With the end of the year coming in about 5 hours, I wanted to look back to see which wellness trends caught my eye this year, and give predictions for wellness trends in 2022. I like having a yearly wrap-up, and I thought this would be a fun way to touch on all the things I never wrote a full article about. But y’all, this was no small feat. In 2021, there was a LOT of content, mainly spurred by the fact that many of us were still spending more time on our computers than we probably would otherwise.
Personally, this year was a lot — I moved states, started school (again), completed a few pretty tough workout programs thanks to Caroline Girvan, tried to have fun during a pandemic, and kept up with a lot of my goals. But it was still in a pandemic, and I’m writing this reeling from the destruction of hundreds of homes in my home state of Colorado.
Good 2021 Wellness Trends
Deleting Social Media
This isn’t really a wellness trend, but I was PSYCHED this year when the CEO of Lush deleted social media accounts, citing the negative impact social networks have on the mental health of teens.
I don’t think everyone needs to delete social media, but I’ve seen a massive improvement in my own mental health just from hitting the unfollow button on people whose “aspirational” posts instead end up making me feel like junk about themselves. While I’m not a fan of cleanses in general, a social media cleanse IS Girls Love Evidence-approved.
Earlier this year, a bra sizing TikTok went viral and everyone realized that they were wearing the wrong bra size. As someone who has been a bit of a bra-evangelist for sometime now, I am VERY HAPPY people are finally getting bras that don’t squash their boobs or cause pain. They’re for support, they shouldn’t cause pain!!! If you’re still curious, I wrote a bit about how to find your correct bra size here.
Maybe ok (?) 2021 Wellness Trends
What I Eat in a Day
I know these have been around for some time, but I feel like there’s been a SURGE of these on TikTok that has revitalized the genre. I don’t think the concept in itself is harmful, and I used to really enjoy these videos to see what people were eating and get ideas for my own cooking.
Unfortunately, a lot of these videos have turned into “how to get X body” and many of them revolve around models/influencer/TikTok personalities who eat waaaay too little.
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian who reviews some of these videos on YouTube, and she’s done a good job of calling attention to the fact that eating 1200 calories a day is unsustainable for nearly everyone, but these videos persist. I’d rather just watch a cooking show to get new ideas.
My sorority house in college had a chlorophyll water dispenser. It tasted horrible, and was the first time I had ever heard of it. When it blew up this year, I was a little grossed out to see people promoting it. The claims that it can boost immunity come from mice studies, and the claims it can treat bad breath are mostly reserved to people with a condition that causes fishy-smelling breath. It probably doesn’t do much for the average gal. All in all, it’s not harmful, but like many wellness trends, I have to ask… why?
Facial rolling has been popular for a few years, but this year, it exploded as a way to get a “snatched” model-like jawline. Loosely based on gua sha, a traditional Chinese medicine practice, facial rolling and jade scraping is reported to help improve lymphatic drainage in the face and decrease muscular pain. I couldn’t find anything to show that it would allow people to reshape their jawline.
There is some evidence for these benefits of gua sha, but learning from a TikTok might leave people in a bad spot. Pushing or pulling too hard on gentle skin can cause wrinkles or damage it. I don’t think it’s necessarily something to “leave in 2021” as it is based on an ancient practice, but it might be best to consult your doctor first.
Wellness Trends to Leave in 2021
Influencers lying about cosmetic/surgical procedures
I don’t think there’s anything inherently bad about plastic surgery or cosmetic procedures. I have tried a few different non-surgical procedures (CoolSculpting and Zerona — unfortunately, the only thing they slimmed down was my wallet.) I’ve also had laser hair removal and microbladed my eyebrows. Earlier this year, I considered undereye filler to get rid of dark circles, but I’ve since decided against it after learning about filler migration.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with adults electing to do these things to change what they’re not happy with, as long as they know the risks. That said — the number of people lying about their BBLs and claiming that it’s just squats is getting ridiculous.
When people purchase fitness plans made by those whose butt was made in an operating room but say it was made in the gym, that’s a problem. There are a few people calling attention to how much this happens, such as @igfamousbydana on Instagram, but it is really all over the place and it’s disappointing.
It’s silly and unethical to sell something and claim that it got you certain results when those results came from something completely different. There is a stigma around plastic surgery that we should remove, but part of removing it is being honest about what a realistic body looks like, and what is only attainable via surgery. LEAVE IT IN 2021.
Un-scientific Birth Control Hate
I have seen so many health and wellness influencers talk about the negative effects of birth control with absolutely zero scientific evidence to back it up. Trust me, I know that not all birth control works for everyone. I’ve been on 4 different types in my life and some have had some negative side effects. But this is something to discuss with your doctor, not someone who is also selling fit tea.
Please, let’s leave this wellness trend in 2021.
I wrote a few blogs for the start-up Adyn Health that might interest you if you want to learn more about birth control.
- Your Hormones and Hormonal Birth Control: What You Should Know
- Beyond Pregnancy Prevention: Other Reasons for Hormonal Birth Control
Again, this has been around for a while, but it had a bit of a renaissance this year. For those who aren’t familiar, this is kind of the Joe Rogan podcast of fitness plans — the few good aspects are overshadowed by the insufferable bro-yness. Basically, you work out at least twice a day for 45 minutes, follow a strict diet plan with no cheat meals, drink a gallon of water a day, read 10 pages of entrepreneur non-fiction, and take progress photos every day for 75 days.
There are so many not-scientific things here that I’m not sure where to start, but in the interest of time, here are some links because I always have the receipts.
- Rest days are important
- Calling food “cheat” food and keeping things off-limits triggers disordered eating behavior
- There isn’t a benefit to drinking that much water except for more pee
- Taking progress photos every day is a good way to get your emotions to swing up and down because of the variance in weight over time
Reading is good, but forcing yourself to read for 75 days (just like forcing yourself to exercise or do this program) is unlikely to build a habit long-term and will have minimal effect. There are better ways to work out and eat healthily. And there are better nonfiction books to read.
I know this seems kind of ridiculous to put next to other “trendy” things, but I think a lot of people underestimate the ability of blogs and cutesy Instagrams to spread harmful information.
I could discuss why people shouldn’t take horse dewormer or why choosing to remain unvaccinated is a harmful and inconsiderate decision, but I think people who have been sucked into COVID misinformation are unlikely to change their minds based on this post. All I can do is put out good vibes and mythbust the ridiculousness when I see it.
My Hopes for Wellness Trends in 2022
In 2022, I’m hoping that wellness trends are science-based and not based on harmful beauty standards. Some suggestions for the powers that be:
- Sleep 8 Hours a Night Challenge
- What I Learned in a Day (with citations)
- Treat Other People With Kindness Challenge
Regardless of whether my wishes for wellness trends in 2022 come true, I know that we have a lot to look forward to and a lot to learn. Thank you to everyone who has read my blog this year and see you next year!