Wellness, lifestyle trends for 2021: more health-tracking wearables, functional home office spaces
The COVID pandemic will continue to drive trends for at least another 18 months, one trend expert says.
A rise in health-tracking wearables, feel-good phone apps and an increased focus on work-life balance and eco-friendly products are among the health and wellness trends we should expect to see this year as the coronavirus pandemic continues to shape our world.
“I think the pandemic will continue to drive trends for at least another 18 months even with the vaccine,” says Jane Buckingham, founder and chief executive officer of trend forecasting and consulting company Trendera.
Here are some of the health, wellness and lifestyle trends forecast for 2021:
Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy’s trend expert, says “little luxuries” and “wellness-focused rituals” will be popular— things as simple as reinvigorated fitness routines and long baths. Another trend Johnson predicts will “really stick out” is comfort crafting.
“It’s really a time to craft, to learn a new skill, and it can certainly serve as a form of self-care and grounding,” she says.
Meditation, therapy by phone
Buckingham predicts we’ll see more focus on self-health monitoring with the help of wearables such as the Apple Watch and Fitbit to track and motivate movement, temperature and hormones and enzymes.
She also predicts an increase in meditation and therapy apps like Calm that can help relieve stress.
Friluftsliv, outdoor bliss
You might remember the buzzword hygge from trends of years past, the Scandinavian practice of coziness, but Johnson predicts a Norwegian concept will be in full swing for 2021 called friluftsliv (pronounced free-loofts-liv). Friluftsliv — which translates to English as “free air life” — is an appreciation of being outdoors and incorporating outdoor activities into your life.
“It’s really putting nature at the forefront of everything that you’re doing in your life,” Johnson says. “In 2020, I think it was the first time a lot of us really gave a sense of more appreciation and connection to the outdoors, and so I think, for 2021, that sensibility is just going to continue to increase.”
Buckingham sees an increased interest in the outdoors making its way into people’s homes, with “more outdoors incorporated indoors” with things like plants and other natural materials.
Trampolines for adults
Buckingham says there will be increased interest in stationary fitness tools like the Peloton bike and trampolines. Trampolines might feel like a throwback to your childhood, but the latest trampoline workouts use smaller, in-home devices. Jumping on trampolines burns more calories than jogging, according to a NASA study. The technique is a favorite of celebrities such as Eva Longoria and Goldie Hawn, who posted her bounce workout while listening to Dua Lipa.
Wearable weights and workout accessories such as Bala Bangles also will be on the rise since they make “working out easier without taking up room,” Buckingham says.
She also sees the outdoors as being part of an increased interest in slow travel, which focuses on providing an escape and getting to know a place in an authentic way.
“It also has to do with, when you reach a destination, choosing fewer things that are adrenaline-inducing — like, instead of going to an amusement park or jumping out of an airplane, picking a destination that is more enriching for your mind and mental health,” she says. “So a lot more being in nature, practicing being present and savoring the little wonders of the world.”
Chicory root coffee
Melissa Rifkin, a registered dietitian and nutrition influencer in New York, predicts an increased interest in chicory root as a coffee alternative as part of a trend surrounding gut health.
“It definitely has fiber and lots of antioxidants, so I think that’s also gaining a lot of momentum,” Rifkin says. “It also has prebiotic fiber that leaves bacteria in your GI tract, so that’s beneficial to reduce inflammation and improve mineral absorption.”
Triniti Gawthrop, founder of Ami Wellness, a plant-based supplement company focused on women’s wellness, says she’s seeing “more and more people looking at preventative care,” including making connections to gut health for immunity.
Eco-friendly menstrual care
Cherie Hoeger, chief executive officer and co-founder of period care company Saalt, predicts an increased demand for environmentally conscious menstrual products.
“Especially during this pandemic situation, a lot of people have more awareness around disposables and how fragile our supply chain is,” Hoeger says.
She says her company saw a 60% rise in sales since March compared to a year earlier.
In addition to sustainable products, demand for plant-based options is increasing as vegan and plant-based lifestyles continue to grow in popularity.
Rifkin sees people “leaning more towards a wholesome approach to getting their caffeine and focus,” such as coffee and protein bar alternatives that include mushroom adaptogens — powdered superfoods that can “help reduce stress, improve mental clarity and give more energy.”
“I think that plant-based you’re seeing everywhere,” Gawthrop says. “I think that that is just going to continue to grow as people make plant-based part of their lifestyle.”
If 2020 was a year of pivoting, then 2021 is going to be about “bringing back that balance and function,” Johnson says.
For some, that will mean making your space at home “function, stylish and still feel like a home.” To this note, Etsy saw a 399% increase in searches for wall or foldable desks in 2020 and a 134% increase in searches for room dividers.
“This is making sure that your space is functional but that you’re really able to distinguish — this is my work area, this is my home space, and this is the school area if you have kids,” she says. “You’re seeing people really want to be able to create functional spaces that work for them and not just, ‘Let me toss up a desk on my kitchen table.’ ”
Focus on work-life balance won’t stop at home organization. Hoeger predicts this will seep into people’s priorities in job searches.
“I think that the pandemic has just exacerbated that more because people have seen the needs of that work-life balance, and family needs have come more to the forefront,” says Hoeger, who foresees people flocking to brands that “really listen to the needs of their employees.”
According to Pinterest’s 2021 trend predictions, athflow — defined as “athleisure meets elegance” — will be everywhere.
“Athflow is professional enough for the ‘office,’ stretchy enough for the yoga mat and comfy enough for the couch,” according to the trend report, which says the site has seen an increased interest in styles such as cotton jumpsuits and soft clothing.
Buckingham predicts a “continued growth in athleisure but also a growth in comfortable but more glamorous clothing for when you want to look nice but still be comfortable at home.”
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