Last year it was all about hygge, lagom and mindfulness anything and everything, but what’s the next thing we can expect to help chill us out and keep those positive vibes flowing? To help you out, we’ve had a look at the emerging wellness trends that we expect to be huge hits in 2018.
Sounding like a cross between a sushi accompaniment and the name of a Japanese martial arts expert, wabi-sabi is the newest thing to rock our wellness world. Wabi (meaning ‘transient beauty) and sabi (meaning ‘to see through appreciative eyes’) is basically all about embracing imperfection (love that!) and taking appreciation and gratitude from the simple pleasures in life. So for example, a cup you’ve had for years that’s got a chip in it…that’s wabi-sabi. That vase with the cracked glaze that your nan passed down to you that used to belong to her mum, and her mum before that…that’s wabi-sabi. And a single daisy your child picked for you from the garden and placed in an egg cup filled with water…also wabi-sabi.
Essentially wabi-sabi is the antithesis of mass consumerism, mass production, digital this, technology that. It’s about celebrating the cracks and crevices of life, revelling in the beauty of things that might possibly be considered ugly, and it’s the willingness to see things and enjoy them just as they are. In terms of fitness, wabi-sabi encourages outdoor free space rather than indoor, overpriced gym memberships, and if you can practice some type of yoga or meditation within a natural, peaceful and uncluttered environment you are winning on all wabi-sabi levels.
Unlike most things, wabi-sabi shouldn’t cost you any money, although we can’t help but think that once this trend catches on, companies are going to be cashing in left, right and centre (ummm hygge coffee table book anyone!?!). Whilst part of us thinks this is just another fad, there are elements of it that we are certain will catch on and if it makes us take stock, slow down, appreciate and embrace those imperfections, then hell we say what are we wabi-sabi waiting for!
Are you one of those people who needs to be doing something with their hands all the time? Perhaps you’re a nail biter, or you’ve just given up smoking or perhaps you’re just simply a fiddler by nature…then read on because this latest trend could be exactly what you need.
Stress pebbles are smooth, often oval shaped stones that are used for relaxation or as an anxiety relief aid. Think of a simplistic fidget spinner, fiddle cube type thing and you’re on the right wavelength. The idea is that the process of rubbing the surface of the stone with your index finger and thumb helps to self soothe, distract and release any negative energy. Also known as worry stones, this practice has been used as a therapeutic treatment for both children and adults alike and whilst it won’t solve the very root of the problem, it will help somewhat in diminishing the intensity of the worry, which can lead to more positive solutions.
When doing our research on stress pebbles, we read on one website that this “tiny habit can reduce anxiety and stress in children and adults”, and although that sounds like a positive we can’t help worrying somewhat about the use of the word ‘habit’. Can a habit ever be good? That right there is the big question. Sure these pebbles have a purpose and we can bet ya bottom dollar they’ll be being sold all over the blinkin’ place in 2018, but we suspect just like the fidget spinner there’ll be something else to take its place before the year is out.
We’ve been hearing it all the time recently, that sitting is the new smoking, and studies are being thrown at us from every source going about how people with desk jobs are much more likely to die younger than those who have active jobs. I mean it makes sense doesn’t it really, of course if you’re sat at a desk all day you’re not going to be doing as much exercise as say a landscape gardener! But is standing the answer?
This year saw the rise in popularity of the standing desk (my husband even caved in and got one although I suspect it had more to do with the gadget geek in him rather than the health aspect) which then also resulted in the introduction of the walking desk and various other office health and wellness furniture. There’s no question that prolonged periods of sitting is not good for our health; it slows down our metabolism and this has a direct effect on our blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cardiovascular health. And it’s not just our working hours that contribute to this, no as soon as we get home we’re often so exhausted all we want to do is crash out on the sofa in front of the TV, the sitting just never ends!
2018 will see the research into wellness in the workplace continue, because as the way in which we work continues to evolve it’s inevitable that the tools we use to work also change alongside it. How we see it is this, if there is a desk that promotes good posture, regular breaks, gives you a massage, makes you a cuppa, teaches you meditation, does the work for you, then we want to know about it. ‘Cos let’s face it, it probs ain’t that far off, I mean if we’ve already got treadmill desks seriously what’s next…a motion sensor hoverboard instead of a computer mouse?…power generated giant hamster wheels…? or perhaps VR voice activated headsets that mean you never ever have to speak to an actual human being again?
They say that silence is golden, and as the digital noise around us continues to grow, our need for that golden silence is becoming ever greater.
Can you even remember the last time you experienced complete and utter silence? I certainly can’t. Even in the dead of night when the rest of the family are asleep, there’s still the ticking of the clock, the churning of the boiler and the guttural snoring from the husband. Noise is everywhere!
Now whilst some noises are absolutely delightful, the rush of wind across water or the early morning birdsong, it’s those social media pings, the text message alerts and email bleeps that have us on that stress precipice (or stressipice as I like to call it!)
