You jumped on the self-care trend years ago…until you realized that a strict schedule of bubble baths, sheet masks and CBD elixirs can still feel like work. Now, you’ve resolved to take a more kind and gentle approach to self-care by focusing on your mental and physical health first. Here are seven new trends to try in 2021.
7 New Self-Care Trends We're Loving Right Now
1. …but First, Sleep
Wait! Before you start committing to all sorts of new self-care routines, remember that everyone feels better after a good night’s rest. In fact, getting more sleep has been scientifically proven to improve nearly every part of our lives, including increasing productivity at work, giving us extra energy to play with our kids and pets, and an overall brighter mood throughout the day. The National Sleep Foundation says we should be getting seven to hours of sleep a night (and, sorry, that doesn’t include the half hour you spend in bed reading). An easy trick to make sure you’re getting adequate rest? Calculate your sleep opportunity—that’s the amount of time it takes you to fully get ready for bed, unwind and drift off to sleep. Let’s say your sleep opportunity is 45 minutes. Make sure to incorporate that calculation when you’re figuring out when to get up tomorrow morning, so you won’t shortchange yourself on precious zzz’s.
2. Zoom Reiki
Whether you’re working on the front lines, managing your kids’ virtual learning schedules or haven’t hugged a single soul since last March, the past year hasn’t exactly been relaxing. But there’s an unexpected silver lining: With social distancing protocols still in place, many Reiki studios are currently offering virtual sessions. Reiki is a Japanese therapy that cultivates healing energy, and while it is typically transferred from the practitioner to the patient through touch, distance Reiki has been around since long before Zoom was invented. Skeptical? We were, too. But Reiki has been proven in several promising scientific studies to be more effective than placebo. As for virtual Reiki, the jury is still out on how effective it is—but after the year we’ve had, we can use all the positive vibes we can get. Check out the NYC Reiki Center, Maha Rose Center for Healing or Reiki Traveler for rates and availability.
3. Self-care Is Health Care
Blame it on the rise of girlboss culture, but we’ve spent the last decade staying late at work, sleeping five hours a night, wolfing down dinner (aka stale brownies) at our desk and trying to #haveitall. Ugh. Now, we’re left with elevated blood pressure, sky-high cholesterol and cold symptoms that rear their heads at least once a month. It’s time to stop this vicious cycle and talk to your doctor before you get sick. First, ask for a full panel blood test. Your doc will recommend diet, exercise and lifestyle changes to get your numbers back on track and keep you from getting sick in the first place. If you do get sick, try over-the-counter Mucinex, so you can get the rest you need while managing your symptoms. (Just make sure your gameplan also includes a 6 p.m. quitting time and dinner with at least one veggie.)
4. Holistic Rest
Eight hours of sleep. OK. You get it. But did you know there are actually seven different types of rest you should be getting regularly? According to a popular TED Talk by Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D., physical rest (like sleeping or restorative yoga) is only scratching the surface. There’s also mental rest (try meditation), sensory rest (try turning all of the lights out in your office for ten minutes), creative rest (try singing and dancing while cooking dinner), emotional rest (try not agreeing to do any favors for anyone this week), social rest (try keeping your toxic roommate at a distance) and spiritual rest (try volunteering at a soup kitchen). And best of all, these rest sessions don’t have to take hours. Sometimes, you only need a minute of deep breathing to fully recharge and get back to business.
5. Tiktok Fitness
Another year, another failed New Year’s resolution. If you’re like us, you’ve been hanging sweatshirts on your Peleton for the last few months, and that celery you bought to make green juice in January is currently molding in the fridge. After the year we’ve had, it’s no wonder we’re having a tough time committing to a large goal. Instead, grab your phone and jump on TikTok. You’ll find tons of quick, free workouts that make staying fit so much easier (and way more fun). We’re huge fans of Apartment-Friendly Cardio with @blogilates, Glutes with @nellyfitnez and Abs with @addiehebert. Check them out, because we know you’re on TikTok right now anyway.
There are two types of people: Those who consider doing a ten-step beauty routine relaxing, and those who, um, don’t. If you’re in the first camp, by all means, continue using essences and balms and sheet masks and exfoliants and night creams. But if you’ve been looking for an excuse to ditch all that stuff, you’re going to love skinimalism, the new trend that says it’s totally OK to streamline your products and stick with as few products as possible. We love a three-step system: cleanse, tone and moisturize (with SPF, during the day). That’s it. Don’t overthink it—and while you’re at it, embrace your skin’s natural pores, lines and freckles.
7. Digital Detox
Whatever you do, don’t look at your phone’s screen time report. Yeah. It’s bad. Since most of the activities in our lives have gone virtual this year (work! yoga class! happy hour!), we’ve been spending more time than ever in front of a screen. If you’ve been feeling fatigued, getting headaches or just noticing an overall decline in your mood, it’s time for a digital detox. Write down a list of things you enjoy doing that don’t involve a computer, TV or phone. You might be into cooking, going to the park with your dog, running in the woods and window-shopping. Spend the weekend doing as many of these activities as possible (and as little time as you can looking at a screen). Repeat your digital detox once a month, or as often as you need to feel recharged.