Here we are at the end of January and there have been plenty of new trends in the health and wellbeing field. Industry experts predict that 2018 will see moringa (a “super” anti-inflammatory green) replace turmeric, collagen overtake protein powders and “nootropic” (brain boosters/cognitive enhancers) supplements climb the top of the popularity list.
Other trends include the focus on gut health, supporting your mitochondria (cell power houses) produce more energy and sleep optimisation. But I’m not going to discuss these here because these trends may work for some people but they may not for others. This happens because of our biochemical individuality – we are all unique in terms of genetics, current health status and environmental & lifestyle factors.
With that in mind, I have picked a couple of trends I found interesting and could perhaps be applied to most of us. Let’s take a look:
I’m really happy to see that disconnecting from social media and technology is deemed to be one of the top wellness trends for 2018. According to top wellness websites Mindbodygreen and Well+Good this year more and more of us will turn away from social media platforms and tech gadgets in a bid to reduce stress and break away from harmful addictions. As technology and apps improve their designs and features to keep us hooked, we aim to retaliate by returning to the real world and stimulating our brains with real interactions and fostering new communities.
As more and more evidence suggests smart tech is to blame for stress, anxiety, depression (and even rising teenage suicide rates), we have become determined to break free from tech chains and companies & entrepreneurs are taking notice. Catering to this trend are a growing number of co-working spaces, phone-free social clubs, wi-fi free cafes & hotels and “analogue” travel destinations (Check out Villa Stephanie in Baden-Baden, Germany —which blocks all WiFi signals from your room by embedding copper plates in the walls — the Mandarin Hotel Las Vegas’ ‘digital wellness escape” where phones are left at the front desk and glamping startup Hipcamp for totally off-the-grid places).
But we are not completely turning our backs to technology – rather we’re choosing when and how we use it (#we’vegotthepower – literally). Sleep-tech innovation now enables us to rest our weary bodies on smart mattresses which can track your sleep cycles, adjust room temperature and wake you up only when you are in a stage of light sleep. And if you don’t want to part with your existing mattress you have a choice of sleep trackers, apps and gadgets like Apple watch. Another helpful tech category that has recently emerged is femtech – female health apps (from cycle mapping to fertility and conception apps, there’s something for every woman).
Part of the motivation for these changes in technology use and demand are due to our increasing awareness for mental and spiritual wellbeing. The rise of “self-care” marks a new direction for the yoga/meditation/mindfulness trend. More and more people are looking to engage in a slower pace of life. We are just beginning to accept that it is ok to not have a thousand goals on your list / not exercise everyday / not sacrifice sleep / not put yourself last. Scheduling daily or weekly me-time is gaining popularity because it gives us time to recover, get some peace of mind and be fully charged and ready to help and support those who need us.
Meditation and mindfulness are welcoming a lot of new kids on the block – knitting, journaling, colouring, home bath ritual products, taking the time to sit and enjoy our food or even just having lazy mornings in bed! Oh and there’s this new thing called breathwork which is not new really, but instead derives from the way yogis use breath to further their practice. It is becoming popular because, unlike meditation, it does not require you to be in a calm mental state. In fact, you can use specific patterns of breathing to calm down or boost your energy and thus improve your mental wellbeing.
Related to the rise in self-care is the increasing demand for affordable, natural, “green” beauty products. Big corporations like Target, Procter & Gamble and Unilever are finally giving a lot more prominence to chemical-free products (perhaps in the hopes to cash in on consumer’s demand?) and improving transparency on label info.
It’s not just about cleaner, organic products though – we want our products to be high performing. Not only are we looking for products which match the efficacy of non-natural products but we want them to nourish and protect our skin from the sun and pollution. Enter “skin-barrier-supporting” and “microbiome-enhancing” serums which promise to build our skin’s defence against environmental toxins and improve its function. These products use ingredients such as lipids, ceramides, adaptogens, and even live bacteria to help our skin adapt to our environment.
Ultimately what these trends show us is two things – 1. we, as consumers, have the power to change entire industries and 2. investing time in our wellbeing is an important (and growing) aspect of health.
The most important thing you should keep in mind when making any health related decisions is that you are unique and only you can tell what works for you.