so, I get paid to forecast wellness trends. every year one or more publications asks me to look at the industry and a sprinkling of data, and predict what’s going to be the next obsession in the health world. take this year, for instance. I wrote a story in december (published in feb) that forecasted home workouts were going to explode this year. obviously I didn’t anticipate this kind of scale (I’m not a warlock, I didn’t know about coronavirus!) — but… I feel like I have my finger on the pulse somewhat? NOT NO! I contributed the CBD, adaptogen, and self-care categories to this 2018 trend prediction, and like… again… I wasn’t wrong.
I just looked ahead to 2021 for the FitOn blog (a solid little piece, go check it out), and decided to share some more personal thoughts here (since obv I can be more unfiltered/go rogue on my own site).
we’ve seen a lot of one-hit wonders with health trends and wellness obsessions. doing the absolute MOST with our workouts (goat yoga! blacklight dance party HIIT circuits! arcade fitness!), south beach and atkins diets, south beach and atkins repackaged as keto, putting SO MANY SUPPLEMENTS in our food, juice cleanses, soup cleanses, etc etc. some stuff has made its way into our everyday lives, and for the better (as far as we know now in terms of medical research). think: probiotics were a big alt-wellness trend years ago, and now they’re a mainstay. but it can be hard to sense what is fad material and what is legit. I’m gonna try to help with that. right this way!
I feel like I’m also supposed to say “this is not medical advice” which… feels extremely obvious to me. but if you are a human reading this right now and planning on taking anything here as medical advice, and then you get upset that something goes wrong, and then you want to sue me, LOLOLOL I HAVE NOTHING FOR YOU TO TAKE, GOOD LUCK! jk — just don’t take this as medical advice. ok bye. also if you think I’m a doctor, god bless.
the non medical advice wellness ‘suggestions’ and trends for 2021
(aka, stuff I actually think will benefit your life and isn’t just a crash-diet or fad)
EAST-MEETS-WEST 2.0: blending modalities of wellness
OK so expanding on my prediction for this past year — the east meets west vibe — I think we’re going to see this continue, expand, and level up in 2021. think: gua sha gets more mainstream (will get to this in a sec), more acupuncture and acupressure for everyone, using TCM herbs in a more westernized way (think: chinese medicine at CVS and target), ayurvedic ‘diets’, stuff that was considered “alt” (mostly because it comes from asian countries and hasn’t been westernized) becomes more widely accepted. here are a few standouts:
1. face gym — I don’t want to say that this is the white washed version of gua sha, but like — it’s an ancient chinese practice (legit paleolithic) offered in a soulcycle-esque format (boutique fitness style drop-in classes). like, it’s literally called ‘face gym.’ it is new york cool-girl fitness meets million-year-old healing practices. chinese medicine but make it fashion/make it capitalism!
facial sculpting and lymphatic drainage have been used for thousands of years, and now it’s finally entering the westernized, americanized culture in this new packaging. as one writer put it, it’s gone thru the “woo-woo wellness spin cycle” and this is the “commodification of chinese folk medicine.”
honestly, I think it’s cool to introduce something that works in a way that makes sense to the person who will be using it and benefitting from it. like, there are multiple ways to eat a carrot. some people can eat a carrot raw (disgusting) and find joy, some prefer to put it in a smoothie with other fruits so you can’t taste it. you’re still getting the carrot, it’s just delivered differently. namsayin? obviously there’s a MAJOR difference when it comes to appropriation, but in my opinion (I could def be wrong!) health in any form should be accessible to anyone. should it be expensive and inaccessible because of that “woo-woo wellness spin cycle”? of course not, but often it takes weird trends like this to eventually make something very new and different mainstream.
I’m obviously a white woman and not from a culture whose health practices are being commodified (unless eating pasta and then going for a walk is the next commodified health trend, in which case, sign me tf up), BUT — I think we can’t really gatekeep health. this is another bigger topic to delve into later, but let’s marinate on that concept.
anyway I’m one thousand percent going to be doing this in 2021 and will report back. LOOK AT THE BEFORE AND AFTERS.
2. chinese medicine goes mainstream — this has been fringe for so long; I remember getting funny looks even just three years ago when I started using chinese herb supplements as prescribed by my acupuncturist. now brands like welleum (which I just discovered) are making chinese herbs a little less fringe (still v fringe rn but I see this becoming a thing). herbs are cool. more of these cool-girl brands are going to be coming out in the coming months/years. look for them at trendy boutiques, on trendy instagrams, in trendy wellness centers, and on trendy influencer pages. so many trends. so many herbs.
