2020 Wellness Trends

January 1, 2020
Image via Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

At the beginning of January, it’s likely that you’ll commit to a vigorous exercise regimen, vow to eat cleaner, spend a little extra time prioritizing you, or try to be more financially responsible. It’s common for us to look back on our successes and mishaps in 2019 and think about how we can achieve better health, fulfillment, success, and happiness in the year ahead. It’s also likely that our habits and behaviors will be influenced by what’s currently trending.

Did you hop on the celery juice bandwagon? Did powdered collagen make its way into your morning coffee or smoothie? Did you sign up for a SoulCycle class or participate in a Tough Mudder? Many of us have been there and done that. 

While the last twenty years were largely defined by technology, this new decade may be characterized by something else entirely. For too long, our focus has been on consumption and convenience. As we went after the latest Apple products, we also spent more and more time scrolling through social media and shopping online. Retail took a major hit because technology granted us the power to shop efficiently without having to leave our homes. As a result, we’re more exhausted and isolated than ever before. We’re also realizing that our habits aren’t the healthiest and it may be time for a change.

As we look to the new decade, we’re encouraged by the growing emphasis on sustainability in everything we do – from our homes and food to fashion and beauty. There’s a desire to take better care of not only ourselves but our planet, too. With that, here are our top wellness trends of 2020:

Getting your z’s

Prioritizing sleep will be a trend in 2020 thanks to a six-letter word that’s one of the leading factors of increased anxiety and depression rates. We’re talking about stress. Because younger generations are more stressed than ever before, they’re seeking simple and attainable ways to relax, unwind, and recharge. Since childhood, we’ve been told to get 7–8 hours of sleep each night. It helps you maintain a healthy weight, boosts mood and immunity, promotes mental clarity, and enables the body to repair itself. Although we’ve heard it before, 2020 might actually be the first time we listen. According to the American Sleep Association, between 50 and 70 million U.S. adults have a sleep disorder, with insomnia being the most common. In addition, 30% of children aren’t getting enough sleep, which has been linked to decreased learning ability as well as physical and mental health issues. From establishing regular bedtimes and turning off our phones to downloading sleep apps, we’re going to hear about making sleep a priority throughout the year.

Plant-based focus

Red meat has been at the center of nutritional debates for years, but things started to heat up again last year due to the emergence of plant-based meat alternatives, like Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger. Consumers may be interested in reducing their meat consumption due to health concerns and environmental hazards; meat-based alternatives have proven to be more sustainable. Plant-based protein also debunks the myth that you can only get protein from animal products, meaning eating fish or meat may not be as vital as we once thought! In addition to replacing meat altogether, we’ll likely see more hybrid products that incorporate vegetables in 2020. Think real meat meets plants so you can consume both in one. And according to Whole Foods, plants like mung bean, watermelon seed, avocado, and golden chlorella will be integrated into protein powders and amino acids throughout the year. Brands are expanding their offerings to meet an increased demand for plant-based eating – a diet that’s beneficial for both humans and our planet.

Sustainability in everything

There’s no doubt that climate change is a rising concern for industries, brands, and individuals. In recent years, we’ve seen consumers gain more awareness around their buying (and eating!) habits and the impact they have on our planet. According to a recent survey, 81% of consumers prioritize brand ethics, meaning they’re interested in learning where their products come from and how they’re sourced. Sustainability in food has evolved to incorporate plant-based and vegan diets, which reduce greenhouse gas emissions and use less water. The retail industry has taken notice of this trend, too. Shoes, combined with discarded clothing, accounted for about 12.8 million tons of trash in the United States in 2017. This year, brands like Reebok and Adidas plan to unveil their first line of vegan sneakers, made from eucalyptus, cotton, and corn. Sustainability in everything may suggest that if something’s better for the planet, it’s better for business, too. 

Alternative medicine

For a long time, people associated illness with doctors and medicine. If you had a cold, you would take ibuprofen or cough drops. If your symptoms worsened, you would call your doctor. However, there’s been a recent shift in the way people think about illness and care for themselves. Instead of targeting a specific body part or ailment, people are treating their whole bodies. There’s been a growing demand for alternative methods of healing, and in 2018 alone, herbal supplement sales in the United States increased by 94%. Herbs known to boost immunity, like turmeric, elderberry, and green tea, topped the list. In addition, alternative medicine, which extends past herbs to include acupuncture, meditation, and yoga, is anticipated to expand by nearly 17% through 2026. This may be due in part to rising healthcare costs. At the same time, people are becoming more interested in chemical-free, natural remedies and learning how to find their own health solutions. This year will also be an exciting time for Health Coaches as they grow their own businesses and partner with more doctors’ offices or hospitals.

Wellness retreats

If there’s one thing we learned last year, it’s that people love to experience wellness. We saw the emergence of one-stop shops like The Well, which provides an array of services. It’s where the worlds of spa treatments, alternative medicine, and fitness collide. However, this year, experiential wellness will go a step further to bring you wellness-focused vacations, including yoga retreats, detoxes, and fitness pop-ups. Instead of cramming services into one day, you’ll have an extended stay – and literally escape from the reality (and stress!) of modern society. With offerings from sunrise hikes and healing baths to yoga and meditation, many of these wellness retreats have scheduled activities and eco-programs on sustainable farms. In addition, some resorts advocate for a digital detox by prohibiting phone use while there. These retreats emphasize the importance of being present and living in the moment. After all, a true vacation might be one that’s phone and social media free.

Have you already downloaded a sleep app? Have you made a conscious decision to eat less meat? Is the next trip you plan wellness-related?

It will be interesting to see how these top health and wellness trends impact how we view and consume products. Whatever happens, if this new year and new decade prioritize the three S’s – self-care, sleep, and sustainability – then that’s something we can stand behind.

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