2024 Wellness Trends

woman sits on couch with a book and cup of tea
  1. Wellness is More than Exercise
    If you are starting, restarting or wading further into a wellness journey this year, we support you. Wellness is an ongoing journey that encompasses much more than exercise. 

    At the Y, it is our mission to provide services that support all-around wellness, including spirit, mind and body. We encourage you to incorporate all components of wellness.

    For physical health, exercise is certainly important but is not the lone factor. Be sure to stay hydrated throughout the day and save time for at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Check out what's on your plate, as well.

    For mental health, we recommend incorporating a mindfulness practice into your wellness routine in a way that suits you. Choose from journaling, meditation, mind/body classes, spending time in nature, seeing a therapist and more.

    For spiritual health, you can volunteer in the community, check in with a friend, find a church or support group and more.

  2. Meditation
    If you are new to meditation, we recommend trying a guided meditation. You can do so from the comfort of your home using a variety of apps, including YMCA360. You can even search online for beginner meditations to try. We also offer in-person meditations in our Mind/Body studios. 

    Whether you start in-person or online, it is important that you remember that meditation is an ongoing practice. There is not a defined end point, and you won't be able to quiet your mind on your first try. Embrace the journey and the fact that your mind is growing stronger and clearer with each attempt. 

  3. Unplugging
    There's no denying that our devices are useful in our lives. But there is a time and place for every tool. 

    This year, commit to creating space in your routine to unplug from all devices. During this time, prioritize spending uninterrupted time with people that you love. Or choose to do something solo - read a book, journal, take a long bath or create something. The only limit is your imagination.

    Of course, the act of unplugging will be hard at first - and you'll be tempted to check in on your device. If this happens, start with a small goal (five minutes of device-free time daily) and work your way up to longer periods of time in small increments. You can also observe what app/feature is drawing your attention in and take steps to eliminate the temptation such as turning off notifications, logging out of social networks or deleting your news app.

  4. Good Nutrition
    There are a variety of diets and eating styles - so many that your head may spin if you try to follow all of the latest nutritional trends. Yet, there are basic foundations of nutrition that are common to many eating styles.

    • Less Processed is Best | Eat as many fresh foods as you can - and as close to the original source as possible. For example, choose baked or roasted potatoes over potato chips or French fries. Choose a fresh orange instead of oranges packed in syrup. And so on.

    • Eat Slowly and Mindfully | We often rush through meals or grab food on the go. Little by little, aim to lengthen the amount of time it takes you to eat your meals, being sure to take deep breaths in between bites. As you slow down, you will be better able to listen to your body and notice when you are starting to feel full. Listen to your body so that you don't overindulge. 

    • Moderation is Key | Allergies aside, elimination diets can lead to feelings of deprivation and can backfire for some. If you know that elimination diets don't agree with you, then allow yourself to eat a variety of foods in moderation. Cut back your portions of crave-worthy foods, taking smaller bites and eating more slowly. A small portion may satisfy that craving!

    • Eat a Variety of Colors | Eat a variety of colors throughout the day. With a multitude of colorful fruits and vegetables, you have the opportunity to eat your way through the rainbow!

  5. Self-Care is not Selfish
    All too often, we deprioritize our own needs and healthy habits when life gets busy. It's time to get comfortable with prioritizing your own health.

    If the idea feels uncomfortable and impossible, start small. Set a realistic goal of one self-care task per week. Wait three weeks until that task has turned into a habit. Then, introduce a second weekly self-care task. Wait three more weeks and repeat. 

    Along the way, remind yourself that taking care of your spirit, mind and body is your responsibility, not a luxury.

  6. Strength Training is for All
    If you haven't added strength training to your wellness routine, now is the time. The benefits of strength training are unmatched - positively impacting your mental and physical health and maximizing your wellness goals. Incorporating routine strength training contributes to better posture, stronger bones, increased flexibility, stronger muscles and much more.

    If you think strength training is all power lifting, think again! You don't even need to use heavy weights. You can choose to skip the weights and use your own body weight as resistance or can choose tools like resistance bands, handheld weights and more.

    No matter what tools you use, the exercises can be modified to your exact abilities and needs, making strength training appropriate for all body types and abilities.