandemic bring us down".
Boosting up the immune system becomes essential
In the middle of a global pandemic, it's no surprise that different ways to boost the immune system are on the rise. While following official guidelines is important to help stop the spread of diseases like COVID-19, "you can do many things to keep your immune system as healthy as possible", says Dr Goh.
"From staying hydrated, to sleeping enough, or having a balanced exercise routine at home. Invest time into understanding the needs for additional nutrition & perhaps certain supplements that can boost up your immune system and keep you healthy."
Gut Health is expected to go mainstream
"Gut health has been in the spotlight for years. As we better understand its importance in connection to our immune system and mental health, gut health is expected to go mainstream. Products with good gut bacteria will be found in mainstream supermarket chains", says Carina Lipold.
A healthy gut supports heart health, brain health, improved mood, healthy sleep, a strong immune system, and effective digestion. It may even help prevent some cancers and autoimmune diseases.
Dr. Carolyn Goh agrees. "Now more than ever, gut health protocols and natural remedies will take a prime position as the key to modulating immune function and reducing inflammation".
"Expect a greater emphasis on consuming foods and herbs which are in season, are native to one’s birth country, and are of various colours and hues, all of which are essential for cultivating a healthy microbiome.
In 2021 there will also be an increase in demand for self-care toolkits to address issues ranging from stress, sleep disorders and auto-immunity".
- 8 Steps To Mindful Eating & What That Does For The Gut
- Your Brain & Gut Health Are Linked—Here’s What You Need To Know
- 6 Self Care Holiday Gift Ideas for 2020
Evolving Eating Habits and a shift towards more plant-based foods
“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather cure and prevent disease with nutrition"
- Thomas Edison
The coronavirus crisis has made people re-evaluate their diets, since it has put extra emphasis on the link between food and health.
"Staying home is a good time to start eating healthy foods", says Dr Goh. "If you have some extra space at home, why not plant some vegetables or herbs to level up your dinner?"
Expect people leaning more into plant-based in 2021, even if they keep meat in their diet. The intuitive eating trend is also growing, which promotes a healthy attitude toward food and body image. It's "simply" about eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full - which will be easier for some of us than others.
- 3 Delicious Plant-Based Holiday Recipes to Make at Home
- Game Change Your Life - Why Living Plant-Based Will Change You Forever
Integrative Dermatology is on the rise
Clinicians are charged with the important responsibility of caring for the whole patient, mentally as well as physically, to achieve therapeutic success. Integrative Dermatology is the first comprehensive resource in this growing field that strives to examine and combine best practices from both complementary and alternative healing modalities, such as supplements, diet, mind-body medicine, and traditional medicine.
The shift towards plant based foods fits in with the gut skin brain connection and a more sustainable ethos to healing, says Dr Ruban. He chooses to practice Integrative Dermatology by using nutrition and targeted supplements that respects the Skin Gut Brain connection, combined with conventional medical therapeutics where necessary.
The approach to wellness becomes more holistic
Instead of focusing only on the physical aspects of eating, moving and sleeping, other dimensions like financial and spiritual wellness gain attention. While this isn't something new, the pandemic has encouraged more people to take a holistic approach to wellness.
"Wellness has also returned to its roots and is now focused on things that really matter that everyone can do, no matter of their income or social status", says Carina Lipold. "Such as moving a bit more, eating better with what's locally available, and spending time with loved ones. Since this wellness approach is accessible by nearly everyone, taking care of oneself becomes something fundamental, instead of something additional in life".
How to sleep better turns personal
Sleep has always been important, and due to its connection to the immune system it has been an extra hot topic lately. Sleep recommendations become more personalized, focusing on each individual's chronobiology instead of general sleep advice.
This allows us to receive individual recommendations on when to sleep, eat, work, workout and more, to perform at our best.
Wellness at home gets more sophisticated
Healthy buildings, buildings with non-toxic material and ensuring best air quality, best lighting (based on our chronobiology) and more were up and coming before COVID too. With people staying more at home and worrying about clean air, this trend has only taken off more.
According to The Global Wellness Institute, residential real estate will be transformed by the wellness movement. Our homes and surrounding environment determine up to 80–90 percent of our health outcomes. With that in mind, it makes sense that they also should be an investment in our overall health and wellbeing.
Being outdoors helps coping with lockdown blues
An multi-international study published by the The Happiness Research Institute suggests that time spent outdoors could be important for our happiness and mental health during periods of restrictions and isolation.
The benefits of green spaces and nature on our mental health during periods of lockdown has already been demonstrated in previous research.
The recent study shows how happiness and mental health were affected by three factors; being outdoors, feelings of loneliness, and the amount of daily screen time – during a national lockdown.
What do you think of the trends above? Let us know in the comments.