Because of this, we’re seeing the emergence of a new kind of wellness retreat, the silent spa, which helps people to switch off and allow their brains to wallow in silent indulgence. The emphasis is again on nature, so expect to see silent spas cropping up in caves, ancient monasteries and ruins, or even in crypts and former bank vaults…it’s all very wabi-sabi (see above).
So what can you expect to do at a silent spa other than sitting contemplatively in silence? Well, there’s silent eating (which is literally the dream for those of you who can’t abide the sound of people chewing), there’s silent bathing, silent spa treatments, there’s even silent hair salons (no more ‘where are you going on holiday this year?’ chats). The benefits of taking time out to be silent are immense and it’s something that taps into all areas of wellness. So do yourself a favour in 2018 and keep it zipped! Shhhhhh…
Move over fitness trackers, because 2018 is all about the mind trackers. Mental health has been at the forefront of the health world over the last couple of years, with greater understanding, acceptance and admission that so many of us have varying degrees of mental health problems. Whether it’s work related stress, anxiety, depression or any other issue, most importantly it’s now being spoken about. And of course companies are starting to cash in on this.
We’ve already seen apps such as Headspace and Buddhify capture the market, but now trackers are being developed to help monitor our breathing patterns with a view to working out exactly when and what causes you stress. It’s thought that these devices will also pay attention to the way in which we sleep, recording different levels of sleep and again relating it to how stressed we may be feeling.
We’re not talking crystals of the Swarovski variety, nope it’s all about the ones you find in those mysterious incense scented hippy shops in deepest, darkest Glastonbury. However, this dark art is heading for the mainstream and now everyone wants in on this boho trend.
But surely they’re just pretty rocks? What on earth’s so special about that?
Well, what makes a crystal stand apart from the bog standard rock you might find in your garden, is that they have a repeating chemical structure and it is this that is thought to contain and store energy; energy which can be used for all manner of different positive benefits. Every crystal has a different superpower, for example Amazonite (looks like green spongy moon cheese) is good if you want to detox, Clear Quartz helps aid concentration and Amethyst…well Amethyst supposedly helps prevent drunkenness!
Whether you choose to wear your crystal, or if you prefer to place them around the home (the energy from a crystal can radiate out as far as 2-3 feet), they are certainly going to be on your 2018 wellness radar. And yes critics may well argue that they’re a placebo, that it you believe something vehemently enough then of course you’ll experience the positives, but we say they look pretty, there’s no harm in giving them a shot and if it’s good enough for Zoella then it’s good enough for us!
Relating to the silence trend mentioned above, digital detoxes are also becoming more and more necessary in our constantly switched on society. And having taken the odd digital detox or two myself in the past, I can vouch for the positive mental health benefits.
It’s essentially an addiction; something that causes us anxiety, stress and definitely has a detrimental impact on our sleep. As much as we try we just can’t ignore the pings of status updates, Whatsapp messages and Insta stories; even trying to ignore it results in a twitchy, restless urgency, a need to know what you’re missing out on. And if we’re 100% honest with ourselves, the only thing we’re actually missing out on is real life!
The phrase ‘disconnect to reconnect’ is going to be massive in 2018, as more and more of us start to notice the impact that social media has on our health. So whereas before we would choose a cafe based on whether it had WiFi or not, soon we’ll be opting for ones who advertise themselves as not having it.
Kindfulness is the new Mindfulness
Mindfulness has long been on our radar, in fact we’ve been told to be mindful of pretty much everything in our lives. Mindful eating, mindful colouring, mindful breathing, mindful exercise, there is seriously nothing that escapes the mindfulness mantra. But watch out, ‘cos here comes the ‘B’ word again…balance…because the moment something verges on obsession, and let’s face it we’re totally heading towards being mindful of our mindfulness, that’s when we need to start readjusting that balance.
Something needs to give, something new is needed, so some clever so-and-so has come up with the concept of kindfulness (can you see what they did there!?!). Yep, turns out many of us have lost the ability to be kind, both to ourselves and to others. Think about it, when was the last time you remember someone saying thank you to you for holding the door open for them, or how about the last time someone you pass on the street smiled at you. It seems as a generation we’ve lost the simple skill of giving a damn, and what a shame that is.
Being kind to yourself takes on that whole ethos of self love and embracing yourself as a person just the way you are. Positive affirmation cards are always a great way to start the day, as is smiling at your reflection in the mirror or paying a compliment to yourself. Or you could try giving metta meditation a go, which is a form of meditation that involves sending goodwill and kindness through a series of repeated silent chants.
And then there’s being kind to others, something that genuinely should be so simple, yet we find ourselves forgetting, or not prioritising, or even believing we don’t have the time. It’s not difficult to smile, it’s not difficult to send someone a letter, pick up the phone and give someone a call rather than a cop out text, and it’s not difficult to help someone out if they need it. Plus from a purely selfish point of view, which I am sure kindfulness is not about but is deffo an added benefit, being kind to people gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling inside doesn’t it, and anything that makes you feel good has got to be good for you!