Updated: Sep 16, 2019
After decades of spending our hard earned cash on cigarettes, fast food and alcohol we have seen a seismic shift in consumer attitude. Those days of indulgence are behind us, long gone is our taste for tobacco (2018 saw 69% less released cigarettes than 1996) and we’ve started binning the booze (29% of 16-24 year olds described themselves as non-drinkers in 2015 compared to just 18% in 2005). This begs the questions of which vices are taking their place?Well, It would appear we’ve swapped cigarettes for celery sticks. A greater consciousness for our health has grown and grown so much that’s it’s pushed past being a mere trend and graduated to a collective attitude - wellness.
Where wellbeing describes the state of our health (be that physical and/or mental), wellness describes the behaviours and attitudes we enact in contribution to our general wellbeing. Understandably, this is a huge realm of behaviours which in turn translates into a multitude of industries, here are some we find positively fascinating.
Heard of it? Of course you have! It’s what recharges our minds and bodies, keeps our immune systems in check and even contributes to our level of attractiveness ;) Clearly sleep is an important part of our routines. With rising pressures of longer working hours, rocketing stress levels and countless gadgets and gizmos taking more of our attention, sleeping efficiently has been neglected. An entire 1/3 of Americans suffer from insomnia, a sleep disorder rendering a peaceful night hard to come by. That’s a huge number of people incapable of recharging sufficiently and keeping their minds and bodies tip top. Supposedly $63billion are lost each year in the US due to lack-of-sleep related loss of productivity. Naturally, this problem has produced a huge demand for sleep-aids. We’ve explored some of the non-medical options:
Sleeping under a weight has been proven to promote the release of serotonin (a neurotransmitter responsible for nice fuzzy feelings) and the reduction of cortisol (the stress hormone). Weighted blankets are a great way to improve sleep quality and feel like you’re getting a nice warm hug at the same time.
Attempts to improve our collective sleep quality has meant sleep being more accessible, even at work! Check out this blog by us that dives in deeper. (We even designed our own one!)
Tech imbued pillows, glowing lamps and AI bedtime stories are just some of the assistants sensitive sleepers are taking to in order to get those well earned winks.
Somnox - This pillow mimics your breathing pattern to keep it regulated whilst you kip.
Mind & Body
A huge aspect of the wellness movement is giving attention to the symbiosis between our minds and body. A healthy body promotes a healthy mind and vice versa, practices like yoga and meditation have been proof of this for millennia. Both meditation and yoga promote a mindfulness, an awareness of ourselves and the world around us, which is said to contribute to wellbeing in a multitude of ways from sleep to tackling mental health issues. Between 2012 and 2017 the number of Americans practising mediation rose from 4% to 14%, a huge increase showing how these practices have entered the mainstream. Access to them has also been reinvigorated, there’s no need to hunt out a master yogi or go on a meditative retreat to get up to scratch - the app market is inundated with various applications that offer walkthroughs, progress tracking and even allow you to communicate with other users and various communities.
The most recognisable name in the mindfulness market, the Headspace app has guided meditations covering every imaginable need. They have even teamed up with brands all over the world to increase the reach of mindfulness; Google, Amazon and Spotify to name a few. This accessibility has been a massive contributor to meditation entering the mainstream and being a subscription based service means it’ll only continue to grow judging by their signup and retention.
If you’ve eaten out in the past year or so, you will have noticed the growing vegetarian and vegan options on menus. In the UK, demand for meat-free food increased by 987% in 2017, veganism was dubbed as the biggest food trend in 2018 and continues to grow. A huge part of the holistic approach to wellness is understanding how we treat our bodies, the easiest way to determine how well we take care of ourselves is to turn to our diet. What we put inside our bodies has a direct effect on the way our bodies feel and work. A plant-based diet has been incredibly popular with ‘wellness warriors’ all over the planet, eradicating animal products from your diet excludes a lot of harmful substances only found in dairy and meat products, a cleaner diet means a cleaner body.
In a world where the general consensus was that vegan diets meant eating rabbit food and grass, Genesis came along and showed us how plant-based food can be as exciting and familiar as some of the world’s favourite bites. An organic fast-food style joint based in Shoreditch London, Genesis teams a stellar menu with wacky illustrations and hyper-instagrammable interiors. They’ve really nailed their audience, after all millennials are the most likely age group to give up eating animal products.
Other approaches within the industry look at making new products, or perfecting mediocre ones that have been around for a while. When someone says veggie sausages, quite often the first thought is ‘chewy cardboard’, THIS has changed the game. As far as meat-substitutes go, THIS have been revered ever since their launch earlier this year and can now even be found being used in restaurants like Patty&Bun and Chilango.
Encompassing so many different industries in itself, the wellness movement is bigger than the sum of its parts. As wellness becomes more prevalent in our daily lives, we can only speculate on how this industry is going to grow and adapt. Perhaps technology will allow incredible leaps in the maintenance of our wellbeing; scanners that immediately tell us which vitamins and minerals to stock up on, or a variety of sleeping pills that guarantee the number of hours you can be out for. As the attitudes wellness promotes become more normalised, further advances will only be more radical - could this be the dawn of biotech enhancements?