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11 wellness trends we’re looking forward to in 2021

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2020 has been an immensely testing year for our health and well-being. It is now 2021 and most of us find ourselves welcoming a clean slate with joy and relief. This year, we bid goodbye to processed foods (no more hoarding of instant noodles — thank goodness), dieting and a preoccupation with fitness trends like F45.

Being healthy is not based on external validations anymore: this year, we’re going back to age-old traditions that have been around for centuries for advice on how to eat to be well and we’re listening to our own voice from within.

We are tuning in to what our bodies and minds have to say to us about what makes us feel well. We are paying attention to what works for us. And we’ve never been happier or more mindful. Here are 11 wellness trends we are so looking forward to in 2021:

1. The Farm-to-table Movement

Photo: Open Farm Community

Move over frozen and processed post-apocalypse foods, fresh foods are in. The farm-to-table movement means eating locally grown produce that are as fresh as it can possibly be — plucked from the farm, cooked and served directly to the table, with as little processing and handling as possible. Foods are not only loaded with nutrients but also taste the most delicious when at its freshest.

In contrast, frozen and processed foods are often overly laden with salt, MSG and chemicals that not only do not provide any nutrients to our body but can also harm it. Restaurants with farm-to-table dining concepts in Singapore include Open Farm Community, Poison Ivy Bistro, Restaurant Labyrinth, Summerhouse and Vineyard.

2. The Year of Sabbaticals

It took a pandemic to shake things up and hurtle many of us out of our 9-to-5 mindless work routines. The truth is, we are going to be rethinking our careers and we are going to answering ourselves all the hard questions, “is this what I want to do with my life for the next five to ten years? Is this worth sacrificing all my time for?”

After all, our time on this Earth is finite and temporary. Do we really want to spend a good bulk of our time on a job which makes us unhappy? Expect 2021 to be the year of mid-career switches and sabbaticals, as we take time off from work to think, reflect and ponder what we really want in our lives.

3. Going back to Ancient Wisdom

The ayurvedic diet: eat like a traditional yogi

Ancient wisdom like Ayurveda and TCM matter more than ever today. These natural systems of medicine have been espousing what science has recently found out for our minds, bodies and health.

According to both, our digestive system is the root cause of many of our body’s ailments. This year, we’d turn our focus to immunity-boosting foods (ginger, turmeric, goji, Indian gooseberries, etc) as well as a focus on more plant-based foods that are nutrient-dense and more easily digestible. Ayurvedic practices like breathwork will also become more mainstream as we search for ways to slow down and become more mindful. In doing so, we’d learn the art of listening to our bodies and our gut.

4. Isometric Workouts focused on Mobility

Workouts such as yoga, barre and swimming primarily involve our own bodyweight and help build strength, mobility and flexibility in the muscles and joints. They are mostly made of isometric movements that can really build up that slow burn. This year, we’re getting stronger, more mobile and more agile with workouts that won’t push us to suddenly burn 750 calories per hour. Getting the heart rate pumping too fast too furiously can be both dangerous and foolhardy.

5. Soundbath Therapy

Sound healing, or sound therapy, is an ancient practice that is rooted in Ayurvedic principles. It’s based on the concept that everything in the universe is vibrating at different frequencies, and by sending sound waves of calming frequencies to your body, this helps to restore the balance and harmony that can help your body heal. It is believed that sound healing affects all the organs and cells of the body.

With modern stresses in society today, we are all in want of feeling well, getting better sleep and having more energy. Singing bowl meditations and sound baths could be something that will be adopted widely by everyone to relax and unwind the mind, and not just for the die-hard yogis.

6. The Rise of the Home Office

As work-from-home continues, we will see a shift in workplace settings as we begin to accept that facetime at a physical office may not that necessary — bosses included. The pandemic has pushed us to do things completely differently out of necessity, and we’re finding that some of these new norms may actually make more sense.

As more companies permanently adopt a hybrid approach of wfh and coming in to the office, more of us will set up a designated home office in an attempt to set boundaries for rest and work at home. Having a specific spot where you are working can help your brain recognize that and thus allows it to switch off and really relax when you are in other areas of your home. The last thing you want is to be working constantly because no boundaries have been demarcated.

7. Go back to Nature

This year, we’ll immerse ourselves in the tranquil comfort of nature and practise grounding (also known as earthing). Though we’re living in the city, we do have our slices of greenery and nature in the form of parks and gardens. Listen to our circadian rhythm — a natural sleep-wake cycle that responds to light and our environment — and try waking with the sun. Or go outdoors and catch the sunrise. Experiencing one of nature’s glories will definitely put things back into perspective for our mind and body.

8. Zero Waste Recipes

Do more with less. We can also use leftover ingredients or parts of the veggies or meat that we don’t eat to make soup or kombucha. For example, when we are making a cauliflower and broccoli bake for a weekday dinner, cook the stems too and then blend them into a broccoli soup for another delicious meal. Use the bones from your meat to cook bone broth. The possibilities are endless with zero waste recipes, and it’s only limited by your creativity.

9. Dress for Comfort

Photo: Outfyt

In 2021, we’re no longer dressing to impress — rather, we’re dressing for chic comfort. We’re all about versatile, sustainable pieces that can comfortably take us from wfh Zoom meetings, to the office and to a Spin class. Any outfit that can do all that is surely a keeper. Think: chic, layered on athleisure and soft, sustainable fabrics.

10. Digital Detox

In a world where we are constantly getting pinged to respond immediately, we all need a little digital detox from time to time. Dopamine fasting, a newly coined term by psychiatrist Dr. Cameron Sepah, refers to taking a break from these unhealthy stimuli i.e. the texts, the beep, the notifications, etc that could become addictive and spun out of control.

If you want to take it one step further, why not also do an electrical detox? Try not using any electrical lights, TV or digital devices for an entire weekend and basically go back to living like a caveman. Play board games around some lighted candles, or indulge in lengthy conversations with your signification other instead of defaulting to the usual Netflix.

11. The Art of Online Grocery Shopping

We’re looking forward to even more specialty online grocers popping up to give us the ease and convenience of buying our groceries and meal planning. With wfh here to stay in 2021, we can plan our weekday lunches for one in advance by ordering our groceries online and having them conveniently delivered to our home. Having regular online grocers to rely on for different things like veggies, meat, fish and necessities like eggs and milk can make things easier and seamless — especially if you don’t live near a local supermarket like NTUC and Cold Storage.

Mindfulness will be a common thread that weaves around our focus on well-being this year. More than ever, we’re mindful of what we eat, how we work and how we live. More than anything, we’re choosing joy.

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