Wellness trends 2021: eight methods for coping with winter
We round up the latest wellness trends that will help to keep you zinging with energy as the days get colder and shorter
Eat for optimum vitality
1. Load up on immunity boosting foods
Infection busting is the name of the game in nutrition this autumn. Ward off the seasonal bugs with a diet rich in immunity boosting foods. Stoke up on antioxidants, which means loads of fruit and veg — the more colours the better — and get a daily dose of vitamin D. If you aren’t getting enough sun on your skin, invest in some vit D nasal spray. Eat plenty of complex carbohydrates (the brown carbs) for optimum energy: reach for mixed grains, pulses, quinoa and beans. Also try to get your fix of adaptogens — namely ginger, turmeric and echinacea — which help relieve stress by controlling the production of stress hormones. And lower stress means better immune function.
2. Cleanse your gut to beat the bloat
Intolerances and allergies are at an all-time high. Gut cleansing will help you regain the feel- good factor, eliminate intolerances, boost your energy and improve IBS. Minimising refined sugar in the diet goes a long way to improving your overall health, and many companies now offer bespoke online dietary packages to help you achieve this. Zest4life offers an online two-week detox, with loads of healthy recipes, menu plans and guidance to help you restore dietary balance.
3. Eat your way to a healthy brain
Support brain function and beat the blues with the MIND diet (Mediterranean Intervention for Neurological Delay). It offers a healthy (and enjoyable) way of eating that focuses on the Mediterranean style diet of fresh, locally sourced fruit and vegetables; plenty of omega 3 and 6 nutrients which can be found in oily fish, nuts, seeds, and olive oil; and an ample splash of red wine when the mood takes you… sounds like it’s good for the soul too.
Treat yourself to the latest fitness accessories
The infrared sauna company HigherDose (whose devotees include Gwyneth Paltrow and Lady Gaga) has recently launched a vibrating therapy mat that emits low frequency electromagnetic waves to ease muscular pain and help to dissipate stress. You can use it whilst exercising or practicing yoga to intensify the experience, or simply curl up on it and reap the therapeutic benefits of a much-needed dose of sleep.
Also trending are high-tech water bottles. For the latest sensory drinking experience, try Air Up’s innovative hydration bottle, which emits your chosen flavoured scent pod into the water, convincing your taste buds that you are sipping on something more exotic than just plain water. It’s vegan friendly, non-allergenic and free of calories.
Scale new heights with ‘Everesting’
Lockdown encouraged us to become a nation of cyclists and this trend seems set to continue. The latest cycling craze is ‘Everesting’, a fiendishly difficult cardio challenge. Originally only attempted in die-hard cycling circles, it is now hitting the mainstream. The idea is to ‘pick a steep incline anywhere in the world and cycle up and down it until you have notched up 8848 metres vertically, (the height of Mt Everest), in one cycle ride,’ say the pioneers of the concept (Hell’s 500). Head for the great outdoors or hop on your stationary bike at home and set yourself up to attempt the challenge virtually. For further info on how best to prepare for the challenge, look to Hell’s 500’s comprehensive guidance on their website.
So many months of lockdown has meant too much screen time for many of us. The College of Optometrists has reported that up to a fifth of us have suffered a deterioration in eyesight during this period. Now may be the time to practice some eye yoga. This is thought to improve focus, slow down the inevitable deterioration of eyesight that comes as we age and ease tension headaches. It may also increase speed of recognition (the brain’s response to what it sees). The added bonus? It may well bring a sparkle back to tired eyes.
For a quick and easy exercise to do at home try the following:
- Sit or stand with your back straight and gaze straight ahead.
- Then move your eyeballs so that you are gazing straight up (imagine a large clock face directly in front of your face and gaze at the 12 position on the clock and hold for 2 seconds).
- Then gaze down to the 6 position on the imaginary clock and hold for 2 seconds, then look towards the 1, then in the opposite direction so that you are looking towards the 7 position on the imaginary clock face.
- Continue with 2 then 8, 3 then 9 etc … until you have done the whole ‘circuit of the clock’ and are back gazing at 12.
Be Happy – it’s one of the keys to a healthy life
The Wellcome Collection’s ‘On Happiness’ season of free events, exhibitions and activities launched in July of this year and runs until February 2022. Central to the programme are the joint exhibitions Joy and Tranquillity which can be seen in the galleries of the Wellcome Collection in Euston Road.
Tranquillity explores the various shades of happiness, from serenity, to peace, balance, reverie and retreat through immersive art installations, while Joy looks at heightened emotional states such as ecstasy, euphoria and pleasure that can be reached through dance, laughter and protest. Alongside the real time exhibitions are a host of online events, including ‘Who wants to be Happy’, ‘Joy as a Protest’ and ‘Dance the Pain Away’.
Keep up to speed with autumn’s new fitness trends
Gyms and fitness studios are abuzz with a range of hot new classes to suit all tastes. Among these is a bizarre, but strangely compelling, new fitness challenge — tyre flipping. This fairly simple but physically demanding action is performed by lifting old (but heavy) tractor wheels and flipping them over. It is a full body workout in itself. The tyre flipping action works the muscles in the back, glutes, legs, abs and arms. Visit your local tyre repair shop to buy a tyre if you intend to ad-hoc it at home, or if in doubt, head to Gymbox for padded wheel replicas that do the job just as well.
Wellness breaks are back on
With the travel industry gearing up worldwide, wellness breaks are back in favour. For the ultimate in luxury this autumn, treat yourself to a stay at Itha 108, the seriously delicious yoga hideaway on the Greek island of Ithaca. Perched in a wilderness of olive trees, it is a haven of spectacular natural beauty, with views over the shores of the Ionian Sea. Daily yoga, comfortable accommodation and delicious home-cooked local fare all contribute to the special atmosphere of tranquillity and relaxation. It is a bit of a trek to get there – think flight, ferry and jeep transfer — but it’s well, well worth it.
Try a cacoa ceremony
Cacao, the raw, unadulterated form of cocoa, is known to have a myriad of health benefits. It is power packed with flavonoids and naturally occurring antioxidants, and can help to lower blood pressure, improve circulation, and prevent diabetes by regulating insulin production.
For those looking for an alternative wellness experience, ‘cacao ceremonies’ are a must-try. They promise to open your mind and heart by using the plant in an ancient and ritualistic way that allows you to connect on a deeper level with your physical, emotional and spiritual being.