Five Wellness Trends for 2023

Thanks to COVID, people all over the world have developed a new and growing appreciation for health and wellness. Three years after the pandemic first appeared, their appreciation is stronger than ever. More and more people are making a healthy lifestyle their priority and changing their habits accordingly. To discover the wellness trends that are having the most success right now, Life in the Finger Lakes collected ideas from The Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, NPR’s Life Kit (“tools to help you get it together”) and Chris Mandrino, owner of Project Lean Nation in Canandaigua. Here are just a few of the trends we uncovered.


1. A lifestyle-and-health focus on weight loss

        The body positivity movement and self-acceptance have gone a long way toward making weight goals more manageable and achievable. Instead of aiming for a specific number on a scale, people are vowing, for instance,  to add more vegetables to their diet, to eat fewer desserts, and to start exercising.

        Keeping weight off long-term comes from liking the lifestyle that helped you lose pounds in the first place. Instead of starving yourself on a fad diet, make changes that you actually enjoy and want to stick with over the long haul.


How to get started

        Mandrino said, “When we are trying to improve ourselves, the best approach is to start small and compound those small actions into something big. One of the first steps to develop a healthy habit is to start to identify yourself as the person with the healthy habits you want to achieve. You can then start making small changes, being flexible and adapting. Small changes compound, even though results aren’t immediately visible. Once those changes cross a critical threshold, change happens exponentially.”

        Being specific is key, he added. Phrases like, and I will start exercising and eating healthy is not specific enough. Instead, Mandrino recommends making commitments like these.

  • “I will start exercising tomorrow morning at X time at Y gym, and I will continue to go on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays.”
  • “I will follow X workout program or take Y fitness class.”
  • “For my nutrition, I will follow X plan.”

        He concluded: “Whatever good habit you’re trying to form, ask yourself how you can make it obvious, attractive, easy and satisfying.”


2. “Exercise snacks”

        No, they’re not Clif Bars. An exercise snack is doing a physical activity in a short bite of time, like taking a brisk 15-minute walk. If you have two 15-minute exercise snacks a day – a walk in the morning and another in the evening, for instance – you’ll reach the moderate-intensity, physical-activity-per-week guideline of 150 minutes recommended by the CDC. The goal is to raise your heart rate and make you sweat, which helps lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and more.

        If the thought of carving out 150 minutes each week for exercise prohibits you from getting up and moving, consider breaking the time down into daily exercise snacks instead.


5. CBT-I techniques

        We’ve all had nights when we couldn’t fall asleep no matter how desperately we tried. The sound of the ticking clock throughout the night only reminds us of how exhausted we are and the number of wakeful hours we’ve spent.

        Insomnia is a common sleep complaint, reports Johns Hopkins Medicine. About one in three adults has insomnia that lasts a few days at a time, while one in 10 suffers ongoing difficulty. Over-the-counter sleep aids or prescription sleeping pills have traditionally been the first line of defense, but the tide is shifting.

        Cognitive behavior therapy specifically designed for insomnia – CBT-I – has proven to be the most effective way to handle insomnia that lasts longer than three months. Unlike medications, CBT-I techniques that include relaxation training, meditation, hypnosis and self-hypnosis, biofeedback and breathing exercises help get to the root cause of sleeplessness, reports The Cleveland Clinic. The techniques help to change actions or thoughts that prevent sleep, and support habits that promote sleep. 

        CBT-I is not a quick fix, warns from the American Society of Sleep Medicine. It requires steady practice over time and lots of patience. But it’s worth it.


5. No social media

        If social media is not adding benefits to your daily life – if it’s not teaching you new skills, contributing to your experience or enhancing your mental health – then it may be time to move on.

        Social media has become so ingrained in our social culture that it’s considered addictive, making quitting difficult. If you’re not ready to break free entirely, consider curating who you follow and improving your newsfeed. Any time you can reduce your social media use is time well spent. Turn off your phone and focus on what’s in front of you.


3. Adaptogens

        These active ingredients in plants and mushrooms have been used and revered by cultures for centuries to help the body deal with stress, anxiety and fatigue. When you add adaptogens to other foods, you boost the health benefits of those foods, too.

        Here are nine herbs that have been identified as primary adaptogens by the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE).

Ashwagandha: a bitter Ayurvedic herb known as a rejuvenator.

Cordyceps: a bright orange, slender fungus that originates in the mountains of China.

Eleuthero: a small woody shrub, sometimes referred to as “Siberian ginseng.”

Ginseng: a root renowned for centuries in Chinese medicine to combat inflammation.

Holy basil: originating in India and known for its peppery taste in cooking.

Licorice: a root touted in Chinese medicine to combat adrenal fatigue.

Rhodiola: a golden root that grows in the Arctic and Northern European regions.

Schisandra: petite berries that contain sweet, salty, bitter, sour and pungent notes.

Shilajit: sticky, decomposed plant matter found in the rocks of the Himalayas.

        To incorporate adaptogens into your diet, add a small amount in powdered form to sweets. Powders are available in grocery and health food stores throughout the Finger Lakes and online from Amazon, Etsy and Walmart. A little goes a long way, notes ICE. “Most adaptogens are naturally bitter in flavor but do especially well if they’re partially masked in sweet applications.”

        Add chaga or reishi mushroom powder to your next hot chocolate, fudge or chocolate cake recipe, recommends ICE, or add them to flavored plant-based milks. “It’s fun and easy and can help you establish a daily routine. Find a few adaptogens that work for your lifestyle and rotate them for variety on a daily basis. They also pair effortlessly with add-ins like vanilla extract, maple syrup and Himalayan pink salt.”



Asking the Big Questions to Develop New Habits

Many of us have wondered at one time or another, “Why don’t I do what I say I’m going to do?” or “Why don’t I lose the weight or do something I’ve always wanted to do?” or even “Why so I say something is important, but never seem to make time for it?”  The answers to these personal queries can be answered somewhere in the four following questions.

When forming a new habit, we should ask ourselves

How can I make it obvious?

How can I make it attractive?

How can I make it easy?

How can I make it satisfying?

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