1. How we breathe is top of mind as we start to emerge from a global pandemic.
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From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the quality of our breathing has been a focal point of conversation, since one of the signs of COVID-19 is shortness of breath. Not being able to catch your breath or take a deep breath is scary and can exacerbate feelings of stress and anxiety. After the past two years, stress and anxiety have remained high, fueling dysfunctional breathing patterns that may keep you in a heightened, as opposed to calm, state.
Being more mindful of how you breathe ‒ the practice of breath work ‒ can reduce these anxious feelings and help better regulate your emotional health. One such practice is deep breathing, which in addition to lessening stress, “can help restore diaphragm function and increase lung capacity. The goal is to build up the ability to breathe deeply during any activity, not just while at rest,” says Johns Hopkins physical therapist Peiting Lien.
The physical and emotional benefits of breath work will go a long way toward preventing complications and recovering from COVID-19 (as the world will be living with this virus forever) as well as regulating your breath during daily events, from exercise to stressful situations at work. Breath work can also become a form of spiritual practice in which you intentionally set moments aside during the day to realign with your core being.
You may have thought that mindfulness, meditation, and breath work were popular before, but we’re going to see an even greater push for incorporating these practices into our daily routines ‒ from employers’ making a conscious effort to showcase mindfulness as part of their leadership practices to an increase in consumer products like breath work trainings.
2. Holistic and personalized nutrition and lifestyle practices are more popular now than ever before.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a spotlight on the importance of nutrition as the foundation for health. This means not just physical health but also mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
According to recent research from Mintel, “78% of consumers say eating healthy is important for their emotional well-being,” and “consumers’ holistic mindset about health and well-being will shift the conversation about healthy diets from ‘better for you’ to ’better for us’...[resulting in] diets designed to support individual as well as planetary health.”
This is what IIN has been talking about for nearly 30 years: the importance of approaching health from a holistic perspective. New dietary guidelines from the American Heart Association underscore this approach, stating that instead of focusing on specific nutrients, an individual’s whole diet and lifestyle must be looked at, prioritizing patterns of healthy eating and living.
Personalization goes hand in hand with this holistic approach, since everyone has unique circumstances that impact their well-being, such as their culture, environment, relationships, and lifestyle ‒ what we at IIN call your bio-individuality. We’ll continue to see the power of bio-individuality in the wellness industry, from customized supplement packets and at-home health testing kits to even more innovations in wearable technology, like clothing that scans your body in order to improve posture.
3. Increased awareness of our physical health will drive demand for unique products and health care.
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Never have we been more aware of how we feel. Every itch at the back of our throats, every headache, every sniffle sent us to the Internet, wondering if we had COVID-19. We also had ample time to be alone during lockdowns, which many of us took as an opportunity to evaluate our relationships with both ourselves and others.
This increased awareness of how we felt physically and emotionally built resilience as well as a deeper understanding of our needs, encouraging individuals to seek out wellness products and health care that addressed those needs.
A great example of this is the recent growth of the sexual health and sexual wellness industry, the “sextech boom” that has resulted in new products, from massage oils to toys, as well as educational courses and online communities. Rebecca Alvarez Story, sexologist and social impact entrepreneur, says: “Intimacy is at the core of human interaction ‒ we need connection to survive. This core human need isn’t just about sex, though. It’s broader than that. We all need intimacy and are even more in tune with our intimate health. The COVID pandemic has accelerated our desire to seek out resources and technologies in this category.”
A similar category seeing a boom is hormone health. The hormone health industry is projected to be worth $50 billion by 2025! From supplements that address hair loss to at-home diagnostic testing to determine hormone imbalances, the growth of this industry is fueled by a population of women who want to feel heard by the medical community and get to the root of their health issues.
Did you know that IIN has a Hormone Health Course, where you can learn how to support yourself and others to resolve hormone imbalances? We knew that this topic would be important for Health Coaches and non‒Health Coaches alike!
4. Caring for your mental wellness through therapy and coaching will be as mainstream and accessible as seeing your primary care physician.
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The health coaching industry has grown rapidly over the past few years, especially within the traditional healthcare sector. Parsley Health, One Medical, Cleveland Clinic, and Eleven Eleven Wellness Center are all primary care and medical organizations that employ Health Coaches to work with patients as part of their care models, demonstrating the value of health coaching in improving health outcomes.
Also, as the desire to manage both physical and mental health grows, so too does the acceptance of practices like therapy, counseling, and coaching. The pandemic accelerated the adoption of telehealth and virtual care in all sectors, especially therapy, breaking down stigmas and making it more accessible for everyone. In the United Nations Chronicle, psychologist Michele Nealon, PsyD, shares: “The pandemic accelerated longtime efforts in the professional mental health and physical healthcare communities to destigmatize mental health issues and normalize the search for help for these kinds of problems. There is no health without mental health, and we must address physical and mental wellness in equal measure.”
For Gen Z, this increased acceptance of and accessibility to mental health services has made them even more likely to seek out those services because “asking for help for mental health is viewed as a strength rather than a weakness, the same as going to the doctor for a broken bone would be seen as a smart thing to do.”
This shift in dynamic is sure to continue shaping the mental and emotional wellness scene, including working with a Health Coach for support in all aspects of life, from a healthier diet to healthier relationships.
5. There’s never been a better time to find your authentic self (at home).
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Did you stop wearing makeup and dyeing your hair during lockdown? Has your closet gone from being business casual to athleisure?
The pandemic has drastically changed how we view ourselves and how we show up in the world. From the comfort of home, you had the opportunity to find and embrace your authentic self ‒ whether that meant letting the gray hair take over, wearing clothes you were actually comfortable in, or enjoying the solitude that came with canceled plans.
For women in particular, going gray ‒ something previously to be feared ‒ was transformed into an act of strength, confidence, and self-love. This sentiment will persist in the coming year as brands recognize consumers’ desire to enhance their authentic selves.
This will mean more inclusive messaging on beauty and self-care products, an increase in products aligned with the holistically minded consumer (think food-as-medicine meal delivery kits), and creating more purposeful connections with others (like intentional dating).
6. Our shifting priorities will continue to drive our wellness routines.
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One thing that came out of this time of deep introspection was the realization that priorities need to shift in order to live and feel better and experience joy.
This article on Forbes put it perfectly: “The work-from-home lifestyle opened our eyes to new possibilities and priorities. In some cases, it completely changed our desire to climb the corporate career ladder or structure our lives around daily commutes and office hours in the name of advancement and success. It forced us to focus on ourselves because we were stuck with ourselves and couldn’t focus as much on others. And some younger professionals have adopted a completely different look at their burgeoning careers.”
So what does this look like? Many will be asking themselves the important question “What do I really want?” and then simply going for it. Whether you’re burned out and decide to leave your corporate job for a career following your passion or you pick up hobbies that become side hustles, the opportunities to rewrite your future are abundant right now.
In the coming year, people will define what wellness means to them on an individual level. Consumers will continue looking for ways to save time, energy, and resources in every aspect of their wellness routines, from exercise to diet and self-care, while also making sure that those things align with their long-term wellness goals.
Share with us what you think about these trends – and if there are any other wellness trends we should be on the lookout for – by tagging us on Instagram and Facebook!