Too many wellness trends? These 5 may actually change your life
Published: 1/31/2020 1:40:10 PM

Last year, we witnessed the least original evolution of trends. None of this should be surprising. Trends are one way of making sense of our connection in a world of information overload, so it makes sense that many of 2019’s trends were just an evolution of 2018.

Just look: oat milk (almond milk’s cooler cousin), alcoholic seltzers (the younger La Croix), CBD (two minutes away from the essential oil aisle), jumpsuits (fine, but Fleabag Season 2 is character development from Season 1, so actually I stand by this) and even astrology (a natural progression from 2018’s healing crystal trend).

So what’s going to be a big deal in 2020? Frankly it shouldn’t matter, because no body is like another, but there is joy in community and sharing and helping others find relief. So that’s what we focused on when we curated this list.

Because when it comes to dispensing wellness advice, the least we can do is make it accessible!

So with the help of our marketing team, we took a look at Google trend search, from 2017 to 2019, for the best ways to spend your wellness dollars – and came up with ways to respectfully engage.

1. Breathing

Search uptick: 108.32% since 2017

While oxygen bars were a 2017 trend, breathwork is about learning an inhale/exhale technique, or “conscious breathing,” to help better your health. Breathing from your diaphragm is shown to be an effective tool for relaxing, countering negative stress and even boosting brain function.

The question is, do you have to go to a class for this? What seems like a minute-to-minute activity is, after all, free.

My skepticism probably points to a certain level of health privilege. After all, investing in your breath is a far more personal question. People with conditions, allergy sensitivities or who live in environments that affect their natural breathing pattern might find the classes useful.

People with PTSD in fact may find breathwork therapeutic (studies show respiration benefits veterans with PTSD), but having a professional guide them through the process may be more healing than trying to work at it alone.

2. Relaxation getaways

Search uptick: 59.21% from 2017

Many outlets, from Harper’s Bazaar to Essence, put wellness retreats and travel on their 2020 list. However, we all know influencer postings about paid-for vacations have to be taken with a grain of salt. So if you’re considering a retreat based on an #ad, I say disregard the review. But this doesn’t mean you can’t experience a more low-key version of a “wellness retreat” in your own neighborhood.

For the first year, Yelp released their 2020 trend list, based on search queries, and they noticed a rise in: IV drip therapy, medspas, hydraFacials and holistic healing (from reiki to salt room therapy). Costs for these appointments vary, but expect to drop at least $100 for a session.

If you want that low-cost, self-care thing, we stay stick to 2019 trends of jade rollers and facial massages. Or plan a reading retreat at home, blanket fort and all.

3. The sober curious crowd

Search uptick: 4611.30% since 2017

Last year, Amanda Mull reported on how millennials were sick of drinking. While statistical evidence behind this trend is slim, Mull also notes that someone who drinks a glass of wine each week falls in the same category as someone who drinks two to three glasses with dinner. For The Cut, Katie Heaney wrote about being “Cali sober,” which refers to people who “don’t drink but do smoke weed.” Makes sense. Adopting less of a “go out and stay out” lifestyle is likely a product of multiple things: expenses, fatigue and a general desire (or pressure) to optimize for health.

The hopeful upside is that as brands, restaurants and influencers catch on, those who choose sobriety will feel less pressured and shamed in social situations. The downside of sober curious as a trend is how harmful language can be for those with alcohol or drug use disorders.

Mid-2019, Cory Stieg covered, for Refinery29, the importance of differentiating between alcohol addiction and being sober curious. “(They) aren’t the same thing, and the two shouldn’t be held in the same regard,” she writes.

4. Intuitive eating

Search uptick: 107.59% from 2017

Tracing back the viral moments of body positivity in 2019, we have Jameela Jamil and her @i_weight movement, the backlash against Kurbo, and also The New York Times’ viral op-ed “Smash the Wellness Industry,” which introduced intuitive eating to an even wider audience.

While intuitive eating isn’t anything new, especially to anyone who has dipped a toe into wellness waters, throwing out the entire dieting rules is harder than you think, especially if you don’t want to feel alone on this journey.

To fully understand what it means to opt-out, don’t just make intuitive eating your thing. Add a layer of education and activism to your approach.

5. Transparency of products

Search uptick: 63.21% from 2017

Since Deceim came into the picture, in 2017, skin care knowledge has increased, and now transparency is the newest demand. Transparency, no matter how loose the definition and criteria, is also how brands like Drunk Elephant rose to skin care gram consciousness in 2018.

And any beauty lover remembers the summer of 2019, which was all about scrutinizing sunscreen. Even other products such as retinol, hair dye and even coconut oil have come under the magnifying glass.

In retrospect, Deciem may have also changed the way skin care products are now designed and discovered. Instead of a generic “best eye cream” hunt, you’ll want to get specific, querying for “best eye cream with hyaluronic acid.” Products or companies that hide or won’t explain their ingredient formulations are likely to receive more backlash (see: Glossier).

To combat this, sites that break down ingredients and their efficacy are being created.

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