January is here, and chances are your New Year’s Day hangover is making you think it’s time to detox your life and overhaul your health.
After weeks of Quality Street, mulled wine and turkey with all the trimmings, both your body and your mind could likely do with a reboot.
And you’re not the only one thinking that way. According to Fentiman’s Market Report 2023, 70% of Brits are trying to lead a healthy lifestyle, which is a 6% increase on last year.
So how should we be planning to achieve this? We asked the experts for their tips on the health and wellbeing trends we’ll all be trying over the next 12 months – and, thankfully, there’s not a green juice in sight…
We’ll be indulging in “healthy hedonism” – AKA enjoying a high without a hangover – this year, thanks to wellness festivals like LoveFit, Soul Circus and Verve.
“People still want to party, but as they become more aware of the importance of mental and physical health, they are gravitating away from that being the sole focus and realising that a blend of experiences – including adventure, movement and connections with other festival goers – is key to having a good time,” says Theo Larn-Jones, founder of Love Trails Festival, which combines running and music.
“Fitness festivals bring all of this together in one setting, so you leave feeling completely reset and energised.”
It looks like we’ll be skipping busy breaks in favour of holidays that revolve around mind, body and soul – from mindfulness and meditation getaways to silent retreats, according to Booking.com.
“With so many of us experiencing increasing levels of burnout at work, and numbness due to information overload, a holiday that swaps lots of activities for one that strips things back to basics can leave you with a longer-lasting sense of fulfilment and calmness,” says travel writer Emma Thomson, author of Quiet Escapes.
“It’s a simple and effective antidote to the incessant thrum and clatter of our busy lives.”
We’re set to slow down this year with old-fashioned hobbies, such as cross stitch, sewing and colouring, for a mental wellbeing boost. Check out Tom Daley’s Instagram account @Madewithlovebytomdaley for knitting inspo.
“Crafting hobbies are an incredible antidote to screens, terrifying news stories and financial stress,” says mindfulness expert Neil Seligman.
“Crafts bring us back to our hands and senses. They are tactile, drawing our focus and slowing us down. They soothe our stresses and land the mind in the present moment.”
Already a fan of manifesting? Then you’ll be loving the trend for vision boards in 2023. They’re currently all over TikTok (6.9bn views) and Instagram (1m posts).
“Manifesting is setting the intention and taking action when you know what you want already.
A vision board – a collection of photos, quotes and words that resonate with you – helps focus on goals and aspirations in the first place,” says Vanessa Buck, founder of Vision Boards For All.
“A vision board helps you gain clarity, experience lightbulb moments and reconnect with purpose and passion.
It is a great daily reminder of what you want to attract in life, prompting you to take action and stay connected.”
Instead of “Turkey teeth” and sparkling veneers, this year we’ll be focusing on all-round oral health – and the tongue is taking centre stage.
“Tongue scraping is an ancient ayurvedic practice that will become more commonplace, thanks to growing social media interest,” says Payal Bhalla, dentist and clinical director of Quest Dental.
“Benefits include the prevention of bad breath, gum disease and cavities, as well as improved taste and appearance.
Place your scraper – plastic, steel or copper – at the back of your tongue and run it to the front three or four times using light pressure.
Rinse the scraper between scrapes and swish your mouth out with water afterwards.”
Pressure on the NHS is sadly set to continue, so it’s on us to take charge of our health and do all we can to protect it.
At-home checks, like Bupa’s Be.Healthy At Home, which covers BMI, blood pressure, flexibility and more, are set to soar in popularity – and tech is making it possible.
Taran Toor, director of wellness innovation at Holland & Barrett says: “Wellness tech is going to get increasingly personalised as people become more aware that age, sex, infection history and genetics can affect the immune system, while food, sleep, stress and microbiome health can support our immune responses.
It will be all about using health data for optimum health, from patches tracking dietary biomarkers to using carbon levels in the breath to determine metabolic function.”
Ok = Enough
Gratitude is going to be bigger than ever. “We’re all tired of the hamster wheel that is self-improvement, so ‘self-settling’ will be a big trend in 2023, as a way to regain a sense of internal control,” says Dr Meg Arroll, chartered psychologist at Healthspan.
“We’ve been through a period of chronic stress – we don’t need to put additional pressure on ourselves. We’ll see a huge resurgence in appreciating ourselves and the little things in life.
Practise positive affirmations, daily self-gratitude, let go of self-imposed, unrealistic expectations and embrace the ‘less is more’ approach. This year is going to be about ‘OK-ness.’”
Download the Gratitude app to help log your daily wins – it’s even got a vision board section, too, for a double-whammy.
The humble mushroom is small but mighty – and having a moment. Mushroom-based supplements, extracts and drinks (we’ve even seen mushroom teabags!) are going to be just about everywhere this year, and we’ll be eating them more than ever.
“Mushrooms are versatile, relatively cheap, quick to prepare, and cook, and taste great. They also contain a wide variety of nutrients, including vitamins D and B – vital for bone health and cell function,” says nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert, founder of Rhitrition+. “
A great way to bulk out meals, they add extra fibre, plus you can grow them at home.”
Looking after your gut is going to be top of the health agenda in 2023. Around 43% of Brits suffer from some sort of digestive discomfort,* while 10-20% are plagued by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
This year will finally see scientists racing to develop therapies that could help – the University of Melbourne is investigating the role stem cells could play, while the University of Auckland is working on non-invasive screening tools to better assess gut function.
