Among the many negative impacts of 2020, a year that has upended the very way we live, one of the positives has been a surge of interest in wellness and mental health. Data shows that people around the world, including Indians, have been paying more attention to their mental and physical health, whether it’s by incorporating exercise and meditation into their daily schedule or eating more mindfully. The wellness industry the world over is also expected to get a boost in 2021 as more and more people discover self-care and therapy. Wellness is not just about eating well and working out, either -- it is a way to pay attention to your body and mind and adopting practices that make you feel good, more confident, fitter and happier.
Here then are some of the wellness trends to watch out for in 2021, and adapt to your lifestyle and routine:
Self-care was the beauty inflluencer’s favourite term but it entered the mainstream lexicon in 2020 as both time on our hands and the need for mood lifts made many of us self-care addicts. But the frenzy of buying every skincare product out there will give way to simpler, easier processes as self-care becomes an intrinsic part of our lives and less of a novelty, experts predict. Expect more compact self-care sets in the market, which put all your cleansing-toning-masking-moisturising-seruming steps into one handy box or kit that you can perform more than once a day without having to go looking for every individual item.
Sustainable packaging is your friend
The pandemic has led to a greater appreciation for the environment in most quarters and one of the ways this is going to show up in the coming year is the rejection of unsustainable packaging, including the main culprit—single-use plastic packaging. Consumers have started demanding packaging that steers clear of single-use plastic and goes for alternative materials like glass, ceramic, recycled plastic, silicon bubbles, or refillable subscription packages that encourage users to send back their bottles for refilling. In fact, global beauty major L’Oréal have just launched an eco-beauty range, Seed Phytonutrients, which not only retails products made natural ingredients and are cruelty -free, but in packaging where the outer layer is made of a compostable, glue-free and water-resistant materials and the inner liner is made with recyclable plastic, and uses 60% less material than regular plastic bottles.
Biohacking your way to health
Say bye bye to broad fitness and diet trends that everybody seems to hop on to and thinks they can DIY their ways through. Biohacking, or making micro, incremental changes minutely customised to your body for overall health and wellbeing, is usually done after some or all of the following: monitoring your biomeasures like pulse rate, heart rate, gut and microbiome health, testing for all possible allergens and triggers, and extensive testing for possible genetic triggers and susceptibilities. Naturally, fitness tracking will become a finer science and fitness trackers even more sophisticated. Stress trackers that measure your stress and anxiety levels just like your heart rate are already in the market.
At the Global Wellness Summit 2020, this was one of the top six wellness trend predictions for 2021, and experts at the summit said that “we will see more customized immunity hacks, using genetic testing and biohacking…to pinpoint what immune therapies best suit your system and situation.”
See what you eat
While the trend of ‘eat fresh, eat local’ has been gaining strength in India, when it comes to nutritional supplements and other edible health and wellness products, consumers have been satisfied with labels like ‘high fat, high protein, low unsaturated fats’ etc. Not anymore. Consumers are more interested than ever in finding out exactly what goes into their nutritional supplement drink or energy bar and there’s no point hiding behind an alphabet soup of medical-sounding jargon either. “They claim ‘Nothing Artificial’ and then add ‘glucose’ and ‘emulsifiers’ and ‘yogurt powder’. I understand the need for all of these, but then please don’t make loud claims,” wrote fitness blogger Shashank Mehta on his blog three years ago in a review of energy bars and protein bars, and was so disappointed with the results of digging deeper into the ingredients in these products that he launched his own line of energy bars under the brand The Whole Truth (formerly ‘and nothing else’) where literally all the ingredients in the bars are stated upfront on the packaging without any fine print. In the coming year, we will see more such products in the market as the consumer becomes savvier.
All in the mind
Finally, the progress made in terms of increased awareness of mental health and mainstreaming of conversations around mental health made during the pandemic will reap new benefits in 2021. Experts predict a rise in the number of people reaching out to therapists and psychiatrists, or at the very least, using meditation and mindfulness apps to get started on their mental health journeys. In India, the sheer number of new mental health platforms, both online and offline ones, that connect people to therapists or provide solutions like AI and chatbot-based therapists and mental wellness exercises based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is on the rise, and this is a healthy sign of increased demand for quality mental health support at least among urban and educated demographics.