The pandemic triggered a wellness revolution that has not slowed, and we are here for it! Now that life has regained some semblance of normality, people are keen to explore how we can integrate wellness practices into our daily routines. Let’s take a look at some of the key trends for the coming year.
We all know the importance of sleep, but often we don’t make it a priority, that’s all set to change. Healthy adults are advised to sleep between seven to nine hours per night, however according to the Sleep Foundation, 35% of adults in the US report sleeping for less than seven hours per night on average.
Sleep syncing involves carrying out various techniques designed to reset our circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm refers to our body’s internal clock, which runs on repeat every twenty four hours. One of the big trends for this year is circadian eating, which involves switching from heavy evening meals to lighter ones. Other strategies for sleep syncing include:
- Keeping your bedroom dark and cool at night
- Avoiding screens before bedtime, as the blue light can disrupt your body’s internal clock - easier said than done, we know!
- Limiting caffeine intake - in healthy adults caffeine has a half-life of five hours, this is the length of time it takes for caffeine to be eliminated from the body
- Following a consistent sleep schedule
- Creating a bedtime routine to help unwind
It can be tough finding time to exercise, so this year we’re making it a part of our daily routine. Micro workouts, also known as incidental exercise, are bouts of low intensity activity that take place at various points throughout the day.
This could be anything from a quick set of squats whilst waiting for the shower to heat up to a brisk walk to the supermarket, any form of activity that can be seamlessly squeezed into our daily routines. These small bursts of exercise should lead to big results if carried out consistently. Anything to get the body moving!
This year we’re predicted to see a so-called ‘Shroom Boom.’ Whilst this is partly due to the global shift to sustainable eating and the growing demand for plant-based alternatives, it’s primarily thanks to the numerous health benefits of shrooms. The mushroom Lion’s Mane is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies have shown Lion’s Mane to contain compounds that can stimulate the growth of the brain cells hericenones and erinacines. It’s also thought that Lion’s Mane extract may ward against the development of stomach ulcers by inhibiting H.pylori growth, protecting the stomach lining from damage. If that’s not enough to sway you to the shroom boom, you can’t really go wrong with mushrooms on pizza.
This trend delves into the role the senses play in our daily lives and essentially hacking them to transform our mood. We can improve productivity, reduce stress and increase feelings of happiness all through simple sensory hacks. Smell plays a powerful role in enhancing our mood, essential oils for example, stimulate the limbic system of the brain, responsible for our emotions. Color can have a similar effect. Dopamine dressing stems from color psychology, exploring how wearing certain colors can impact how we feel. When we wear brightly colored clothing, we tend to embody these emotions, making us feel more optimistic.
Healing The Gut-Brain Connection
The gut is often referred to as the ‘second brain’ due to its ability to communicate with the brain and influence our overall health. The gut and brain are constantly communicating through a network of neurons, hormones and immune cells, known as the gut-brain axis.
This axis plays a critical role in regulating our mood, immune system and digestion. There’s always been an awareness around the importance of gut health, however the gut-brain connection has only recently come to the forefront of this discussion. Certain food groups are particularly beneficial for the gut-brain axis, here are some of the key ones to incorporate into your diet:
- Omega 3 fats - shown to increase good bacteria in the gut and reduce the risk of brain disorders
- Fermented foods, like kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir - known to boost the number of probiotics in the gut
- High-fiber foods, like whole grains, seeds and vegetables containing prebiotic fibers - known to reduce the stress hormone
- Polyphenol-rich foods like green tea and olive oil - polyphenols increase healthy gut bacteria
- Tryptophan-rich foods like turkey, eggs and cheese - tryptophan is an amino acid that is converted into serotonin