These Are The Wellness Trends To Watch For In 2023
Hint, hint: It’s time to go back to basics.
Every year, wellness trends seem to change — and they can be indicative of our environments. Take the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, when so many of us were stuck indoors for much of 2020 and 2021, putting Peloton bikes and meditation apps in high demand. While in 2022, everyone seemed to be out and about again, so things like forest bathing and more communal forms of fitness, like running clubs and local sports leagues, were on the rise again. But one thing remains the same: The top of a new year is always a great time to bring people back to their bodies and minds in one way or another.
“With each new year, wellness is the overarching focus of resolutions,” Sarah Koszyk, registered dietitian nutritionist and co-founder of wellness company MIJA, tells TZR. “And I think we’ve been primarily thinking of new habits — such as enrolling in a new gym membership or trying a new class — that we don’t give enough space for consideration of the habits we have, and that could be improved upon. I hope people realize there is no silver bullet, and wellness comes from foundational decisions we make every day.”
That said, there’s no harm in trying something new, right? Ahead, experts across various wellness areas weigh in about what trends they foresee for 2023, whether it’s the rise in sober curiosity and living an alcohol-free lifestyle, plant-based alternatives to, well, everything, or trying out cooling and heating treatments, like infrared saunas and ice baths. At the end of the day, it’s all about what works best for you, of course. But the expert-given wellness trends below are a great place to start.
Alcohol-Free Is The Way To Be
“In a time where people with dietary preferences, ranging from plant-based options to gluten-free ones, have several choices, it should be just as easy for those who are alcohol-free to have a choice,” Laura Taylor, founder and chief mingle officer of Mingle Mocktails, tells TZR. “Alcohol-free cocktails are a better-for-you option for anyone looking for an alternative to alcohol.” And, these days, there are several places to find mocktails and non-alcoholic options — sober curious products, brands, and establishments are on the rise like never before.
“Research shows that around 40% of Americans don’t drink, and we need to acknowledge and support anyone who chooses to be alcohol-free for a night — or as a lifestyle choice,” Taylor says. Plus, there are many health benefits that come from not drinking alcohol, she says, including: no hangovers; feeling more energetic; feeling less anxious and happier (since alcohol is a depressant); getting better sleep; clearer skin; better cognitive functioning (and remembering your night vs. blacking out); and having a better immune system overall.
“This not-drinking movement has decreased the stigma associated with alcoholism by making ‘sober curious’ (or being ‘sober’) acceptable — as opposed to something to feel ashamed of,” says Taylor. If you’re on the fence, or cannot imagine not drinking, Taylor says just give it a try. “You’ve got nothing to lose but the hangover.”
Going Back To Fitness Basics
“I feel the trend of 2023 is going back to fitness basics and mastering them,” Ashley Borden, master personal trainer, transformation specialist, and FitBiz Coach, tells TZR. “I think the past couple years created a lot of people doing ‘TikTok fitness’ — piecing together moves they see in videos — and now they realize they need comprehensive training programs to actually see strength and physique changes.”
She says while trying new movements and cutting-edge fitness modalities is fun and stimulating, make sure you can master the basics (pull, push, squat, deadlift) before you start layering in fancy, complicated, and dynamic TikTok or Instagram movements. (For example, Borden’s FitBiz program offers a four-week online course to help people master their form.) Otherwise, you risk doing more damage than good.
Plant-Based Alternatives Galore
“In 2023, there will continue to be a push for more plant-based products and ‘meats,’” Jovanka Ciares, integrative herbalist, nutrition coach, and author, tells TZR. “Food manufacturers are getting better and better at creating plant-based alternatives, and more and more fast food restaurants are embracing the trend, too.” “Burgers,” “chicken” nuggets, and “steaks” can all be found in plant form versus meat form, she explains. Mushrooms, chickpeas, and beans are some of the key ingredients of these products. However, they shouldn’t necessarily be consumed every day, as they are very processed, Ciares adds.
She also thinks medicinal mushrooms will continue to trend, and rightfully so. “Medicinal mushrooms, like lion’s mane, are good to promote cognitive development,” Ciares says. And certain ones promote specific health benefits — oyster mushrooms are good for metabolism and immunity while shitaki are good for general longevity, she says.
