Literally, all aspects of wellness had a shake up last year. How we stay fit, what we eat, the way we work, the way we travel and the reverberations of those changes is sure to be felt in 2021 too. The global pandemic has redefined the way we look at physical and mental wellness. Here are a list of a few changes in the wellness department that we noticed in 2020 that will be here to stay in 2021 and beyond.

1. Virtual Fitness

When lockdown orders were put in place and almost all of us were homebound, exercise became more essential than ever to keep our body moving and healthy. With fitness centers closed or only opened in a limited capacity many people resorted to virtual fitness classes.

Our living rooms and bedrooms transformed into our workout studios. New virtual options allowed fitness studios and gyms to offer their services even when they were shut down for good. A virtual work-out session is commonly offered at a lower price point and requires no commute time. While streaming workouts were already on the rise, the demand has surged. This has urged many trainers and fitness studios to make a giant switch to go virtual.

Even though in-person workouts will be accessible post pandemic, many people will still continue to stick to their virtual workout routines for the optimal flexibility they have to offer. Virtual fitness offerings are reshaping the way people stay fit. They are ushering a new wave of wellness. It looks like they are here to stay.     

2. Tele-health

The year 2020 has also redefined how we seek and offer health services. New virtual care apps are emerging constantly allowing people to get diagnosed, treated and counselled virtually. Virtual care made healthcare more accessible, helping overcome patient capacity constraints due to the pandemic.

Tele-health will continue to be a very viable and safe way to deliver medical services. Virtual care lays more focus on preventative medicine to help boost healthy habits, strengthen relationships with care providers and improve overall patient outcomes. More and more people are looking for safer and more convenient ways to seek healthcare services. Thus, new digital ways to diagnose and offers of virtual care is expected to rise in 2021.

3. Digital Mental Wellness

Mental wellness is finally getting the attention it deserves. The grief and stress inflicted by the pandemic has been immeasurable. It took a massive toll on our mental health. Fortunately, many forms of counselling and therapy were available from the safety of our homes.

Technological advancement has pushed digital therapeutics to the forefront of convenience in people’s pockets. Mental health tech via apps, virtual care, digital support groups, wearables, chatbots and other futuristic innovations will move into the mainstream as cultural norms continue to shift. Millennials’ embrace of convenient treatment, as well as their increased interest in self-care, will transform how caregivers offer subsidized care.

Mental health is moving far beyond the therapist’s couch. We expect to see more forms of online mental health support in the coming months and years.

 4. Digital Detoxes

The pandemic had us locked up inside making us use digital devices more than ever. Be it for attending online classes and learning remotely, working from home or finding alternative ways to stay connected with our loved ones. It had us glued to our screens more than before.

‘Digital Detox’ is predominantly used as an umbrella term for quitting digital platforms or devices for a period of time. However, in the era of social distancing people already feel too much isolation. Tuning out of the digital platforms seemed next to impossible. Last year, the news media was also inundated with stories regarding morbidity and mortality rates, public response and politics regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of our major learnings from 2020 is that we as individuals have the power to set limits on our digital consumption. Going into 2021, we can be pretty much assured that the idea of digital detoxes will be on top of our minds in our collective consciousness.

 5. Intention-focused wellness travel

Our travel goals hit a major setback last year. We cancelled our restorative vacations, non-essential travels and postponed our plans until time unspecified. Since so many people have struggled last year to gain a foothold on their mental and emotional well-being, travel enthusiasts will be seeking out experiences and travel destinations that will help them regain a sense of stability and an overall well-being.

Wellness has infiltrated just about every other imaginable industry, including travel. In this case, wellness travel is going to be ubiquitous and wellness retreats are likely to become the next destination of choice. Retreats create an insular environment for people to turn inwards and focus on their wellness intentions. While more and more people are looking for ways to combine their personal wellness with a vacation, the demands for these places are probably going to be on high rise in 2021 and years to follow.

6. Corporate wellness

Undoubtedly, one of the most important aspects of our lives that shook up the most last year was our work-life. #workfromhome became the most trending hashtag over the internet. Almost all of us made a switch from working-from-office to working-from-home. We repurposed unused spaces in our homes to create dedicated home offices. These changes drew special attention to corporate wellness and are definitely, here to stay. Businesses will continue to offer work-from-home options, decrease non-essential business travels and offer corporate wellness opportunities to support employee mental and physical well-being.

Our priorities, goals and daily routines went haywire last year.

But we can’t deny the chaotic year also offered us with an opportunity to reflect, reset, reorganize our priorities and embrace the uncertainty. Getting used to the brand new routines and resettling into the new world was terrifying at first. But now, the silver linings are everywhere. The lockdown limits reminded us to rest as a vital self-care tool. Therapeutic breakthroughs provided solace amidst the pandemic. The future of wellness looks even brighter, more inclusive and accessible in 2021 and beyond.

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The content on Girls’ Globe is created by our members – activists, advocates and experts on gender equality, human rights and social justice from around the world.