Productivity Get a Jump on 2021 Wellness Goals with These Mind-Body Tools

by Amelia Mularz | January 29, 2021

Before you look ahead to wellness in 2021, it’s worth looking back at 2020 — a year in which so many learned that well-being and resourcefulness go hand-in-hand.

People made dumbbells out of water bottles, transformed living rooms into meditation studios and reimagined backyards as bootcamp training grounds. And, after a year filled with WOFH (working out from home), you’d think the future of wellness would look pretty, well, solitary.

But that’s not the case. Community — whether that means seeking culturally diverse resources or understanding where our food comes from — remains a top priority, according to those in the fitness and wellness world.

Three experts — an owner of a Pilates brand; a plant-based public health specialist and wellness writer; a founder of a whole-hemp product line — offer tips on the mind-body tools to help keep you healthy and connected in 2021.

At-home workouts

“I think there is a new hybrid for the fitness and wellness world with respect to in-person and home workouts,” says Aryan Rashed, CEO and owner of the Miami-based Pilates brand TREMBLE. Rashed notes that safety and convenience are key, but so is community.

“Ultimately, people want to be connected with other people, and I’ve seen so much creativity, growth, innovation and collaboration to make it happen at home, outdoors, or safely in person. I think this hybrid will continue to be a permanent change in the fitness world and culture,” she shares.

Subscription fitness platform services are evolving to give people more options wherever they work out. ClassPass recently added live-stream workouts, fully embracing the hybrid lifestyle that Rashed describes. That means you can live in London and stream a yoga class taught in Los Angeles.

For Chelsea Williams, a wellness expert who specializes in plant-based eating, ClassPass is a preferred subscription service because of its variety in offerings. “I never have to select the same class twice, which challenges my mind, body and spirit,” says Williams.

Obé, another platform for live and on-demand classes, has found a way to fuse fitness with socializing with recently launched Workout Parties. Invite up to seven workout buddies to join you on screen as you break a sweat together.

Woman running

While exercise classes have become high-tech, trends in gear have gone retro. Ankle and wrist weights — long considered a relic of 1980s aerobics classes — are back. Rashed is a fan of Bala Bangles, one- or two-pound bracelet-like weights that are meant to be worn during exercise for added resistance. “They’re so versatile and easy to pack,” she says. “Plus, you can incorporate them for a full-body workout.” For even more strengthening, Bala introduced a 10-pound Power Ring last summer.

Mills Miller, founder of Austin, TX-based whole-hemp brand Mineral, says his go-to gear includes Feiyue shoes, which date back 100 years (how’s that for fitness nostalgia?). In 1920s China, monks and kung fu masters wore these kicks for flexibility, traction and comfort. Miller says, “I’m either barefoot or in these for my movement practice. They’re ideal for capoeira, gymnast-style strength training and meditation.”

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While exercise classes have become high-tech, trends in gear have gone retro.
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As at-home workouts and remote working continue for many into 2021, it's only natural to combine the two. Under-desk ellipticals, such as the Cubii Pro or DeskCycle, let you get your steps in without leaving your computer.

Self-care for the mind

Beyond physical fitness, both Rashed and Williams point to apps and podcasts geared toward mental well-being as top tools. And just as there is an increase in at-home resources for keeping muscles in shape, the same is true for keeping minds in tune, too.

Rashed recommends Headspace for guided meditation. The app soothes subscribers with themed meditations (zeroing in on focus, stress or sleep) in varying lengths, some as short as 60 seconds. Plus, it offers meditation and mindfulness activities for kids, including customized sessions for three different age groups.

And while plenty of apps include a free trial, Insight Timer offers a collection of 70,000 meditations that are always free. You will find celebrity-led sessions, insightful talks and calming music here, too.

For Williams, listening to a favorite podcast, Balanced Black Girl, is a form of self-care. “I get tips from Black women wellness experts on topics including self-help, dating, stress and boundary setting,” Williams notes. And if you’re looking for emotional release, she promises that it “will keep you laughing and crying."

Another podcast that’s plugged into emotional well-being is Ten Percent Happier, an ABC Audio Podcast with Dan Harris, who also wrote the book 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge and Found a Self-Help That Actually Works. Each episode explores the many facets of happiness with guests that include meditation practitioners, psychologists, researchers and the occasional celebrity.

Is it mental acuity you’re after? Tap into the abundance of memory games and daily puzzles available online or via apps. Or, try Lumosity, a brain-training program that promises to improve memory, increase focus and help you feel sharper — all from the comfort of your couch.

Conscious grocery shopping

More time at home this year means more cooking, and, as Miller points out, understanding where your food comes from is a major component of overall wellness. “It’s absolutely crucial you know the name of the person that grows your vegetables and harvests your meat,” he notes.

Thankfully, it’s more convenient than ever to get your greens from a nearby grower, even if you can’t make it to a farmer’s market. WhatsGood is an app that connects shoppers across the country with local farmers, chefs and artisans in their communities. Once you’ve shopped, you can have your order delivered or arrange a pickup.

Eating well doesn't mean you will be overspending on groceries every month, either. Thrive Market is a membership-based online grocery store that specializes in organic foods at discount prices, priding itself on sustainable sourcing and carbon-neutral shipping.

Williams, who is a member, says, “I can shop for my favorite organic, plant-based, gluten-free, and soy-free pantry staples at wholesale price, and get a contactless delivery straight to my door. Shop by values, such as raw, glyphosate residue-free, non-GMO, BIPOC-owned and more.” Plus, for each annual membership purchased, Thrive Market gives one to a family in need.

Woman Unpacks Online Home Food Delivery

Holistic healing

Few evenings out in the coming months may also mean swapping out old standbys from makeup bags (we're looking at you, red lipstick) in favor of skin-soothing products. And that’s where holistic healing — or alternative treatments, often with an emphasis on plant-based products — comes in.

“Maskne,” or blemishes caused by wearing a mask, has only recently entered our vocabulary and already there’s a product for it. Untamed Humans’ Mask Relief Mist is meant to combat clogged pores with its blend of natural extracts.

Further afield on the holistic front, wellness professionals are connecting virtually with clients, much like fitness trainers. Williams recommends WellSet for its network of over 33,000 wellness practitioners, including experts in more niche areas, such as craniosacral therapy and Ayurvedic medicine. “I love that WellSet has a diverse list of healthcare practitioners who deliver culturally competent services, building trust,” says Williams.

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Wellness professionals are connecting virtually with clients, much like fitness trainers.
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With thoughtful products and creative solutions, there is bound to be something for everyone when it comes to supporting mind and body health. And, with the growing number of virtual sessions on offer, you will have even more access to experts and a wider wellness community in the year ahead.

Amelia Mularz

is a Los Angeles-based writer and proud owner of a pair of ankle weights. Her work has appeared in Well+Good, Harper's BAZAAR and Los Angeles Magazine.