9 Wellness Trends To Look Out For In 2020
By nature, the popularity of trends can be difficult to predict, especially in the age of viral videos blowing up phones on a minute-by-minute basis. In the wellness industry, trends can range from amusing fads (trampoline workouts, anyone?) to long-lasting mainstays (meditation, therapy, and taking breaks from your screen don't seem to be going anywhere). If you're into taking care of yourself, though, it's fun to stay ahead of the proverbial curve and anticipate what wellness trends will be popular in 2020.
Whether you're into hardcore fitness as a means of self-care (same) or have been trying to start a meditation practice for the past six months, 2020 may well highlight some important trends to help you along your journey. Of course, trends don't come out of nowhere — all trends are born out of a complex web of social and economic contexts, rather than crashing in through the ceiling of your gym Captain Marvel-style. Just because something's trending now doesn't mean a version of it hasn't existed for a long time, as the industry experts we spoke to below outline.
This year's wellness trends are no exception. All of these nine wellness trends have a strong history behind them. Including these as part of your practice can help them rise to more prominence in the mainstream wellness industry — and make you feel awesome in the process.
Not just for yogis, stretching is making a comeback in 2020, according to The New York Times. This ties in well with the rise in attention to mental health, given that stretching refreshes both your blood flow and your mental energy. Whether you're having an hour-long stretch session to relieve some anxiety or taking a brief stretch break at your desk, you might be into this trend already without even knowing it.
2. Making Your Wellness Intersectional
There's nothing trendy about the work of people of color in the wellness industry. We wouldn't have the body-positivity movement without the work of fat, Black women, and sports like powerlifting are being redefined by the Asian-American women weight lifters busting all kinds of stereotypes. Despite this, the accomplishments of people of color and other marginalized folks in this space often don't get the attention or accolades they deserve.
"In 2020, one of the biggest shifts I’m excited to see are all of the folx of color working tirelessly to shift the paradigm of wellness," registered yoga teacher, certified meditation instructor, and founder of Naaya Wellness Sinikiwe Stephanie Dhliwayo tells Bustle. For too many years, she says, "wellness has been hailed as something you need to be affluent and part of dominant white culture to partake in."
Michelle Pellizzon is the founder of Holisticism, a community dedicated to making wellness more accessible. In a January 2020 post on Holisticism's site, she wrote that the very concept of wellness is inextricably linked to issues of race, gender, sexuality, and power in society. The post outlines examples of ways uncritically looking at wellness can exacerbate systems of oppression — "patronizing a yoga studio, retreat center, or company that has zero BIPOC members on staff, let alone in leadership roles" for one example — as well as ways to be more mindful of these systems.
Heading into 2020, transforming wellness spaces to be genuinely inclusive can indeed be a radical act.
3. Nutritional Genomics
Catering wellness to your own specific needs is a common thread throughout many 2020 trends, and nutrition is no exception. "Lots of practitioners who were previously titled as Holistic Nutritionists are undergoing extra training to read nutritional genomics," Pellizon tells Bustle. In fancy terms, this approach to wellness is based in studying nutrition alongside the particularities of your individual DNA. "Your genome can tell you some info about what your ideal diet is," Pellizzon tells Bustle. That information is pretty personalized, she says, so it might help you approach nutrition in 2020 by prioritizing your own body's needs instead of... well, the latest generalized trends.
4. Trans Athletes Taking Back Sports
For years, transgender athletes have been accused of "cheating" the system by being who we are. Governing bodies in sports often regulate who can participate based on the gender binary: USA Powerlifting banned trans competitors in February 2019, for one example. And though she is not trans, runner Caster Semenya brought international awareness to this issue when the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ruled that she needed to suppress the levels of testosterone her body produces in order to compete in her field.
While there are small trans bodybuilding and powerlifting organizations like the International Association of Trans Bodybuilders and Powerlifters, it remains difficult for trans people to find affirmative spaces in fitness communities. In 2020, trans athletes are fighting back against heterosexist and transphobic regulations by forming communities around a joyful rise in trans successes in sports. This issue is especially important during an Olympic year, when there is a heightened attention to sports. In our everyday fitness practices, let's create space for people whose bodies are often excluded from these events.
5. Making Mental Health Your Top Priority
There's no question that self-care is a buzzword that defined the last decade, but going into 2020, experts expect that people will start getting even more serious about their mental health.
Melissa Huitfeldt, founder of PR firm Ten West Co., which works with clients in the wellness space, says that in the midst of all the anxiety and stress surrounding today's "always on" culture, people are increasingly turning their attention to self-care. In the last few years, she says, "mental health has become less stigmatized and more widely discussed, leading more people to look for ways to manage and reduce their stress."
As we move into the new year, Huitfeldt tells Bustle that "we’ll continue to see more people prioritizing mental health practices by spending more time making their minds as healthy as their bodies with activities like journaling, hobbies, meditation, and therapy, and spending less time on social media." Won't that be nice?
6. Home Gyms
Despite the immensely awkward way that Peloton ended 2019, home exercise equipment — often complete with virtual group fitness classes — is looking like a trend that's only going to get bigger in 2020. Although working out at home isn't new (Jane Fonda, anyone?), the rise in workout subscription apps and associated equipment is expected to make the world's workout equipment industry exceed $14 million by 2025, according to Allied Market Research.
Of course, there are major economic barriers to bringing gym-like equipment into your home (those things are expensive!). Fortunately, you can stream a home gym experience for free with YouTube fitness videos, and then the exercise world is your proverbial oyster.
7. Increasing Diversity In Yoga
People of color across the yoga industry are continuing efforts to make the practice more accessible to all bodies. Yoga teachers Jesal Parikh and Sophie Griffiths have kicked off 2020 by compiling a list of 20 Yoga Teachers of Color to Watch in 2020. Following the folks on their list is a great way to start this year in yoga with a massive dose of inspiration.
"So many influential yoga platforms were coming out with lists of ‘experts’ or ‘influential teachers’ and most of them were woefully lacking in diversity," Parikh tells Bustle. Having this great list goes a long way toward making yoga accessible for more folks while boosting the platforms of instructors of color.
"Witchcraft is totally making a comeback" in 2020, Pellizzon tells Bustle. Why? "People are looking into their own ancestry to understand their family's relationships to spirituality/well-being instead of appropriating from other cultures," she says, "and lots of people are finding that their ancestors were full-on kitchen witches!"
By merging everyday responsibilities with mysticism, people are increasingly finding empowerment in spiritual communities that emphasize mysticism and human connection.
9. Meditation On The Go
As my therapist keeps reminding me, you don't have to settle onto your yoga mat for an hour to get a good meditation session in. Bon Appétit editor in chief Adam Rapoport told Healthy-ish that his 2020 wellness resolution is to take the non-smoking equivalent of a smoke break: "On days when the weather isn’t exceptionally crappy, I’ll just get up and head outside," he said. "Just 10 or 15 minutes away from my desk is enough for me to reset."
Simply paying attention to your breathing can improve your mindfulness, which can help alleviate stress levels and your brain's race of thoughts. So whether you're in line at the grocery store or brushing your teeth, you can do a lot to bring your meditative state with you wherever you are.
Whatever trends you dive into, 2020 can definitely be the year to focus on improving your overall wellness. Because your emotional and physical health definitely deserve your attention.