10 health and wellness trends you'll be adopting in 2021 and beyond

PHOTO: Instagram/barryssingapore

To say that 2020 was a challenging year would be an understatement.

As we pivoted to working remotely and restricted our movements and social interactions while navigating a new normal where face masks, hand sanitiser and social distancing became mandatory, we’ve all emerged with a newfound respect for simple liberties and an appreciation of a clean bill of health.

Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a wellness enthusiast, these are some ways you’ll be amping up your well-being in 2021. 

1. Meditation and breathwork is the new HIIT

It’s not enough to push your body’s physical limit – building mental resilience is just as important. Meditation, once the practice of just a niche set, has gone mainstream. Trendy apps like Calm, Headspace come packed with curated playlists and guided sessions to help process your emotions.

Looking for less conventional ways to unwind your mind? Try to colour out your emotions using Lake Colouring Books or play a few games on Super Better to relieve stress and anxiety.

For already experienced meditation practitioners, a deeper exploration of breathwork techniques (check out the Breath Biohacker), a form of therapy that involves breathing in a conscious, systematic way, and the effects of oxygen on one’s mental state will prove enlightening.

If you’re just getting started, settle back and binge watch season one of Headspace Guide to Meditation on Netflix or A World of Calm on HBO Max and explore what works for you.

2. You’ll be popping new pills

We have never been more mindful of our health than now. Aside from looking to vitamins to boost our immune health, we’ll be supplementing to strengthen our bodies and add to our nutritional intake.

Expect to see a rise in consumption of supplements like vitamin C, iron and calcium, vitamins B12 and D, fish oil and also TCM tonics.

Personalised nutrition is on the rise too, along with the increased demand for practitioner-grade supplements like BioG(TM) Microtabs, The Nutrition Clinic and NutriVital Health made with higher grade raw ingredients and more quickly absorbed by the body.

If you’re already consuming a probiotic, you might add a postbiotic to the mix.

The by-products of the fermentation process carried out by probiotics in the intestine, postbiotics are found naturally in fermented foods like tempeh, kefir, yoghurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut. If you prefer it in capsule form, look for the words “lactobacillus plantarum”.

3. You'll care more about your peepers

With daily mask-wearing, our eyes have become a main mode of communication – hence the boom in eye makeup, along with lash extensions and groomed brows.

At the same time, our eyes have never been this overworked, with ever-increasing screen time: think blurred work boundaries, Netflix and Disney+ bingeing, mobile banking, and 101 other apps we now need to get up to date with.

The inevitable eye strain will lead to more of us owning blue light-blocking glasses, seeking help or treatment for dry eyes, worsening myopia and related eye conditions.

Eye drops, eye creams and eye massages will see a surge in demand, along with increased consumption of foods rich in vitamin A (leafy greens, bell peppers) and vitamin E (salmon, avocado) to aid eye health.

4. Hello, selfcare 2.0

Wellness goals for 2021 won’t just be about eating right and being in tune with our circadian rhythm.

Thanks to more solo time, we have become more open to exploring different forms of self-care: acupuncture, colour therapy, crystal healing, sexual wellness etc.

In particular, exploring one’s sexuality through workshops, sex toys and more holistic treatments like womb and vulva care has grown in popularity.

If there’s one silver lining to the pandemic and the forever changing dating landscape, it’s that more women are taking charge of their sex lives and self-pleasure, and are no longer shy about what makes them feel good.

5. Self-medication and telemedicine will be on your list

Lockdown measures and the spotlight on public hygiene has spurred the growth of telemedicine for non-life-threatening conditions like eye infections, skin conditions and urinary tract infections.

From consultation to doorstep drug delivery and specialised Covid advisory clinics, companies like Doctor Anywhere and Speedoc virtual health services provide everything from video consultations, email medical certificates and specialist referrals, all without requiring a physical visit to a clinic.

For better or for worse, self-medication is also on the rise, as many try to minimise visits to the doctor and become more educated on their health. No surprises then, that more are turning to pharmacies for non-prescription drugs and pain-relief medication to treat simple ailments.

