The pandemic transformed wellness in 2020: daily trips to Orange Theory turned into virtual pilates in the toy room, while coffee dates with friends turned into weekly Zoom wine nights. We were forced to slow down and reevaluate jobs, relationships, and long-term goals as the constant go-go-go of life came to a screeching halt. 2020 was a year of inner and outer innovation, and those changes will continue to push us into a new future of wellness in 2021. Here are the top 2021 wellness trends that we can get behind.
2021 Wellness Trends
Sustainably and Locally Sourced Health Foods
During the pandemic, sales of plant-based products, like alternative meat and oat milk skyrocketed—and they’re not expected to come down anytime soon.
The industrial agriculture industry is responsible for almost ten percent of all greenhouse gas emissions and the rapid destruction of our planet’s topsoils (no topsoil=no food). With collective concern about the climate crisis rising, in addition to concerns about animal and worker welfare, more and more people are opting for plant-based alternatives to reduce their carbon footprint and push for a more equitable food system. This year, don’t be surprised if more of your friends are suggesting plant-based takeout, joining in on meatless Monday’s, or raving about their experiences with food combining.
While you can expect to see more plant-inspired recipes flooding your instagram, don’t count out meat just yet. With sustainably-sourced meat sales soaring, and the grass-fed beef industry expected to grow by $14.5 billion before 2024, better-for-the-animal and better-for-the-planet animal products will have a seat at the dinner table this year.
In addition to sustainable sourcing, the pandemic also brought to light the fragility of our supply chains. This year, people will be on the hunt for local foods that support their community, which means fresher and healthier food that doesn’t require long-distance travel to get to your plate. It also means an increase in support for small-scale farmers rather than for a handful of giant corporations who are more likely to exploit workers and destroy land.
This year, be trendy and commit to shopping locally and sustainably when possible. And if you’re feeling a little nudge to get more creative in the kitchen, try incorporating some plant-based recipes a couple of days a week.
Mocktails and Cleaner Cocktails
2020 may have been the year of alcoholic seltzers, but 2021 will be the year of non-alcoholic bubbly.
Seltzers packed with probiotics, vitamins, and adaptogens are expected to grow at an annual rate of 12 percent from 2021-2027, and after the year we’ve had, it’s not surprising that consumers are more conscious of what they’re putting in their bodies.
Expect to see fresher and healthier cocktail brands that feature low to no ABV hitting the shelves. These cleaner cocktails are overflowing with superfood ingredients like real herbs, citruses, vegetables—and even CBD. Now no one has to feel guilty about participating in happy hour daily.
The pandemic challenges sparked an increased interest in reducing stress and anxiety and boosting brain health and immunity through healthy foods. Last year’s mushroom sales and this year’s projected sales prove that people will continue to seek out all-natural health remedies, instead of falling back into bad habits.
In addition to popular mushrooms most commonly found in powders like lions mane (brain health) and chaga (immune health), culinary mushrooms like shiitake will also see their time in the spotlight this year. Loaded with immune-boosting nutrients and other incredible health benefits, shiitake mushrooms might just be the culinary mushroom of the year. Chop a couple of those bad boys up, sauté with a few spices, and voila, you have a plant-based sausage.
But kicking your coffee addiction and satisfying your pork craving is not all mushrooms will be here for in 2021. Mushroom grow kits will continue to trend this year, filling the homes of mushroom feens, creative cooks, and DIY-lovers alike. Check out The Mindful Mushroom, North Spore, or Mushroom Adventures for all your mushroom cultivation dreams.
Texting Your Therapist
Heading out to an expensive hour-long session with your therapist just isn’t in the books for most anymore. This year, we’re redefining self-care and finding new ways to connect and get comfort. Couch therapy isn’t new, but therapy from your own couch is. Teletherapy is making counseling more accessible and affordable. After a year that broke a lot of us down, whether that be due to a job loss, sick family member, or another reason, getting help is finally trendy.
In addition to teletherapy, we’re going to see a rise in online community spaces where you can connect with like-minded people. Finding your tribe and engaging with your community are essential for optimal health and wellness. In 2021, more people are going to take advantage of social spaces that foster that kind of connection.
I know, I never thought we’d get to this point in America, but with the pandemic, more people are realizing that burnout isn’t necessary to succeed and that rest can be the ultimate form of productivity.
Prioritizing rest, instead completing a 15-step-self-lymphatic-drainage and calling it self-care, might just be the best trend to hit 2021. To get behind the trend, instead of reading a book or turning on the TV, just try and be present. Focus on all five senses and really feel the space around you and then turn in and turn off. No thoughts, just presence.
Hit Pause on HIIT
The days of Crossfit are long gone—and that’s not just because most of us have to work out at home these days. With body acceptance, self-love, and mindfulness on the rise, easier-on-the-body exercises you actually enjoy will take over 2021.
Intuitive exercises and low-impact workouts like yoga and pilates are a way to support physical health while also prioritizing mental health. Doing what you hate has never and will never get you to where you want to be, appreciating your body and exercising for health instead of a hot body will always be the way.
This approach is leading the way for at-home studio equipment like Mr. Captain Rowing Machine, Life Pro Electroside Treadmill, the Mirror, and of course the Peloton. Online workout sources like Melissa Wood Health, ClassPass, and Gaia are going to be go-to’s this year. So while HIIT may not be completely out, those who have never liked it will shift to more supportive online exercises and will find peace and joy in exercising this year.
Health-Conscious, Eco-Conscious Products
Preference for products without all the B.S. will continue to rise this year. Not only will more and more companies continue to discontinue dangerous ingredients, but they will also move away from plastic packaging, which in itself is harmful for the human and the planet.
Health-conscious and eco-conscious consumers everywhere will see a plethora of reusable makeup products, cleaning products, and body products.
Makeup brands like Kjaer Weis, cleaning brands like Blueland, and zero-waste hair care like Sandor will be on your must-have wellness essentials list this year. 2021 is the year of loving yourself and the planet.
2020 has been a crazy, transformative year. We’ve learned to work from home, workout from home, and to rest from home. We’ve put the brakes on constant movement and pressed reset on our lives. Not all of it was good, but surely not all of it was bad. 2021 will be your year to master mental health, create innovative communities, and trust your intuition. Cheers to the New Year!