For example, you can get mushroom coffee that contains both mushrooms and actual coffee, but then the goal would be to switch to a mushroom-based coffee alternative. That way, you can feel the benefits from the mushrooms without experiencing the potential drawbacks (like jitters) from the coffee element.
How to get better sleep seems to be a big market — you can take sleep gummies, drink sleep-promoting teas, switch up your mattress and pillow, practice better sleep hygiene (practices to promote better sleep, like going to bed at the same time every night), and even get an alarm clock, like a Hatch Restore, that has a sunrise effect to help wake you up with light therapy.
“Patient and consumer awareness of sleep — and its role in our lives — has expanded greatly, with more and more patients learning about sleep and raising more questions about it,” Dr. Peter Polos, MD, sleep medicine specialist and sleep expert for Sleep Number, tells TZR in an email. “Another major factor driving the trend is the adoption of technology by the public,” Polos says. “The technology runs from wearable devices to built-in tracking capabilities in Smart Beds (like Sleep Number’s), for example. Many people have made technology part of their daily lives and use the data to guide them on numerous aspects of their activities.”
As for good “sleep health” it is determined by the duration and regularity of our sleep times, along with our quality of sleep, Polos explains. “The recommended duration of sleep is seven to eight hours a night for adults 18 and up,” he says. He adds that “quality” is, in part, subjective, and it is determined by the satisfaction, or dissatisfaction, we feel after we sleep. It can be objectively assessed, as well, by determining the cycles of sleep, continuity of sleep, and heart and respiratory parameters.
For practicing better sleep hygiene, Polos suggests: maintaining a consistent sleep routine with the same sleep and wake times (every day of the week); sleeping in a dark, quiet, and cool environment (67 to 69 degrees Fahrenheit); making sure your bed and pillow are comfortable and support you head to toe (an adjustable bed may help with this); avoiding caffeine and alcohol a few hours before bed; avoiding or removing bright screens from the sleep environment (including TVs, cell phones, tablets, and computers), as screens can delay sleep onset; engaging in mild exercise no less than three to four hours before bedtime; and using relaxation techniques, like listening to calming music, a meditation, or doing breathing techniques.
Cold & Heat Therapies
“Water and heat modalities are a relatively easy way to reduce stress, and people are embracing them more and more,” Ciares says. “Hot or cold therapy can help you get rid of achy muscles and get in touch with your body overall. And they do not require you to have access to a sauna or steam room.”
While some people go to Korean spas or to steam rooms at their local gym or wellness center, others go to natural hot springs or get a portable infrared sauna blanket to use from the comfort of their home, like HigherDOSE. (Kate Hudson is a fan!) Ciares says you can also take long, steamy showers infused with essential oils, or baths infused with essential oils. And yet other people do ice baths, soaking in a tub of ice or using a more formal one elsewhere.
“Hydrotherapy has many health benefits: it reduces inflammation, increases immune support, and is all-around great for the body and mind,” Ciares says. “Water therapy has been around thousands of years, and many athletes use both cold and hot therapies.”
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic, our society as a whole has started to realize what mental health professionals have always known: ‘mental health is wealth,’” Keischa Pruden, therapist and owner of Pruden Counseling Concepts, tells TZR. “Many people have also realized the connection between mental wellness and physical wellness. Moving into 2023, whole wellness will be a major trend as we attempt to return to some sense of normalcy and reclaim our lives in a healthy way, mind and body.”
She says maintaining good mental health is important because our mind is in charge of many aspects of our lives, even our physical health. “Studies have shown that improving your mindset, such as through mental fitness, can have a positive impact on physical illnesses/symptoms,” she says. “In addition, some symptoms of mental health issues have physical components. “Signs a person may not be prioritizing their mental health could present as increased irritability, decreased sleep, increased anxiety, decreased productivity at work, increased isolation from family and friends, and increased feelings of sadness/anxiety, among other things. So maintaining a good mental outlook can positively influence every aspect of our lives.”
Pruden says seeking professional assistance to help deal with emotional issues is definitely a helpful avenue to pursue, especially with so many online therapy options these days, too, both through individual therapists and platforms like BetterHelp.
“It is very important to remove the stigma around mental health, and receive help, because stigma keeps people in emotional bondage, ultimately leading to increased emotional instability and sometimes dire results,” Pruden explains. “When a person is experiencing a mental health crisis, they often feel alone in their feelings. But reaching out for help lets them know they are not alone in their struggles and there is help available.”