Coronavirus restrictions may have somewhat eased in the UK, but the everchanging situation and sense of uncertainty can raise feelings of anxiousness. As we head into a fresh year, a whole host of trends to help support your mental health have emerged into the wellness world and we've rounded up the very best to try now.
WATCH: Everything you need to know about meditation
Though wellness trends should never be seen as a guaranteed fix for mental health conditions, these tried and tested methods can help ease the symptoms, and help you on your way to living your best life.
1. Stress tracking
Stress is billed as the new health metric for 2021. Tech labels including Garmin, Whoop, Samsung Health and Oura previously measured levels using heart rate data, but the latest wearables record in new ways: the Apple Watch Series 6 uses a blood oxygen monitor, while the FitBit Sense watch looks at moisture levels on the skin.
2. Al fresco workouts
When COVID-19 permitted, fitness studios took to hosting classes outdoors, and apparently the movement is set to stay for the long haul. Weather dependent, gyms and studios hope to continue teaching outside, with the notion that fresh air and open sky will encourage endorphin production.
Acupuncture has fallen out of favour amid the rise of EFT tapping. The wellness trends work by targeting the body's meridian points to encourage a natural energy balance, but while acupuncture uses needles, EFT tapping requires the use of your fingertips. Proponents claim that the process of tapping sends signals to the part of the brain that controls stress, and can thus reduce negative emotions.
4. House plants
In the same way that spending our weekends walking in the woods and having picnics in the park makes us feel infinitely better at the moment, bringing the outdoors inside with house plants will, too. The earthy tones and oxygen released are proven to make us feel more relaxed, while they also look great. Market research firm Technavio predicts that judging by 2020's interest in house plants, the industry worth is set to increase by approximately £21billion by 2024.
5. Therapy apps
Therapy apps including Talkspace, BetterHelp and Larkr offer on-demand access to therapists from the comfort of your own home. They're all tailored specifically to each user by quizzes and algorithms that work to recommend you the most appropriate expert.
6. Meditation apps
Meditation apps are proven to manipulate your mind into a calm and stress-free zone. Headspace, Calm and Simple Habit have all garnered a loyal following as effective wellness trends in 2020, with endless hubs of content to suit everyone including musical tracks and sleep stories and different durations.
7. Mindful Movement
Incorporating a few moments of meditation into your exercise routine is an excellent way to wind down and focus the mind.
Chatty Dobson, Yoga Teacher and Owner of FLEX Chelsea, says: "Set a timer on your phone for 10 minutes, put it on 'do not disturb', and give yourself 10 minutes of peace – no tech, no nothing. It might be tough to 'do nothing' to start with, but make it part of your routine, stick with it, and it will become easier. Your thoughts will come and go, that’s what they do, let them. Our biggest ideas come when we switch off from other things. Give mindfulness a chance – you never know what you may discover."
Whatever your current exercise routine, whether it’s walking, cycling, strength training or yoga, pay attention to what you’re doing. Putting one foot in front of the other, noticing the sounds and smells around you. "By making it about more than just an extra kilo or rep, you’ll be doubling the benefits of what you’re already doing," explains Chatty.
8. Sexual Wellness
Taking care of your sexual wellness is no longer a taboo subject in 2022 - and should be considered just as important for overall emotional and physical wellbeing as any other wellness trend.
Sex and relationship expert for LELO UK, Kate Moyle explains: "Understanding that sexual wellness should be recognised as a part of our overall health and wellbeing finally is here to stay.
"Breaking away from shame and taboo, and moving towards education and understanding about sex, sexuality and sexual health is such a positive shift in helping people to get to a place of sexual health and wellness in whatever form that looks like for them."
Sona 2 Cruise Cerise, £119, LELO
Train your brain while you exercise with GlideFit. Hailing from the USA, stability sits at the core of the work out – think HIIT sessions floating on a swimming pool, or yoga with a focus on balance. The level of concentration required will distract your mind from other worries.
10. Gaga Classes
The concept of insignificance can be comforting; while the idea that our influence over the world can have serious effects may be anxiety-inducing, some find that our small being in a never-ending universe puts things into perspective and reduces stress. Gaga Classes take this ideology and encourage people to "discover the virtue of silliness" by "expanding your palette of available movement options". Siobhan Davies Studios in London offers an hour-long class for £12.
11. Infrared sauna blankets
Infrared sauna blankets offer a bevy of health benefits, from speeding up metabolism to relieving sore muscles and improving digestion. They also kick anxiety to the curb by creating a cosy cocoon that will make you feel protected and calm.
12. Ear seeds
In a similar vein to tapping, ear seeds are placed on pressure points to release tension. They currently count Kate Moss and Penelope Cruz as fans, while reviews say they have also helped improve acne, migraines and addiction issues.
24-carat gold ear seeds, £29, Vie Healing at Cult Beauty
13. Rage rooms
Frustration is rife as the pandemic continues, and rage rooms could be the solution to letting out your anger. Once reopened, Wreck Room in London offers a space for people to go and destroy random items while wearing safety gear provided by the company.
Soundscaping combines noise therapy with psychedelics to activate parts of the brain that have a therapeutic effect. London-based company Wavepaths is spearheading the trend, and told Glamour magazine: "Emotional reconnection is really important and music is a channel through which to do that. It's something in your environment you can control." Users input their musical preference, timeframe, mental state and where you’d like to be once each session is complete, and the website generates a unique soundscape using AI.
Journaling can be a powerful wellness tool for shifting anxious thoughts into an action-oriented mindset. This can work by choosing a bullet journal in which you write lists and experience feelings of accomplishment as you complete tasks, or opt for a gratitude journal in which you record everything you are thankful for and focus on positivity in your life.
WE LOVE: Wellness Journal, £24.99, Papier
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