Diets, exercise regiments, mental health strategies—there's at least one for everyone on the market these days. Here are the top wellness trends we love for improving our physical and mental wellbeing.
Sleep is the foundation upon which all healthy behaviours are built, so its importance cannot be overstressed. Not getting enough sleep leads to more sedentary time, higher rates of chronic stress, poor mental health and even a shorter life span. One in three adults aged 35 to 64 isn’t getting the recommended seven to nine hours a night. Innovations like weighted blankets, sleep apps, such as Calm, that read adult bedtime stories, sleep therapists and foam mattresses like Endy and Casper are here in full force helping people in the quest for a better night’s sleep.
As more and more people are waking up to the damaging effects of diet culture, they’re turning to the practice of intuitive eating. This philosophy emphasizes health promoting behaviours, rather than body size, as indicators of health, and helps you take notice of internal signals to regulate eating without the pressure of external food rules and restrictive diet plans. The 10 principles of this selfcare eating framework—rejecting the diet mentality, honouring your hunger, making peace with food, challenging the ‘food police,’ discovering the satisfaction in eating, feeling your fullness, coping with emotions with kindness, respecting your body, exercising in a way that feels good and honouring your health with gentle nutrition—focus on creating a peaceful relationship between food and your body.
No longer do you need to get to a gym to do your favourite workout; on-demand fitness streaming platforms are revolutionizing exercise classes. Whether you’re into yoga, barre, HIIT, strength train ing or spinning, the fitness program for you is available in the comfort of your own home. Most, such as Alo Yoga, Peloton Digital, JetSweat and Daily Burn, feature affordable monthly subscriptions, with the bonus of being able to squeeze in a class whenever it fits your schedule.
Cannabidiol is one of the two most abundant chemical compounds found in cannabis plants, the other being THC. Cannabidiol comes in the form of edibles, oils and tinctures, and is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t make you ‘high.’ The science is still out, and not all physicians are on board with prescribing it for regular use, but countless people swear by its effectiveness for treating insomnia, migraines, chronic pain, anxiety, depression and a host of other conditions.
Plant-based ‘meat’ products have gone mainstream, cropping up
in almost every fast-food restaurant, while milk alternatives, from coconut to cashew, are taking over the dairy aisle. But plant-based eating is about more than these trendy products; it focuses on including plenty of vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans and lentils. It’s not all or nothing when it comes to cutting back on meat. Simply reducing your meat consumption can lower your risk of cardiovascular diseases, some cancers and diabetes, and has the added benefit of being more environmentally sustainable.
Reducing Alcohol Intake
Alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for many health problems, including liver disease, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Even one drink a day is shown to increase women’s risk of breast cancer. The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines, which explain how much is too much, recommends women limit their number of drinks to 10 a week, with no more than two on any given day. These days drinking alcohol is on the decline, with more people opting to reduce their intake or steer away from alcohol entirely—witness the popularity of non-alcoholic spirits such as Seedlip, restaurant mocktails that rival their boozy counterparts and the app Saying When, which helps you take charge of how much you drink.
Conscious Social Media Consumption
Scrolling through highlight reels of everyone else’s seemingly perfect lives on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms is impacting our mental health. The comparison trap often leaves us feeling inadequate and depressed. Setting limits and practicing healthy social media behaviour is key, and thankfully this trend is on the upswing. Set time limits in your mobile settings with reminders to go off after your allotted time, turn off push notifications, and unfriend people or unfollow accounts that leave you feeling badly about yourself.
With a mountain of research highlighting the profound benefits of meditation, this trend is spreading like wildfire. Meditation improves memory, concentration and focus, and even slows aging in the brain. It’s been shown to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It improves social connection and relationships, helps you learn to be present in the moment and may help those battling addictions. Popular meditation apps like Headspace, Calm and Waking Up make it easier than ever to cultivate a daily practice.
Nature as Medicine
In our fast-paced virtual age, our bodies and minds need nature. Research shows nature leaves us less stressed, more focused and helps treat a range of conditions, including high blood pressure, anxiety, depression and attention deficit disorders. Also referred to as ecotherapy, some doctors are even prescribing time in nature. For many, especially those living in cities, this means making a conscious effort to build more exposure to nature into our lives. For example, forest bathing, where you experience the smells, colours, sounds and natural beauty of being enveloped in the forest, is growing in popularity. For a quick fix, take your lunch hour in a nearby park, join a walking group to explore local trails or create an inviting outdoor oasis in your backyard.