After a year spent in and out of lockdowns and putting up with strict public health measures, life has finally started getting back to normal. But one thing this pandemic has taught us is that caring for our wellness and health is something we should all work towards maintaining.
So it’s no surprise that even though gyms and fitness centres were closed for a good portion of last year, many people in the UAE have shifted their focus on physical and mental health. In fact, a Fitbit survey on over 1,000 people in the Emirates showed that 66% picked up healthier eating, sleeping, and exercise habits during the pandemic.
With May being mental health awareness month, we can’t skip over the impact of COVID-19 on our emotional state. The changes we witnessed this past year and the uncertainty they have caused about our future have knocked us off balance and resulted in a mix of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, agoraphobia, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.
When we struggle emotionally, we can feel overwhelmed and unable to cope in our daily lives. That’s why caring for both our body and mind is necessary for maintaining our overall wellbeing. Luckily, the latest wellness trends are adapting to cover both aspects and help us achieve our health goals. Let’s have a look at the ones we can expect to see more of this year.
With many seeking to boost their immune system during the pandemic, we witnessed an uptick in the consumption of everything from store-bought immunity-boosting shots to ginger, honey, and turmeric smoothies.
Foods we didn’t know existed a couple of years ago, like kimchi and kombucha, have now become mainstream thanks to their immunity and gut microbiome benefits.
Anti-inflammatory natural ingredients are becoming household essentials as the focus is shifting towards home cooking and good nutrition.
To reinforce your body’s defences, try to add vitamin and mineral sources to your daily health checklist, using citrus fruits, green leafy veggies, and natural sunlight.
2.Veganism and faux meat
Going vegan isn’t a new trend, but more and more people are giving up meat and animal by-products for either health or ethical reasons. Last year we saw big restaurant chains adding faux meat alternatives to their menus, with Deliveroo orders on plant-based dishes increasing by 115%.
From veggie sausages to Ikea’s new ‘plant balls’ and the upcoming McPlant line by McDonald’s, meat substitutes are here to stay.
The UAE also welcomed new entrants like Root’d, a plant-based meal subscription company, and Future Farm, a Brazilian FoodTech company offering plant-based meat products. With several faux meat options in the market that taste like chicken or beef, 2021 will probably be the year when fish substitutes really cater to seafood lovers. Yummy and conscious!
3. Health-tracking gadgets
From displaying your heart rate and daily calories to prompting you to walk and offering personalised training, health-tracking apps are doing a great job in reminding us to stay mindful of our health in our busy lives.
After Apple’s recently launched Fitness+ subscription service and the Health Heroes app that promotes preventive health behaviour among children in the UAE, we expect the integration of technology and overall wellness to be the next big thing. This may be the year that health apps will support the full mind-body connection by adding things like meditation, yoga, and journaling, all in one place.
Yes, you read that right! Telemedicine — or telehealth — might sound like a futuristic term, but it has been around for years.
Virtual healthcare shot into the spotlight last year and proved that some visits to the doctor translate just as well online.
During the pandemic, many hospitals kept monitoring their patients remotely, while Medcare partnered with Deliveroo to offer home delivery of medication to patients in Dubai. With many people in the UAE delaying necessary health checks, telemedicine is an accessible and convenient alternative for staying in touch with your doctor and preventing health issues. And since the Dubai Health Authority is investing in telehealth services, we’ll definitely see more of that trend in the coming years.
5. Mental health and self-care
Over the past year, almost every aspect of our lives was somewhat affected, including our jobs, social relationships, health, and education. COVID-19 forced us to get off the hamster wheel and gave us the chance to re-evaluate our lifestyles and their effect on our mental health. While many of us prioritised self-care and made brave decisions to change things that didn’t make us happy, the pandemic’s long-term consequences on our mental health are still being studied.
With experts calling for renewed attention on emotional wellness, this year, we’ll probably see communal self-care programmes paired with a rising popularity in medical massages, salt cave halotherapy and hydrotherapy.
The House of Nature Medical Centre in Abu Dhabi is one of many places that introduced new programmes on promoting relaxation and reducing stress through Ayurveda, Chiropractic, and similar practices.
6. Outdoor and nature-based activities
From biking and hiking to fishing and jogging, outdoor recreation experienced a boom last year as enclosed spaces shut down.
Open-air activities with limited physical contact will likely remain big throughout 2021, including outdoor yoga and classes in green spaces.
Meanwhile, there’s been an exciting shift towards reconnecting with nature. Most of us lead fast-paced lives, work long hours, and commute in crowded urban environments that put pressure on us and affect our stress levels.
Spending time in nature, in whatever way works for you, can have enormous benefits — from boosting your self-esteem and concentration to healing and restoring your balance.
These benefits often relate to how our senses connect us with the surrounding environment, like the shapes we see in nature and the smell of trees, stimulating a soft fascination and peacefulness that resets our minds. A simple walk in the woods can have a calming, enchanting, and uplifting effect that will help you achieve serenity and inner peace.
Looking after both our physical and mental health is essential for our overall wellbeing, and there are things that we can all do in our daily lives to care for our body and mind. Hopefully, you can adopt some of the trends we mentioned and achieve your wellness and health goals for 2021. As the saying goes, make time for your wellness, or you’ll be forced to make time for your illness.
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