Let’s face it—2019 was a tough year, and 2020 looks like it’s going to be even tougher. But while it might be far more kosher to take a mental health day in this decade, and self-care has become a daily ritual, not just a special treat, it’s still a challenge to keep smiling through the negative news cycle, 24/7 digital onslaught, stressed out bodies and all the other downsides to modern life.
If moving to Finland and switching to a four-day week isn’t an option, here’s seven wellness trends that might just help you keep your chin up in 2020.
There’s no doubt that we spend way too much time in artificial environments, far from anything resembling nature (no matter how many house plants you’ve got), which can put a hefty strain on our mental and physical well being. The solution might just be forest bathing, the practice of spending mindful time in forests and gardens, sans phone, laptop and smartwatch. The practice has been around in Japan for hundreds of years, but it’s now gaining widespread fans elsewhere thanks to its positive effects on anxiety—plus it’s easy to do on your lunch break.
For years we’ve been pushing our bodies to the limit; HIIT, boxing, pilates, running, CrossFit—we’re all working out so hard that we literally can’t handle it. But this year, it’s all about balancing it out with restorative fitness. It could be a few minutes in a cryotherapy chamber, an ice bath, an infrared sauna session, compression therapy or even just a stretching class. Designed to be added to your weekly regimen, not replace workouts, we’ll be seeing a lot more fitness studios get on board the recovery train, and even a few dedicated to the trend. Now, excuse us while we go soak in a magnesium pool for a while and get our zen back..
When we say wellness travel, you might immediately think of a $500 a night yoga retreat—but that’s no longer the case. While you can still splash out on exxy retreat, the new vein of wellness travel is much more budget friendly. From totally off-grid cabins without a hint of wifi to urban hotels with dedicated group fitness classes and healthy room service menus, there’s a getaway for every kind of wellness warrior. Cycling holidays, active escapes and even trips that give back (good for the soul) are all on the up, and there’s going to be plenty more where they came from.
Less Booze Is More
No one likes a hangover—so why do we keep doing it to ourselves? It’s time to claim back our weekends, and lower alcohol drinks might just be the answer. Obviously there’s no way we would ever give up the booze for good, which is why lower alcohol drinks and those that are even good for you (chia seed beers or tumeric cocktails, anyone?) are the way of the future. After all, snacks have gotten a healthy makeover, so why can’t drinks? On the Gold Coast, there’s a new dirty kombucha bar, while other night spots are adding lower alcohol content drinks to the menu. Meanwhile, seltzers are set to explode this year, so next time you go to pick up a full strength beer, stop and ask “how do I want to wake up tomorrow?”
Ok, sound healing sounds a little bit questionable—hitting gongs to calm the mind? We’re not convinced—yet. But searches for sound healing, sound bathing and sound massage (where the gongs are placed on your body) have skyrocketed in the last 12 months, with sound healing set to join meditation as a popular way to take time for reflection, so clearly something is working. If you decide to try it, make sure you look for an event, therapy session or class where they know just how to hit the right frequencies—whacking some pots and pans in your lounge room definitely isn’t going to have the same effect.
Personalised Skin Care
Judging by the array of products you’ll find on the shelves at Mecca, skincare is no longer a one size fits all product. In 2020 though, we’re going one step further, with AI skin technology. Brands like Vichy, La Roche Posay and L’Oreal have been hard at work developing apps and wearable tech that measures environmental conditions such as UV, pollution and heat along with your own skin conditions, like fine lines and pore visibility. Then, they’ll suggest the course of action that’s right to you, and customize a skin care regime that targets problem areas. Better skin, happier you.
Beauty From The Inside Out
We spend a fortune trying to change our outward appearance, when really, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. We’re talking about nutrition, not being kind (though that’s important too), and beauty supplements designed to help with hair, skin, nails and general cellular health. Grown Alchemist, who are opening their global flagship store in Melbourne this year, are one brand spearheading the movement that no pot of cream is going to perform a miracle—it’s all about what you put it in. Their new store will even be designed to deliver a skin boost just by being there, thanks to an ultra-purified environment.
Last but not least, it’s time to put that non-stop connectivity to use to undo some of the damage our addiction to social media and content binging is doing. Wearable tech is becoming the must have accessory of 2020, with smart watches that will do everything from simply tracking your heart rate to contacting emergency services if you have a sudden fall. It’s not just wearables though—there’s an app for everything under the sun. You can track your sleeping patterns, monitor your feelings, form good habits and even meditate. So, don’t toss your phone away just yet.
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Image credit: Peter Conlan