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Six wellness trends for 2021

Photo by Kaylee Garrett on Unsplash

A powerful new convergence between healthcare and wellness and a big focus on strengthening the immune system were two of the trends predicted for 2021 at the recent Global Wellness Summit (GWS).

Four other trends were identified by the GWS panel, which comprised of top journalists and future forecasters. These trends included: Wellness expanding its boundaries to money, death and sex; Nature, nature, nature; Home wellness; and New directions in beauty, from antimicrobial products to at-home treatments.

The panel discussed how COVID-19 has shone a pitiless spotlight on the importance of preventative lifestyle approaches, and how our future survival will depend on a new alignment between wellness and healthcare. As Sandra Ballentine, editor of W magazine, noted, the pandemic has provided painful, incontrovertible evidence that “we need to shift our healthcare system away from profiting from sickness and gear it towards preventing it”. This will translate to a combination of functional and conventional medicine across community and economic lines, with telemedicine (and tele-wellness) playing a much bigger role.

Cecelia Girr, senior strategist at Backslash, the cultural intelligence unit powered by TBWA\ Worldwide, predicted that while healthcare has been quite sterile, and “wellness has become the cool kid on the block,” that the future is an unprecedented convergence, where innovative, new models that bring health and wellness together symbiotically will “become the global cultural north star”. New integrations will give healthcare the pleasurable, aspirational qualities of wellness, while wellness will increasingly get the science-backed credibility of the medical industry.

Ballentine predicted that strengthening the immune system (and building physical fortitude) will be a major 2021 wellness trend across the board, from food, to supplements, to educational classes. “We will see more customised immunity hacks, using genetic testing and biohacking to pinpoint what immune therapies best suit your system and situation.”

The panel discussed how we’re moving from a wellness industry narrowly focused on “looking and feeling good” to, as Girr put it, “a massive and seismic cultural taboo toppling,” with wellness radically expanding its boundaries to riskier “cultural pain-points and the really big stuff,” such as sex, money and death – issues that “have a much larger impact on our health than the day to day vanities of wellness”. So we will see everything from the rise of new, healthier end-of-life practices, such as death doulas, to getting real about money with new financial therapy/wellness approaches.

The experts all agreed that in an era of lockdown and social distancing, there is a profound new value being placed on nature and wilderness as healing.

They also concurred that a trend dramatically amplified by COVID-19 is bringing all kinds of wellness into our homes, from the simplest moves to the highest-tech. Sarah Miller, luxury brand ambassador, Wall Street Journal, noted that the “home wellness” focus can be very simple, such as finding ways to nurture ourselves in very tiny apartments, with air quality key and fresh air infinitely preferable to air-conditioning.

Ballentine maintained that the at-home, self-care beauty trend will reach new heights in 2021, with people mad for all sorts of beauty technologies and treatments that they can execute at home.

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