Wellness trends I tried in 2020 – and would I do them again?

Wellness as a concept has been around for many years now. From yoga to yoni eggs, we’ve seen a myriad of different trends emerge in the pursuit of optimum health.

This has only heightened in 2020 as we face a global pandemic, sky-high stress levels, and social isolation like never before. No wonder we’re obsessed with looking for the one wellness hack we’ve been missing, something that will change the game and leave us feeling expertly balanced.

With much more awareness about the wellness industry (and plenty of time to spare), I spent the past year dabbling in all manner of wellness trends, curious to see if I could be transformed into a serene, glowing, Victoria’s Secret model with the ability to manifest at the drop of a hat.

Some worked, some didn’t, but all were good content.

Floatation tanks

After hearing multiple friends rave about the calming and grounding benefits of floatation and sensory deprivation tanks, I had to check it out.

You lay in a small pod, suspended and floating in highly salted water with no sound, smell, tastes, light – no sensory stimulation whatsoever. It’s meant to be a welcome break from our fast-paced society and bring you back to a more balanced and neutral state. Sounds great, right?

What if I told you that multiple people told me they experienced hallucinations, heard voices, cried, and had life-changing epiphonies whilst in the tank?

Yeah, I definitely had to check that out.

There are a few rules you need to follow before your float, such as: no caffeine, no strong perfumes, no sunburn, don’t float after shaving or waxing, must notify them of health conditions etc. The idea is that anything that will produce a physical sensation that may distract or simulate you, is barred in the tank.

I was prepared to feel scared and claustrophobic whilst in the pod, but I was oddly fine. More than anything, I simply felt restless and bored which I credit to my ADHD. I was also expecting to feel blissful, grounded, and hyper-aware of stimuli post-float, but I didn’t notice any changes.

Floatations long-term benefits are supposedly unlocked after two-three sessions so it’s something I may try again in the future, but I’m not in any rush.

Juicing and detoxing

Okay, I know I’m at least five years late to the party on this one. I remember asking for a Nutri-Bullet before leaving for university back in 2014, but it remained pretty untouched until earlier this year when I decided to give the whole celery juice trend a go.

I prefer to chuck all my fresh fruits and veggies in the blender with a bit of water or coconut water, and knock it back with the fibre and all. It feels like cheating to discard all the pulpy goodness that actually contains most of the health benefits.

I began juicing more regularly towards the middle of the year and throughout the end of 2020 as I committed to working out more and watching my diet in general. It was awesome as a cool, sweet refreshment after a gruelling jog or weights session, and it was an easy way to ensure I was hitting my fruits and vegetable intake everyday.

Any combination of leafy greens, celery, lemon/lime, cucumber, ginger, green apple, and perhaps some watermelon or pineapple was an absolute treat on a hot day.

Whilst I can’t attribute any specific changes in my weight, skin, energy, or health back to juicing in particular, it’s easy to do and it feels good so it’s going to stay.

Wim Hof and icy swims

The Wim Hof method exploded into mainstream wellness following the Goop Lab docuseries, where it was previously a far more niche practice. The breathing techniques supposedly allow you to completely master your own nervous system so you can bathe in icy water without flinching.

Living on the coast, there’s no shortage of health and wellness enthusiasts and I found a trained practitioner who holds a weekly Wim Hof session before a 6:00 am swim in the sea.

Whilst doing the breathing felt extremely dizzy and lightheaded – and freezing cold throughout the session itself. I do have to admit though, the water felt absolutely fine and nowhere near as cold as it usually does.

A fellow wellness-enthusiast friend had also tried the Wim Hof sessions, and we both incorporated icy-cold sunrise swims into our regular schedule.

The combination of an early wake-up call, a cold shock to the system, getting into nature, and soaking up the morning sun was an absolute game-changer for productivity and energy throughout the day.

I definitely would recommend the early morning swims, and perhaps the Wim Hof if you’re curious. I’ll continue to try the breathwork sessions in the future, and they definitely don’t hurt – but the sunrise swim followed by a coffee with a mate is honestly the best way to start your day.

Couch to 5k

When lockdown hit I became one of those annoying people who had never run before in their life, yet decided now was the perfect time to start.

I was actually an avid runner as a kid, but lost my fitness over the years as work, university, and various excuses got in the way. More recently, I fantasised about being a chic Bondi chick who jogs every morning, drinks lemon water, and has a seemingly permanent blow-out. Oh, and running a marathon before 30.

First, the pandemic hit and I began working from home. It seemed like an excellent opportunity to get outside, soak up the sun, and stay fit without needing a gym or splurging on exercise equipment. Then I was made redundant, and I had all the time in the world and no excuses not to really give it my best shot.

I’d heard great things about Couch to 5k, and decided to give it a go because I thrive with specific instructions and challenges. It gives you three workouts a week, increasing in difficulty until you ultimately hit 5km. The first few workouts are simple intervals (walk one minute, run one minute) until you hit the big 5km. Once I reached 5km I bought the extension app, Couch to 10km.

They were each truly fantastic and cheap programs, that made running feel very simple. I now run three times a week without an app, and my next goal is to get my 10km down to under an hour (now currently at 72 minutes).

Would I do it again? Technically no, for the simple reason that they worked so well that I’ve graduated onto different running goals. Would I recommend them? Absolutely, 100%, an emphatic YES.

Essential oils

This is a bit of an iffy one. Do I believe that oils should be used in place of medical intervention, can cure illnesses, and are going to save us against Big Pharma? No. Do I believe that some oils and plants have beneficial properties? Sure.

Spending so much time inside this year, I picked up an oil diffuser to help with the ambiance of my bedroom/office/yoga studio/TV room/snack station. My picks were lavender, eucalyptus, sweet orange, and rose.

I believe that lavender is calming and eucalyptus can unblock your nose, and that frankly – orange and rose just smell nice. But I also believe that essential oils are often peddled in problematic MLM form, use manipulative and predatory messaging, and make blatantly false claims.

Would I try again? Sure, I constantly get compliments about how nice my room smells. Go ahead and pick up some scents because they make you feel relaxed, invigorated, or you just like the smell. But please, don’t replace your antibiotics with clove essential oil.

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