3. acupuncture and acupressure also become more popular — like with gua sha facials, I see acupuncture facials (in lieu of things like botox and filler), acupuncture for sleep and stress (and so many other things) and acupressure for at-home treatment) becoming a wellness mainstay. I will have more to say on this at a later date, I wrote a lot today so my brain is now banana pudding.
DO LESS: we all need to chill a little bit
like I said in the FitOn guide, we need to do less. I’ve been saying this for over a year, but I’m hoping it catches on. here’s what I mean my that. and not just the sarah marshall reference.
- no more three-a-day workouts
- no more TWO a day workouts (unless it’s chill)
- no more skipping rest days (stop it!)
- no more destroying yourself in super intense bootcamps every day
- no more extreme diets
- no more cutting out entire food groups (unless medically advised, obv)
- no more overhealthifying dessert simply for the sake of ‘being healthy’ (just eat the f*king brownie and have your salad later, idk)
- no more pouring 75,000 supplements and powders into your coffee and smoothie because ‘health’
like, think about that last one. remember when smoothies were just delicious frosty drinks? and you didn’t have to worry about packing it with bee pollen and collagen and ashwagandha and protein powder and ….. you get it. I made a smoothie with some frozen wild blueberries, coconut milk and pineapple juice the other day and it was SO GOOD. I literally had that thought, ‘oh shit, remember when smoothies were good?’ the next day I put some greens and protein powder in it, and it was foul. disgusting. I can eat greens and protein in a salad, I’ll have my blueberry colada straight up. thanks.
if you love collagen coffee, by all means — keep on rockin in the free world, my dude! if you love the reishi chocolate coconut milk from rebbl (honestly that shit is fire), keep it up! there’s nothing inherently wrong with these things, I just think we can relax a little.
I feel like this is a general theme — and personally I get it. as someone who has zero capacity to like something in a chill way (I’m either entirely disinterested or unhealthily obsessed), I get the inclination to do the absolute MOST with our health. but there’s a contradiction — obsession over health isn’t healthy. we can actually do less and achieve more. am I saying to forego healthy eating in favor of an all-bagel diet? no, I already tried that and it backfired. keep eating well, moving your body, finding exercise you love… but like… be chill about it. this is honestly just me psyching myself up to chill out in a public forum.
ASTROLOGY: the cosmos goes mainstream, too
I don’t know if this makes me an early adopter, but I tend to get obsessed with something new/kind of fringe right before it gets SUPER popular. I realize that people have been into astrology for decades (low key millennia tho) but in the past couple years I really really got into it and started sponging up as much info as possible from my beautiful friend shannon (who’s been practicing astrology for about 30 years). aside — she is magical; listen to my podcast episodes with her here, here, and here, and stay tuned for a big one december 21.
with the explosion of astrology apps like co-star (which many have reported uses a bot (or algorithm) to write ridiculously weird and wildly inaccurate horoscopes), sanctuary world, the pattern, etc — this is a tracking trend and I think people who take this on as anything from a casual interest to a passionate pasttime to an integral part of their wellness practice will glean a benefit. again I repeat: I am ceo of “I can’t like things in a chill way” so I am obviously past the point of no return on this scale.
where to start: listen to those podcasts, grab a moon journal (more tips on thee moon dweller IG, here), download the sanctuary world app, and get your birth time (exact time) from your parents or birth certificate — then go to astro-charts.com to plug in your data and see your natal chart.
I know this won’t be for everyone, but if you’re rather open minded and interested in all the ways we can explore our health and wellbeing in this lifetime, I think anyone can derive something positive from this practice. even if it’s just a fun thing to learn!
MENTAL HEALTH: therapists are the new personal trainers
mental health is now the new cool thing — thank GOD.
my vision for the next one to five years is that therapists become the new personal trainers. there’s a bit of a trickle-down effect (no matter what your thoughts on trickle-down, this exists). think: personal drivers and chauffeurs becomes uber. personal trainers and luxury fitness becomes free fitness apps. tesla starts with a $100k model and eventually can create a $36k model.
we ALL know I’m not a master of anything economic, but the gist is that certain things are very expensive to get off the ground/start a movement. certain products and services that begin as luxury/inaccessible to most eventually become more accessible to the general public. my hypothesis is that this will be the case with therapists — AND!! — that more people will be as comfortable with talking about going to therapy as they are with talking about their workouts and routine doctor visits. it’s all the same.
so you know how influencers and celebs made their personal trainers cool? that blogger something navy (I think people hate her now, idk) made amanda kloots a big deal, gwyneth paltrow made tracy anderson big time, the kardashians made harley pasternak p famous, alicia keys made jeanette jenkins a hollywood trainer, kelly ripa: anna keiser, jen aniston: taryn toomey, etc etc. is this too niche/industry? anyway. lotta blonde women!
