These past few years navigating a global pandemic have accelerated everyone’s interest in staying healthy. Self-care this year is more focused on the importance of community, the role mental health plays in overall well-being and the importance of taking time away from our digital devices (as helpful as they can be when tracking fitness)!
Increasing Interest in Taking Care of One's Mental Health
There was a time when talking openly about mental health—both challenges and how to take better care of our mental health—would have been done in whispers, if at all. That time is over. Today, more people are talking frankly about the adverse outcomes poor mental health has on body-wide systems, as well as the health advantages of mental health care.
A 2021 statement by the American Heart Association explained: “There are good data showing clear associations between psychological health and cardiovascular disease and risk, and there is increasing evidence that psychological health may be causally linked to biological processes and behaviors that contribute to and cause cardiovascular disease. The preponderance of data suggest that interventions to improve psychological health can have a beneficial impact on cardiovascular health.”
There are myriad options for mental health care today, from in-person therapy to apps to online platforms like Better Health and Talkspace, making keeping mental health a top priority easier for everyone.
The Importance of Community, and How to Find and Build Your Own
The need to isolate and social distance at the start of the pandemic drove home for many how much they needed local community, and how meaningful having a support system was not only in times of crisis, but also more generally.
The wellness industry is taking notice, and some spas are focusing more on shared wellness experiences than services that have clients one-on-one with providers. For example, services that allow for groups to interact while also enjoying the benefits of being in nature are becoming more popular—and even sometimes include services like massage therapy.
Self-Care That Focuses on Immunity and Longevity
Another possible result of navigating a global pandemic is that more people are interested in health and wellness services, products and practices that can boost their immunity and contribute to increasing longevity.
How people can boost their immunity is not settled science, but researchers are continuing to explore how lifestyle choices may affect our immune systems. According to Harvard Medical School, creating and maintaining healthy habits can act as your first line of defense against disease. Some suggestions are well-known, like quitting smoking, but others are more simple and more easily forgotten, like making sure you’re cooking meat thoroughly to avoid food-borne illnesses.
Other healthy lifestyle practices that may boost immunity include: regular exercise, eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, minimizing stress and getting adequate sleep.
According to Yovada, a company that helps people find and book yoga and wellness retreats, facial wellness is one of the fastest growing segments of the wellness industry. Studios like Facegym are starting to pop up in the United States, where clients can shop for products and take part in both online and in-studio face workouts.
Sample face workout—Stretching Jaw
- Pucker your lips to one side, creating a stretch in your cheek.
- With lips puckered to one side, tilt head to the same side while lifting your head slightly. You should feel a stretch in your neck.
- Maintain this position for several seconds.
- Release and do same routine on other side.
Digital Detox—Taking Planned Time Away from Digital Devices
There’s no doubt that in the health and wellness arena, digital products like fitness apps, meditation and mindfulness apps, and wearables have made a big difference for many people, getting them and keeping them on track to achieve and maintain their wellness goals.
Those real and important benefits, however, often need to be tempered by time spent away from digital space. Today, that time is often spent in immersive experiences like group yoga classes, forest bathing or joining a casual or low-key sports league (some gyms, for example, have dodgeball leagues).
+Bonus digital detox tip: Take the break from devices seriously. Put your phone out of reach—or don’t take your phone if you’re leaving the house—and mute notifications.