I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for (almost) any new wellness trend, and I’ll try just about anything for the sake of health. Every year, we see the latest products and practices emerge with promises of weight loss, mental clarity, physical strength, flawless skin, or limitless energy. I vet them all and decipher legit from BS like it’s my job (because it is). There are the fads that come and go—some we gladly bid adieu to (looking at you, vajacials)—while others we’re not quite ready to part with. Read on for eight tried-and-true rituals or hacks that we tried in 2023 that made such a major change for our physical and mental health that we wouldn’t dare part with them in 2024. They’re not passing fads; they’re practices that can actually make a major difference in your healing or optimizing your well-being.
Word to the wise: We stand by taking a personalized approach to wellness and you doing you—some wellness trends may work for you, and some may not. Try one or try ’em all. We’ve checked any pressure or judgment at the door.
1. Contrast therapy
Contrast therapy (think: alternating between cold plunging and sitting in an infrared sauna) is taking “opposites attract” to another level. With health perks like decreasing muscle soreness, boosting energy and focus, and reducing stress, it’s no wonder all the cool kids (AKA experts, celebrities, athletes, and wellness girlies) are doing it. The best part? You don’t need any bougie equipment to dive into the trend. Pick up an ice roller, take a cold shower, add a sauna blanket to your Amazon cart, or DIY a steam room in your bathroom (turn up the temperature on your shower and shut the door). Whether you’re looking to repair damaged tissue, lower inflammation, or zen TF out, RLT checks off all the boxes.
2. Sober curiosity
Bring on the mocktails; choosing to drink less or adopting an alcohol-free lifestyle is here to stay. Thanks to trendy beverage brands (and celebs that proudly sport an alcohol-free life), there’s a bevy of non-alcoholic libations to reach for, and being sober curious has never been easier. While we’re in the thick of holiday booze and champagne-fueled festivities, committing to Dry January may (or may not) sound like a good idea. If going cold turkey and holding the booze for the entire month is not happening, try other healthy alternatives like Damp January (Dry January’s laid-back cousin) or make the switch to booze-free refreshments.
3. Sleep biohacking
Ah, beauty sleep—just file it under “Things we’ll eventually get to.” That is, until 2023 came along. It was the year sleep care finally got the attention it deserved. Biohacking meant to optimize sleep for more energy and deeper restoration reigned supreme, as wellness enthusiasts worked to align their body’s circadian rhythm with their daily routine (sleep syncing) while others taped their mouths. Then, we’ve got our pick of supplements that use the latest technology (such as optimal release melatonin) or ancient herbs (such as chamomile, lemon balm, and holy basil). Sleep as a priority made its way into travel trends, too; a new type of travel called sleep tourism gained popularity this year, which means seeking out destinations and accommodations focused on providing a five-star snooze-inducing experience—from a nightly menu of teas to an AI-powered, customizable bed—makes catching quality Zzz’s a no-brainer.
Hours-long, exhausting sweat sessions and exercising to burn calories are so 2010. Cue shorter, gentler, and (most importantly), enjoyable types of movement. Workouts don’t have to be a certain length of time or intensity to count and to fill your physical and mental health cup, but rather, they should simply be fun. Perhaps you’ve leaned into your Pilates girl era, or your hot girl walk game is still going strong. Maybe cozy cardio speaks your language, or lazy girl workouts are your jam. Only have 10 minutes to work out? No problem. Enter: exercise snacks or shorter bursts of exercising to help not only break up your day but also ensure you fit in movement on the reg, prevent prolonged sitting, and boost energy. Bottom line: Engage in exercise that brings you joy and actually feels good, rather than believing exercise has to be intense, exhausting, or difficult.
5. Using your reproductive cycle as your guide
This year, hormone elixirs and cycle syncing took over our For You Pages and wellness routines. And thank god—it’s hard being a woman (juggling career goals, families, relationships, and you know…the patriarchy and gender pay gap). Throw in hormone imbalances such as PCOS, irregular periods, or PMS, and anyone with a reproductive cycle would throw their hands up in frustration and despair. This year, hormones took center stage with trends such as cycle syncing (syncing your lifestyle, workouts, and diet around your cycle), limiting endocrine disruptors, and seed cycling to help women live their best lives—PMS-free. The biggest takeaway from the focus on hormonal health? The body needs different things on different days, and trends like HIIT workouts and intermittent fasting aren’t always the healthiest options for your body.
6. More, more, more protein
Before sea moss gel, green powders, and celeb-backed Erewhon smoothies (peep Hailey‘s and Bella‘s) became the “it” superfoods, dieticians and healthy eaters measured nutrition in macronutrients (remember the sad–and toxic–no-carb or low-fat days?). While “nutrition” was mistaken for tracking calories and eating less food in the early 2000s, we’re happy to see that in 2023, mainstream nutrition was all about adding in more food—specifically, adding in more protein. Eating enough protein is a must for building muscles, as well as the health of metabolism, glucose levels, hormones, and more. Foods like cloud bread or bone broth went viral, and consumers shared recipes such as high-protein snacks or breakfast ideas with more than 30 grams of protein.
7. The 30/30/30 Method
Speaking of the obsession with protein, the 30/30/30 method went viral when biohacker Gary Brecka shared the concept as a method for weight loss, but it may be good for hormonal health, building muscle, and a wide variety of other benefits. The method entails eating 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up, followed by 30 minutes of steady-state cardiovascular exercise. The science behind it? Consuming protein as your first order of business can help stabilize glucose levels, boost metabolism, and reduce cravings for the rest of the day. The 30 minutes of steady-state cardio boosts digestion, reduces inflammation, and lowers cortisol. BTW, don’t get too fixated on the numbers: You’ll still get major benefits if you get in 20 grams of protein within an hour of waking up and go on a 10-minute walk.
8. The 12-3-30 Routine
2023 was the year of numbered workouts. Our fave (and Hilary Duff’s)? The 12-3-30 workout routine. The viral TikTok workout calls for walking on the treadmill at a 12 percent incline and 3 mph speed for 30 minutes. With benefits like improving cardiovascular fitness, assisting in maintaining a healthy weight, and strengthening your bones, muscles, and endurance, what’s not to love? If you’re a 12-3-30 stan, chances are you’ve already mastered the regimen. Take a page out of Hilary Duff’s book and up the ante by donning a 12-pound weighted vest while you walk it out on the tread. Wearing a weighted vest boosts strength-training performance (hello, muscle gains) and helps strengthen heart function, enhance stamina, prevent bone loss, and improve balance.
Source: Cosmo Politian