A new year always brings with it some new hopes for what’s to come. If 2022 was all about finding stability and personal growth as the chaos from the pandemic persisted, the quest to seeking more inner clarity and a stronger connection with our body, mind, and soul will only gain further momentum in 2023.

All aspects of “personal wellness” and “good” health have had a massive shake-up over the past few years – from what we eat to where we exercise – but if there is one lesson to be learned, it is the importance of taking good care of ourselves.

When working from home has become the new “normal” routine for many and with daily commutes having been replaced by endless emails and video meetings, many of us have been forced to use our homes as a central space for work, socializing, and entertainment over the past year. Yet, as we’ve seen from the rise of more personalised digital wellness experiences and indoor health remedies for people to explore, it’s apparent that self-care remains a high priority for many.

As we are constantly redefining ways to achieve better health – both physically and mentally, here are five self-care trends that we predict will gain more traction and hit bigger than ever in the year to come.

Alternative ways to show self-compassion and seek mental well-being

people meditating while painting in a meditation class
In 2023, self-care will look like mindful self-expression for more people (© Ceris Wong)

Mental well-being will continue to take centre stage in 2023. As we are all learning to slow down and to prioritize rest and relaxation while trying to seek for more self-awareness and compassion, creative outlets and alternative forms of healing will be on the rise.

From expressive arts therapies through music, movement, yoga, and even journaling to some more conventional ways of counselling, meditation, breathwork, sound healing, and recently, forest bathing (in Japanese, Shinrin Yoku) – you name it, they have it.

A mindful hobby taken up by the author, coaster painting (© Ceris Wong)

Mindful hobbies like pottery and ceramic making, Zentangle colouring, floral jamming, indigo dyeing, or even simply cooking for yourself at home have also become increasingly popular across the city.

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Island hopping trips, setting out for a hike, or exposing yourself under the sun for a picnic are other forms of immersive experiences with our mother nature that provide us with a sense of comfort and enhance the ability of our bodies to heal.

Perhaps embracing a digital detox every once in a while may be all that we need in light of our search for some personal space and spiritual wellness. After all, thinking of happiness and taking self-care into our own hands may be as simple as learning to set personal boundaries while embracing the small sprinkles of joy in our daily lives.

Medical fitness: More personalized and scientific

runner using smart fitness watch
Smart watch use is expected to continue growing as people adopt personalized fitness tracking (© Ketut Subiyanto via Canva)

Consumers are now seeking more “personalization” and “exclusivity” in their medical fitness journey. Medical gyms and anti-aging clinics that offer integrated health and nutrition programs for the community, beauty salons and spas that provide accessible IV drips for vitamins and hydration, and digital fitness studios that bring personalized gym routines home are only a few emerging trends to watch out for in 2023 in the wellness space.

In fact, as we have seen from the numerous periods of pandemic lockdowns, wearable medical devices to trace health metrics and our daily movements have continued to gain popularity. Big tech companies are launching new versions of fitness trackers with medical companies following to develop smart glasses and gloves for outpatients and the elderly. Consumers are also looking into buying new smart exercise equipment such as those created by the likes of Lululemon and Peloton to bridge the gap between their gym and at-home workouts. Sports massage guns for fitness recovery being all the rage in 2022 was just another proof.

To say the least, we all have a friend who believes that some form of AI fitness tracking, virtual coaching, or a subscription to meditation and mindfulness mobile apps like Headspace and Calm would help create a more effective and self-satisfying routine.

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Wellness travelling

woman gathered in a circle on a wellness retreat
Wellness travelling includes rehab tourism, sustainable travel, and physical wellness tours (© Jasmina007 via Canva)

As restrictions across borders have gradually eased, people are starting to travel again – and they are looking for healthier ways to travel.

The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness tourism as “travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal well-being.” With so much uncertainty and chaos embedded in today’s world, we live in a century where people are more concerned than ever with their health and happiness.

Wellness travelling trips to recovery lounges, retreat centres, and wellness resorts are no longer seen as an indulgence or luxury but more of a tool for self-healing and improvement. Motivated by the ultimate desire to live a healthier life through immersing ourselves into some more enriching and authentic experiences, travelling in 2023 will surely mean rebooting your mind and body with newly opened hiking trails, pickleball courts, and even on paddleboards and skis.    

Mindful eating over dieting

woman pouring tea as part of tea meditation
The late Thich Nhat Hanh explained using eating as a meditative practice in a series of books called ‘How to Eat’ (© bodrumsurf via Canva)

Body diversity and social inclusion are common themes on the rise in this decade. As people are tuning in with their overall physical and mental well-being, ‘mindful eating’, a meditation concept which in Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s words mean to eat with awareness, to eat without distractions, and to savour each and every bite while being truly present, is yet another form of highly sought-after self-care.

There are many forms of diets out there – vegetarian, vegan, paleo, pescatarian, keto, and recently, circadian. The truth is, no single diet is best for everyone as what works for one may not work for another. But when it comes to eating with true harmony and nourishment for your body, mind, and soul, perhaps a thoughtful change in the how, what, where, and why you eat could be the sustainable way to go.

To be clear, on its own, mindful eating is not a diet. No radical detox cleanses, no elimination of certain food groups, no medical pills, and no quick fixes. Mindful eating simply invites us to be present while cooking or eating, allowing us to truly savour our food without any judgment, guilt, anxiety, or inner commentary. In embracing mindful eating, we are all encouraged to enjoy a sip of coffee and bites of meals while finding some inner peace of mind as at this very moment. Eat consciously and live consciously.

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Skychology and work-life balance

forest bathing with a view of tall trees towering over the viewer
Sky-chology describes the benefits of looking at the blue sky, while forest bathing is a term that emerged in Japan to describe spending time in nature (© Purpleviolapuncti via Canva)

Yes, as cliché as it sounds, it’s “sky-chology” – the psychology of looking up at the sky. All you need to do is to look up. Easy, simple, and it costs you nothing (except maybe some quality time of as short as one minute).

Initially proposed by positive psychology coach Paul Conway, the experience of simply looking up at the sky brings immense benefits to our well-being.  Results from Conway’s study revealed that looking up at the sky could be immediately calming and appeared to be a highly effective form of emotional self-regulation. Not only does this simple form of mindfulness exercise contribute to cultivating a greater sense of clarity and perspective, it also promotes a greater sense of connectedness and the feeling for one to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Looking at the sky, it seems, never gets old – suggesting we can experience its benefits at any time, and throughout our lives.

In connection with the long-standing emphasis of maintaining a healthy work-life balance, it seems that the extraordinary can often be found in the ordinary. Next time when you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, just look up at the sky, breathe deeply, notice what you see and feel, acknowledge your thoughts and emotions as they come and go – and just relax.

May 2023 be your year of restoration and growth.

It’s about the journey, not the destination.

Header image credits: AndreyPopov via Canva

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Born in Toronto and raised in Hong Kong, Ceris is a dedicated storyteller and social impact writer with a focus on social inclusion, mental wellbeing, and sustainability. A legal professional by day and a yoga instructor by night, she believes in the authenticity of words and the power of the mind and soul to connect through a mindful and sustainable lifestyle. As the ultimate face and mind behind the drool- worthy foodie account @eatwickedly, you can surely find her hopping around different cafes or teaching yoga in the city when she’s not writing. Learn more about her journey at @ceriswong.

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