The Wellness Trends We Loved In 2020 – and What We're Excited for in 2021
by Catherine Morris | January 14, 2021, updated over 1 year ago
2020 put a strain on everyone. The good news is that health is now firmly in the mainstream conversation and most of us are focused on wellness heading into 2021.
Here at Which Doctor we're always keeping an eye out for the latest innovation, trend, or news relevant to health-seekers of all kinds. When it comes to wellness, we saw some big shifts in 2020 and we're going out on a limb to predict a few more in the works for the next 12 months.
The Year of New Age, Old Habits and Modern Technology
With most of 2020 spent in quarantine, many of us have found our usual health habits have been thrown for a loop, and replaced–whether that meant going online, finding new therapies or rediscovering ancient medicines, a lot of people noticed a true shift in their wellness routines in 2020.
Old Medicine Found a New Audience
People got into so-called 'new age' therapies in a big way in 2020, but many of these modern-day techniques are actually rooted in very old traditions.
There was a shift towards therapies such as sound bathing or sound healing, which first originated in ancient Greece, and which uses vibration to promote cell repair and lower stress. We also saw more people checking out chakra therapy—a key component of Indian spiritual traditions—that looks inward to find holistic healing that unites body, mind, soul and spirit. Along with that came crystal therapy and energy healing, such as reiki, that offers gentle, non-invasive treatment. All of which can be done entirely or in part, online.
As 2020 continued to bring us down, we looked at positive and fulfilling ways of promoting relaxation and finding balance because when everything falls apart, uniting body and soul seems like a good idea.
Workouts Went to the Web
Gyms were some of the earliest victims of Covid closures so we were forced to change up our workouts and, for most of us, that meant heading online.
Interest surged in virtual classes, private training sessions over the internet, video game based workouts like Ring Fit, and online group workouts. Yoga, in particular, saw a big bump as people sought relief from mental stress as well as physical.
Our Homes Became Our Havens
Stuck indoors (staring at the four walls and our equally-frustrated family members) we upgraded our spaces this year to maximise wellness.
Whether that meant redecorating with happy colours in mind, or trying your hand at a bit of feng shui, the emphasis was on creating a calm sanctuary to get us through the dark days. Given that our homes doubled as a gym and an office, we had our work cut out for us!
Mindfulness Went Mainstream
There's never been a better year to look inward and cultivate some mindfulness. Meditation is a powerful way to relieve stress, boost brain health, and ease depression and anxiety so it's no wonder we tried getting in touch with our inner Buddha in 2020. It wasn't just mindfulness either—we explored other forms of meditation on our journey to enlightenment, to find what works and help us create a customized daily practice.
We Went Back to Dietary Basics
Diets come and go, and every year it seems like another hits the headlines. This was the year we forgot about keto, paleo, primal, flexitarian, pescatarian or whatever label fits your eating preferences, and got back to the basics.
With restaurants shuttering, our usual quick fixes weren't available, and home cooking took off in a big way. Even amateur chefs got onboard with more interest in online culinary classes and virtual dietary consultations. People began to adjust their relationship to food.
We Said Goodbye to Burnout
The world slowed down in 2020, and we slowed down with it. Many people looked at the pandemic as a chance to reassess, adjust their priorities and set new goals.
If you'd been heading for burnout with a high-stress job before the pandemic, chances are your new home office life has helped you rest and reset. Perhaps you even found time for a new exercise habit, or daily meditations as the 'new normal' became all about self-care.
Looking Ahead to 2021
With new wellness trends and conversations emerging, we have reason to believe this year will be health-focused. In 2021, we'll go green, savour self-care, and enjoy new experiences.
We couldn't travel in 2020, but in 2021 we're predicting more and more of us will become health tourists—looking for the latest health experiences that can transport us, even if we're not leaving our city.
These curious wellness seekers aren't looking for specific treatments, but rather enjoyable and interesting ways of upgrading their health and being their best. This might mean a sound healing time travel session, a serene float in a salt tank, a healing hike, an hour in an infrared sauna, or a dance therapy workshop. You do you! Go out and embrace the world, once that’s safe and allowed again.
The beauty industry has long been a billion dollar enterprise but skincare is fast becoming the largest slice of that pie. In 2021, skincare will go more traditional and natural as more people read their labels and shun scary-sounding chemicals. We're taking tips from ancient medicine to change it up, practising Ayurvedic skin solutions and looking to traditional Chinese medicine for its healing herbs and facial massage techniques, like gua sha, which keep skin fresh and supple.
Nootropics for Energy
Energy-boosting plants are in. Natural nootropics are still on the fringes of mainstream health, but expect them to edge into the spotlight in 2021 as the world slowly gets back to normal and we resume our busy lives. These healing herbs give the brain a jolt, making you think, focus, and feel better. And yes, caffeine is a nootropic chemical, but that's not really what we're talking about here, as most vehicles for caffeine are sugar, and carb magnets.
Instead, look out for Lion's Mane coffee, or Chinese ginseng tea coming to a cafe near you next year.
People won't just look for exercise in 2021, but a fitness regime that addresses their mental state, as well as their muscles. This could mean combining meditation with exercise (as in yoga) or a shift to play-based functional fitness.
We also expect better integration of exercise with our daily lives. Many of us are now accustomed to exercising outdoors, or doing the home gym thing. We've gotten good at mixing it up and making movement a part of our day and that'll continue into next year.
More Plant Power
Indulged in some Covid comfort eating? You're not alone. As we try to shift the pandemic pounds in 2021, the food industry has predicted more interest in plant-based foods, and more focus on health than convenience. So expect even more of a boom in vegan diet and plant-based food products.
There will be more meat substitutes hitting the market next year as that tech advances. According to market research firm ADM, these will go beyond the burger and into more sophisticated plant-based versions of steak, chicken, lunch meats, dairy products, and more.
New Year, Better Health
We all learned a few things in 2020, and we're all hoping for a better year ahead. With wellness front and centre, we can make sure we're ready for it.
If you'd like to try something new next year, reach out to our Which Doctor practitioners for advice on how to move forward with your health goals. Our network runs the whole spectrum of services from energy healing to mental health counselling. We've also got naturopaths, physiotherapists, Ayurveda practitioners and TCM doctors. Whatever you're into, and whatever your issues, we can connect you with care.
Catherine Morris is an award-winning journalist with a bad case of wanderlust and a passion for all things health and wellness. Originally from Northern Ireland, she worked as a news and feature writer for media outlets in the UK, South Africa, France and the Caribbean before settling in Canada. Catherine now lives in Alberta with her husband and rescue mutt and spends her time happily exploring the great outdoors with both.