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The Body

7 Wellness Trends for 2021

Getty Images/MirekKijewski

Frog venom, really? Well, here are some of the health and wellness trends that should be on your radar for 2021.

Last year certainly had challenges, with many alas, still ongoing. On the positive side, lots of people developed some good health habits, such as daily walks outdoors and cooking at home with herbs and spices. The year 2020 will be remembered in wellness circles as the year you couldn’t buy a kettlebell since they were constantly sold out, and when online streaming classes finally became a big deal. So how will we be staying healthy, both in mind and body, in 2021? We took a look at some of the biggest trends in the health and fitness world for 2021. Which ones will you try?

Exercise snacks: Nibbly foods aren’t the only thing that can be on-the-go. So can “exercise snacks” which are brief bursts of stretching, lifting weights, or challenging the cardiovascular system. “Every hour or few hours, turn on a favorite song, and dance or do jumping jacks or another physical activity,” advises The New York Times, which reports that even 4-second bursts of activity can actually improve fitness. The main idea is to shift your mindset away from exercise being a special, designated activity into more of a focus on movement throughout the day.

Kambo: If ayahuasca is too tame for you, and vomiting and diarrhea are your idea of a really deep cleanse, a kambo ceremony might be just your jam. The rest of us might want to avoid kambo, a ceremony based on shamanic principals that involves deliberately exposing yourself to toxins secreted by the giant leaf frog. (After the practitioner burns your skin to create a little blister for the toxin to enter. Yay!) The resulting reaction involves swelling of the face, strong emotional response, rapid heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea and pain. Proponents claim these after-effects are spiritually lightening. For more on the science, safety recommendations, and contraindications of using kambo, check out this article.

Reconnecting with nature: One of the biggest health and wellness trends for 2021 is “Nature, nature, nature,” reports the Global Wellness Institute (GWI). The COVID-19 pandemic drove people out of gyms and into the natural world to hike, walk, camp, and bike … and they discovered and or remembered how much they liked it. GWI explained that the pandemic also woke people up to respecting nature more, based on the idea that how “we as a human species interact with other species (and encroach on their natural habitat) has caused our own sickness.” (Read “How to Engage with Nature’s Healing Energies.”)

Text therapy: We’ve been told for years to step away from our mobile phones, but there’s now a reason to pick them up more often: boosting mental health via text therapy. Video therapy sessions have been popular. This year, companies like Calmerry are offering an option where you can have a text thread going with a licensed therapist to deal with issues such as anxiety, depression, or relationships.

Sober is the new vegetarian: The alcohol-free movement continues to grow. Consider this: In 2013, 4,000 people signed up for the first Dry January challenge when it launched in England. This year, 6.5 million people in the U.K. alone are participating in the program. Whether someone wants to go “AF” (alcohol free) for a month, or has decided drinking just isn’t for them permanently, there’s a market of “no spirits” to keep things festive, sans booze. Looking for some options? The website Better Rhodes has a variety of alcohol-free spirits, wines, beers, as well as alcohol-free drink recipes. And try our 15 Mantras for Sobriety.

Robo-sleeping: Is it just me, or are people getting really hardcore about needing sleep? If you’ve graduated past pillows with built-in stereo speakers, there’s a metronome-light pattern device called Dodow that is designed to block overactive thoughts. And if all else fails, a cuddly sleep robot can monitor your breath rate, gradually “breathing” more slowly to relax you into slumber.

CBD clothing: We’ve written a lot about CBD, which can be used to treat everything from anxiety to insomnia to migraines. Now CBD/hemp is being touted as a health and wellness trend for 2021 when it is infused into clothing, such as workout attire. The makers claim the special CBD clothing provides muscle-ache soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.

Want more ways to stay healthy this year? Read about how to strengthen your immune system.