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Self-Care Season

What Wellness Looks Like This Year

It’s self-care season: How can we prevent the winter blues?

My prescription for warding off wintertime sadness is to (a) take a daily vitamin D supplement and (b) book a beach vacation. If you’re already subscribing to the standard regimens of eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercising and spending quality time with people you love, you are well on your way to preventing feelings of sadness, low mood and low energy.

However, we all know that winter can drag on, negatively impacting our mental and emotional states, so it is crucial we find ways to enjoy the season instead of wishing it away. After all, complaining about the cold doesn’t make it any warmer outside.

Last February, I took a trip to Mexico with my husband and another couple. The resort we stayed at was divine, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect and I swore to myself I would continue the tradition of a luxury getaway each winter in order to reap the feel-good effects that seemed to linger for weeks after.

And it got me thinking about how I am going to fend off the winter blues this year. It wasn’t just the five days of Cancun bliss that perhaps both cured and prevented the winter blues. It was the several weeks of anticipation leading up to the trip, followed by the week-long (or more) high that followed afterward.

So, how can we freshen up our self-care routines this year? Through researching the upcoming wellness trends, I bring to you the self-care fads you will be seeing, and loving, this year. 

Digital Detox

According to SHAPE magazine, we are going to see a surge in digital detoxes. While I have been wanting to take the plunge in this area, I haven't yet. I can already see, and feel, the immediate effects that reducing screen time has, one of my favorite results being an increase in energy.

In an online SHAPE article published on December 14, 2023, the writers stated research from 2022 found that “cell phone usage was associated with negative effects on both physical and mental health, particularly in young people.” 

Reducing screen time (especially on our phones) will leave us feeling much better in body and mind.

Knockout Workouts

Also from SHAPE magazine, “knockout workouts” are projected to go more mainstream in 2024. What on earth is a knockout workout? According to SHAPE, these exercise routines include combat sports like karate, kickboxing and jiu-jitsu, “which not only provide an excellent cardio challenge but could also help clear your head.” 

A study from 2020 even concluded that martial arts training could help reduce adverse mental health symptoms.

Big Talk

“Big Talk” is more than just talking about your feelings. It refers to “deepening connections through meaningful conversation,” according to SHAPE.

So, think more availability in your communities centering around deeper, more meaningful conversations instead of fluffy, surface (and frankly, boring) talk. Because going straight into deep convo doesn’t exactly sound fun either, SHAPE thinks we may see a rise in products like conversation starter games and apps where questions are designed to help you and your partner or friends or even acquaintances share more meaningfully about your dreams, passions and values. 

Other self-care trends predicted this year include a surge in skincare and bodycare, slow travel, even more mocktails and, wait for it, badminton. That's right. What was once an uncool sports game in your sixth grade gym class is now popular.

Editors are touting badminton as "tennis's cuter, more accessible cousin," seeing as it is "an accessible, low-impact, highly social game," while wellness experts are seeing a rise in at-home aesthetics treatments for all skin—on your face and everything below your neck—as part of the bodycare movement.

Ashley is a wellness writer and fashion designer. Her work can be found on IG @ashelyalt_ and @valtbrand