Toward the beginning of the pandemic in spring, a friend of mine was explaining how one of her friends had offered an improv Zoom meeting as a fun thing to do with their pals. While it was well-intentioned, it appeared as though it was hard for non-actor friends to really get into acting out objects and concepts. Lesson: one person’s idea of wellness isn’t the same as another’s.
But that doesn’t mean 2020 was all doom and gloom for feeling good in mind, body, and spirit. Surprisingly, 2020 managed to have its own little crop of wellness trends, some of which wouldn’t be here without the pandemic.
Always ahead of our time, we first covered herbal coffee (non-coffee “coffee” drink) way back in 2015—check out this herbal coffee latte recipe by Mary! We’ve also talked about ways to repurpose date pits to make a zero-waste coffee-flavored drink (in 2014—we’re so prescient!). But 2020 is the year when herbal coffee went mainstream, with brands creating herbal coffee products that you can make in a flash. This one by Wooden Spoon Herbs uses burdock roots from southern Oregon for liver cleansing and maca for energy and hormone balancing.
We’ve also covered slow living in the past, but boy did it go mainstream this year, for obvious reasons. Many of my friends have taken to baking their own sourdough bread. Slow living is not stuffing every minute of every day with productivity, and instead living life as to enjoy each moment. Whether that means taking a walk every morning, making your kombucha, raising your indoor vegetables, gezellig (shooting the breeze in the Dutch manner), making your own skincare and makeup, or full-on cottage core picking of berries and turning them into jam, in 2020 everyone looked at the clock a little less.
Self-care as resistance
2020 was also an important year in anti-racism, and many Black women talked about how they use self-care as a form of resistance against white supremacy and erasure. Obviously, each woman is unique and her self-care strategy will be, too—but the common themes that emerged were: taking care of their hair in the way that makes them happy, herbalism, reading, body positivity, skincare, meditation, and me-time. Of course, you don’t have to be Black to see self-care as resistance. So many of us—and I’d argue, all women and non-binary people—are in need of self-nurturing in order to stand up against the world.
Moon everything: moon circle, moon milk, moon list
Astrology has been on an upswing since circa 2015, when it started really trending mainstream. 2020 was all about the moon though, in the lunar-cycle sense. This included moon circle—a gathering of women on the full moon—, moon milk, even moon list to keep track of the phases of the moon and journal one’s physical, mental, and spiritual changes.
Bubbles and microclusters
It seems that complete social deprivation is neither sane nor healthy. People are “bubbling” with a limited number of friends in order to have unrestricted social activities. Also called “microclusters,” this may involve friends going into an agreement to self-quarantine for a certain number of days before and after getting together. This way, they feel they can safely remove their masks and get within 6 feet of one another, to do anything like go on a trip together or have a dinner party. It sounds intense, from what I hear of friends who are microclustering—but I can also see that it’s worthwhile, and widespread vaccination is still a few months away!
Living room dance classes
My favorite wellness trend of 2020 has to be living room dance classes. For some reason, this exploded during the quarantine more than any other type of fitness. We had Isabelle Steichen of American Ballet Theatre offer IG classes, and same thing with Tiler Peck of New York City Ballet (who adorably called her series “Turn It Out with Tiler”). Many other companies around the world offered free classes on YouTube, and I’ve taken ones by the Mariinsky Theatre in Russia, the National Dutch Ballet in Amsterdam, and Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. The ones I’ve taken the most are by the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington DC, Kathryn Morgan (former NYCB soloist), and Maria Khoreva (first soloist at the Mariinsky).
Aside from the obvious fact that people had to stay in their houses, I think dance classes had a boom because dance is joyous and cathartic by its very nature. For example, I just am not sure how much DIY CrossFit could have succeeded, you know what I mean? Fitness took a much less intensely chiseled, and much more restorative and uplifting form in 2020, because we just could not. Even. Try. You know what I mean?
Which one of these 2020 wellness trends did you partake in?
Photo: Jen P via Unsplash; Toastter via Unsplash; Suad Kamardeen via Unsplash; Kathryn Morgan YouTube