And if Covid and lockdown measures taught us anything, it’s that non-acute health concerns such as mental health and sexual health deserve more attention – because they are the key to long-term wellbeing.

To that end, we are psyched to see the launch of online platforms such as Zoey (ofzoey.com), a one-stop telehealth service that aims to connect women with licensed doctors, medical practitioners and prescription medication with proven efficacy.

The site addresses areas such as birth control, emergency contraception, acne and hair loss – great for those seeking a convenient and discreet experience.

ALSO READ: 5 best activewear brands you need in 2021 (that are not lululemon!)

6. Hand hygiene gets luxe

Remember how handwashing and sanitisation was all the rage for a good part of 2020? And the OOS sanitiser situation that we hope not to encounter again? With Covid-19 still hitting many parts of the world hard, plus variants of the virus emerging, hand hygiene will continue to rank high on our priorities.

Aside from having a ready stash of hand sanitiser (and moisturising hand cream), there’ll be a rise in the use of UV light wands to pre-sanitise items like electronics, doorknobs and jewellery.

And because all areas of our life deserve little jolts of joy, we’ll be adding indulgent hand washes like Tiong Bahru Bakery’s Brioche-inspired hand wash to the mix so the daily germ-zapping experience feels a little less clinical and a lot more pampering.

7. You'll level up health and fitness tracking

As we adopt a more personalised approach to health and fitness, we’re embracing fitness wearables beyond the Apple Watch and adding more wearable tech to the mix.

There’s the Oura Ring to keep track of one’s activity, Lumen, a metabolism tracker that checks if your body is using fat or carbs for energy, and meditation headbands like the Muse 2 that track and respond to brain activity, heart rate, body movements and breathing to guide your wandering mind to a calm and focused state.

Even Garmin, known for its GPS running watches, has introduced women’s health tracking functions such as menstrual health tracking and pregnancy tracking that lets you log your symptoms and view your health and fitness stats at a glance, among other things.

8. Home fitness gets more personal

Ah, home fitness. Remember the circuit breaker from April to June 2020, when gyms and fitness studios (among many other “non-essential services”) had to be closed for months, and the mad rush for home fitness equipment plus livestream workouts that followed?

Granted, we were all trying to maintain a semblance of our workout routines during that period.

On the home front, there’s now a range of sleek, smart tech options like The Mirror, Tonal and Peloton and portable solutions (we love the Pilates Wheel) to add to the home space and extend any workout routine.

Beyond YouTube videos, online workouts have been taken to new heights, with the rise of virtual reality workouts and online subscription-based classes offered by well-loved gyms that were previously known for their physical fitness spaces.

Some of our favourites: Barry’s At Home (HIIT), The Sculpt Society (dance cardio), Physique 57 (barre), Saltdrop (plyometrics yoga) and Ritual Fit (HIIT).

With so many brands pulling out the stops to make home fitness desirable and achievable, we expect home workouts to continue thriving in fitness routines.

9. Recovery will be key

Post-sweat sesh, high-tech gadgets are helping to quicken recovery by reducing inflammation and increasing blood flow.

Where pro-tools like a high torque massager was once only available at a physiotherapist’s office, now there are at-home options like Hydragun and Hyperice.

Equally helpful are nifty tools like red light therapy devices to treat muscle and tissue repair, infrared sauna blankets to increase blood flow and reduce muscular fatigue.

10. Wellness breaks are now mandatory

With remote working the norm, we are realising the importance of taking frequent, short breaks throughout the day for the sake of mental and physical health. These “refresh and revive” breaks replace the pantry trips, coffee runs and walk to printer/colleague’s desk that we used to have in the office.

Things you could do during a wellness break: meditate, journal, fire up a podcast, do upper body stretches to relieve the tightness in the neck, back and shoulders especially – whatever works to refresh your mind before returning to the grind.

For a full reset, as we wait for international travel to restart, staycations will be our means of escape. Hotels are getting creative and curating a variety of pampering experiences to enhance each stay.

Those incorporating a wellness element – scented candle-making at the Capella, spa day at the La Mer Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, private yoga sessions at the Raffles Hotel – are proving the most popular, as are jaunts that involve travelling to another island.

This article was first published in Her World Online.