I feel like celebrity therapist is going to be a weird category bc obv therapy supposed to be p confidential, and any therapist who is looking for fame seems a little… off… to me… but I feel like you get what I’m saying?
something that starts off as kind of bougie eventually becomes mainstream and widely accepted. that is my hope for therapy and mental health. it’s why I talk about my psychiatrist all the time!! because I’m a bougie influential celebrity!!!! and also PUBLIC SERVICE!
subcategory: boundary setting and tech-free time is cooler than ever
I’ve been screaming about tech detoxes since I took my first unplugged week in early 2018. no one makes time for it. you’re probably reading this thinking, “I can’t do that. that’s unrealistic.” you are wrong, but that’s OK. I was there too! you can make time for anything, it’s a matter of priority. I’ve witnessed loved ones (self included 🙋♀️) not make time for mental health and self care until something literally CATASTROPHIC happens. don’t wait for that shit to happen! we need — as a society/collective — to get better at preventative care for ourselves rather than reactive. it’s a deep-seated systemic thing that obviously we’re not going to fix in a tech-free week or a blog post, but another something to chew on and think about.
think about the last time you got a flat tire, locked yourself out of the house, got stuck at an airport, or landed yourself in the hospital. SUDDENLY, all this time appears out of nowhere. if you take care of yourself now, it’s less likely you’ll end up in catastrophe land later. namsayin?
make 👏 time 👏 for 👏 tech 👏 breaks 👏 — SET BOUNDARIES — turn off and wait to respond to texts and emails — find tech-free past times (real paper books! instruments! cooking! exercise! nature! pets!) and get comfortable with BEING instead of being distracted.
my hope is that this becomes “cool” so more people can start to feel the effects I have since adopting this mentality and approach. and for what it’s worth, this isn’t a linear process. I’m still working on it!
subcategory: sleep health is the next obsession
are obsessions healthy? probably not, I feel like we’ve been over this. with that being said, everyone is basically sleep-deprived and we all need to be focused on getting SUPER SOLID sleep for literally every facet of our physical and mental health.
keep in mind, the sleep industry is growing and projected to be a $115 BILLION (!!!) industry. this is a bandaid. don’t let these markets capitalize on your insomnia with a bandaid approach. you don’t need a supplement EVERY night, you don’t need a $38,000 mattress (just google it), you don’t need to spend a ton of money. are there sleep supplements and support items that I enjoy and use on occasion? absolutely! do I want to make sure I have a good mattress to protect my physical health? of course. investing in your sleep is wonderful, but know that if you feel that you need a lot of … “trappings,” shall we say… to sleep EVERY night — it’s time to see a physician and/or therapist. do you have clinical insomnia? do you have severe anxiety that’s keeping you from resting? are you not making sleep a priority because you’re a workaholic without boundaries (dragging myself but whatever) — get to the root of the issue instead of continually bandaiding it. from there, you can TOTALLY add in some healthy sleep support supplements, perhaps a relaxing nighttime mist, a silk pillowcase, sure! but keep this in mind before you invest thousands per year in product instead of a 401K.
ANYWAY so yah that’s my take for the next year, relaxing, restoring, focusing on managing stress, healing, tuning into ancient practices, being open minded… just taking better care of ourselves without doing the most. ya know? anyway these photos have nothing to do with the story except I thought they were cute and I’m happy and don’t have my phone and love my dog and am outside in nature so WELLNESS! massive photo to sara ruth photo who took these holiday shots for my cards this year :) she is a sweetheart, so talented, follow her.
what do you think? have you tried these, do you think they’re gonna be big? did anything get you hyped for the next phase of wellness? I personally have been saying we’re on the precipice of a cultural renaissance for the past few years (ask shannon, she will vouch for that because I’ve made her listen to this hypothesis MANY TIMES), and I think it’s finally happening! here for it.
aight that’s enough for now. hope you enjoyed, learned something new, laughed at my insanity. lots of love to you and happy holidays :)