“We now know that gut health impacts our mental health, immunity, inflammation, skin and other areas of our bodies,” says Sophie Medlin, director and specialist dietitian at CityDietitians.
“Given the cost of living crisis, we will see people looking for practical and cost-free tips to take care of their gut health.
“Things like keeping the skin on vegetables such as butternut squash and potatoes for more fibre, making beef mince go further by adding beans and pulses, which also feed your good bacteria, and fermenting vegetables that would otherwise be thrown away. And all of these are simply fantastic for your microbiome.”
This year might just be your sexiest yet, as sexual pleasure is becoming a priority when it comes to wellbeing.
So keep your eyes peeled for sex toys being sold alongside beauty products and vitamins in a range of stores – check out Boots and Holland & Barrett.
Similarly, be sure to look out for retreats dedicated to helping people discreetly delve into fetishes and kinks going mainstream.
“We are living in a great time, where we are openly talking about sex, whether that be from watching a documentary on Netflix or attending a sex education workshop,” says sex therapist and confidence coach Erica Storm.
“To explore your sexual desires without shame is accepting your whole self, which is a huge part of wellbeing.
It’s why learning how to be sexually confident has a domino effect outside the bedroom.” Check out Shaktitantra.co.uk for entry-level workshops, whether you’re solo or in a couple.
2023’s Health Buzzwords To look Out For
Circadian eating: Opting for an earlier, lighter meal, rather than a heavy one before bed, to aid digestion and sleep.
Bite-size workouts: Breaking up fitness into manageable, more appealing, mini sessions throughout the day.
Emotional detoxing: Cleansing yourself of toxic thoughts by creating time and space to process emotions.
Nootropics: Natural and synthetic supplements said to boost brain function.
Be real: Expect more conversation around photo-editing and use of filters on social media.
The top Books, Apps & Podcasts For 2023
Discover all kinds of practical tips for better controlling your habits and, like it says on the tin, feel better in just two months!
This self-care manual is “the busy person’s guide to pausing with purpose”, and explains how you can reset in just one minute. No excuses then.
Noom: Health& Weight: Keen to slim down in a sustainable, healthy way? Noom isn’t about dieting – instead the app uses science and advice tailored to you to help you shed pounds and keep the weight off in the long-term.
The Imperfect Nutritionist by Jennifer Medhurst (£25, Kyle Books) out February 2: Jennifer outlines her seven principles for healthy eating in this book that encourages you to make healthy choices, not just cut out the foods you love. That way, you feel empowered more than disheartened – and we are very much on board with that!
Love a to-do list? Streaks is a lists app designed to help you set – and stick to – 12 healthy goals and habits, from getting your steps in every day to eating well. Every time you complete a goal, you add to your streak.
TikToker and gynaecologist Dr Allison Rodgers explains everything kids and adults need to know about vaginas, including periods, fertility, sex, consent and much, much more in this handy, no-nonsense guide.
Listen in to chart-topping singer-songwriter Will as he tackles health topics he believes need more airtime, including money worries and mental health, chronic pain and cold water swimming. Now’s the time to catch up on season one while we wait for its follow-up to land.
What’s Wrong With Me? 101 Things Midlife Women Need To Know by Lorraine Candy (£16.99, Fourth Estate) out May 25: Packed with case studies from women aged 40-60, with plenty of personal anecdotes thrown in for good measure, journalist Lorraine is on a seemingly unstoppable mission to help us live midlife to the max (thank goodness!).
Feeling tired all of the time? Download this clever little app to find out if you’re actually getting the sleep you need. Not only will it track your Zzzs, analyse the quality, and give you tips on how to get better sleep, it will even wake you up when you’re at your most rested.
The Health Trends we should Leave behind In 2022
Health journalist and personal trainer Lucy Gornall knows to often turn a blind eye to the weird and wonderful health and wellness trends that make the headlines.
Here, she reveals the trends that went viral in 2022, but should swiftly be forgotten!
Lemon and coffee are two words that simply don’t belong in the same sentence. Yet here we are, watching TikTokers put lemon juice in their java as a means of burning fat.
Lemon juice has been hailed in the past for its ability to boost a sluggish metabolism, while coffee – or more specifically caffeine – has also been praised for its supposed weight loss capabilities. But I can tell you right now, a lemon coffee will not help you lose weight.
Cucumber and sugar
Supposedly, dipping cucumber in sugar creates a watermelon-like flavour. As with many strange trends, the #cucumberwithsugar hashtag made waves on TikTok.
Chemistry is to blame for this flavour creation. Cucumber and watermelon come from the same plant family and contain similar compounds that, when mixed with sugar, create a similar taste. As for why people are dunking cucumber in sugar, who knows?
But if it’s to make cucumbers taste better, surely it’s better to find a vegetable you enjoy eating – or, you know, just eat some watermelon…
The saltwater flush
Struggling to go? That’s what the saltwater flush (or #saltflush) is said to be good for. Upon waking, people are necking lukewarm water mixed with sea salt in a bid to clear out small intestine “sludge” and potentially trigger weight loss.
I was sceptical to include this one, as I’m someone who regularly drinks epsom salts mixed with water first thing in the morning to relieve my IBS symptoms.
As a weight-loss strategy, however, this won’t do much. Going for a poo will naturally lighten your load on the scales, but it won’t burn fat.