While last year considerably shook up the way we usually look after ourselves, it also meant we started to be a little more innovative without our normal go-tos – and 2021 is the year to make it work even more for you, whatever happens.
From virtual workouts to staying nourished, here are the must-know health trends tipped to take off big-time this year.
Getting in good shape doesn’t always mean hours of exercise and paying attention to nutrition; it also means treating yourself with care and kindness. While having a bit of ‘you time’ is usually taken as occasionally indulging in some delicious chocolate and a glass of wine, it’s also doing anything that relaxes your body, soothes your soul and calms your mind.
Transform your bathroom into an at-home spa. First up – invest in indulgent bath salts, particularly those that help to relax your muscles and soothe your skin. Spending some time soaking in the tub with your favourite book or podcast and a mug of herbal tea will melt away any worries from your day.
Taking care of your hair and skin can also make you feel extra shiny – inside and out. Hair masks have the power to transform your locks from brittle to silky and glossy in no time at all! Similarly, face masks are like food for your skin – whether you want to target dryness, or stubborn spots, there’s a mask out there that’ll nourish your complexion.
Another important aspect of self-care, often overlooked, is something we do every day without thought – breathing. Taking some time out of your day to focus on some soothing breathing exercises is just as important as exercising your body: whether that be by meditating, yoga, or simply sitting down, shutting your eyes and focusing on deep inhalations. It has the power to help both body and mind, and has endless benefits such as relieving stress, relaxing muscles and clearing any stressful thoughts.
For many of us, last year shook up working out as we know it. With gyms shut, it was time to learn how to motivate ourselves to move our bodies. If you’ve always thought that working out from home would be impossible for you – think again. All you need is a dedicated space within your house – this could be anywhere where there’s enough room to move around a little – and an exercise mat.
Now, this is where the fun starts. The barrier between you and at-home workouts could simply be because you are not actually enjoying the exercise you do.
A good place to start is to ask yourself why you exercise – if your answer is mostly about aesthetic results, start to change your focus to enjoying the feeling of moving your body every day. Choose an exercise that you really love to do and want to get better at – whether it’s yoga, HIIT, barre or even just stretching to begin with – and schedule a slot 3-4 times a week to really be present and enjoy this time for yourself and your body. The results of getting stronger and in shape will come as an added bonus.
You can do this solo using your own knowledge, or head to the virtual world, where there are an abundance of online classes, PT sessions, apps and more to help you on your fitness journey and aid you in overcoming any fears you may have when it comes to exercise. Have a look at the South Westminster BID's Virtual Event Series, running throughout January and Feb, which is offering free fitness and wellbeing events, from an 80s Aerobics class to a sleep and recovery workshop.
For even more motivation, get yourself kitted out in some stylish workout clothes – just because you’re not at the gym doesn’t mean you can’t look the part. When you’re ready to level up, investing in some weights, bands and sliders can help you on your journey.
Enjoy mixing up your fitness routine by getting out into the fresh air and reaping all the health benefits it brings to your mind and body. Spending time in nature has significant health benefits, from improving your mood to reducing stress levels – plus, the types of exercises you can do outside are endless! While running is an ever-popular choice, if you prefer low-impact exercise then you can try cycling or even just head out for a leisurely stroll. Why not aim to incorporate a daily walk into your routine or plan a weekend hike to look forward to?
Investing in a fitness tracker – such as these ones from Boots – can help you track how many steps you’re racking up a day, as well as allow you to set a goal for how much you want to move.
Rather than trendy diets that don’t seem to be sustainable, this year is all about intuitive eating – while it initially sounds like a fad, it actually boils down to listening to your body and eating foods that fuel and nourish you, learning what aids your body and what doesn’t. This also means removing all guilt and shame around what you eat – eat everything from green veggies to cakes, as long as it works for your body, you stop when you’re full – and you enjoy it.
Try a little boost with a vitamin-heavy smoothie from Joe and the Juice, which is open for pick up and delivery.
Take the time to really be present at mealtimes too. Sit down without distractions like TV or your phone and concentrate on tasting and enjoying the food you’re eating. You can even eat al-fresco when the weather warms up!
As well as nourishing foods, think about preventatives too – as well as immune-boosting vitamins, invest in some supplements. For example, cultivating good gut health should be a priority – so as well as eating lots of gut-friendly food, a probiotic can also improve your microbiome – something that affects our overall wellbeing, including mood, brain function and skin.
Perhaps you're thinking about giving Veganuary a go this month? M&S Simply Food has a huge range of plant-based meals from its Plant Kitchen, as well as vegan milk so you can carry on having your morning pick me up.
Last year saw our homes become multi-functional – as our office, social hub, replacement restaurant and more. This year, transform your space into a sanctuary by maximising comfort. Practising ‘Hygge’ – the Danish word for a mood of cosiness and contentment – throughout your house will promote a sense of calm and peace into your living space.
Strip back the clutter and think about pleasing all of your senses. Invest in comforting blankets and throws that are soft to touch; burn some candles that smell delicious; choose homewares with colours that fill you with happiness; and play background music that sings to your soul. Lighting is also an essential part of creating a sense of hygge in the living space – warm, soft light creates an inviting and comfortable space compared to harsh, white light.
Hygge doesn’t just stop with what you decorate with either – comfy clothing to potter around the house in is just as important. Reach for loungewear that makes you feel good and nightwear that will make going to bed something to look forward to. Leading us on to our next point – sleep. Make sure your bedroom is a place of pure relaxation, so you can snuggle up and get quality shut eye – resting and repairing is one of the most important parts of taking care of yourself.