Smiling woman 2022 wellness forecast

While 2022 holds challenges and change ahead, there is a sense of hope and optimism in the air. With tension in the community, juggling many responsibilities, and more time at home, particularly for those in Tamaki Makaurau Auckland, we felt the impact of less in-person connections, and the stress of having to consider and make decisions about things that shouldn’t take up space in our brain.

Despite the downsides, the pandemic continues to offer us the opportunity to look for what matters in our lives, create positive change amongst the upheaval that exists all around us, focus in on what brings us joy, and how we can do things differently so that the environment and our wellbeing are better cared for.

If you’re setting goals for your health and wellbeing for the year ahead, consider how these trends can support you on your way, and what’s most meaningful for you.

Let’s explore 11 wellness trends we’re pursuing in 2022, within the areas of:

  • Sustainability
  • Immune health
  • Pursuit of wellness
  • Self-care

1. Sustainability

Ethical shopping

88% of global consumers believe brands have a responsibility to take care of our planet and its people. And we couldn’t agree more. Whether the brand is for climate by offsetting their carbon ethically, better packaging, giving to social causes in their community, making it a better work environment for their staff, or investing in their local environment, we all want to know about it. A Mindful Brand going above and beyond doing good things helps people feel that they can make a difference with their purchase, and they love that. If a spending dollar can also plant a tree, clean waterways, or pay someone a living wage, people are increasingly choosing them. We all vote with our dollar, so choosing brands that share our values is a sure step for positive change.

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2. Transparency of value chain and responsibility sourcing

More than ever, our need for brand transparency has lifted. Knowing that the products we’re buying have been created responsibly and ethically has become increasingly important – such as knowing the land and people who make these products are cared for and paid fairly. Brands who are open, upfront, and honest about the challenges and successes with how they source their products are always a worthy option.

The pandemic has led to supply chain issues for many things, and as customers, we want to know that the quality of our favourite products is the same, that lesser quality raw materials aren’t being used because of availability issues.

Brands who can provide transparency will thrive as our prioritisation of wanting a product that isn’t just good for us but has minimal impact on the planet and is created sustainably increases.

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3. Mindful packaging

As better options become available, brands who are mindful about reducing their impact on the planet improve their packaging. Conscious consumers are no longer thinking short term use, but long term impacts on our planet. While there is no perfect packaging option, and limitations on capability of recyclers in Aotearoa New Zealand, we are starting to choose products based on what we know to be the best packaging option. Recycling has a long way to go, particularly being on the bottom of the planet, which has its disadvantages when it comes to availability of recycling plants, and so many different councils in Aotearoa New Zealand having different recycling rules.

Brands using post-consumer waste, sustainably grown cardboard, kerbside recyclable sugar cane plastic, refillable, aluminium, and certified home compostable packaging will catch our eye more than brands using virgin plastic or mixed components. Not sure where to start with packaging?  In this article we explore different materials, and how brand’s measure up.

Waterless skincare brands like  Ethique and Dust & Glow continue to innovate and grow awareness of the environmental benefits of not shipping water in products.

In 2021 we saw  RadianceHolistic HairNature’s SunshineTrilogyVita BiosaLove Beauty Foods, move to better packaging options, and in 2022 we look forward to supporting many others make positive changes.

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4. Immune health: a priority

ZincVitamin D and Quercetin as immune support staples

In 2021, we’ve seen how important taking an empowered and proactive approach to wellbeing is with people  prioritising zinc, vitamin D, and other immune formulas in their supplement shopping. As more research is done on the importance of having good nutrient levels and a healthy microbiome to reduce the severity of COVID, our prioritisation of preventative approaches with good food and nutrition, sleep, and exercise increases.

This new normal has made us think about our immune system – what does it need? What might be depleting it? What are all the ways I can protect myself and my family so that when I do get covid, it’s the mildest experience it can be? As these thoughts settle into our conscious mind, we make purchasing decisions that support this mindset.

We will see more  functional foods that can support immune function available. Probiotics and ingredients that support gut health will also continue to grow as we connect our immune health to the health of our gut. Food as medicine is a beautiful preventative concept, and one that we can all bring into our life for most of the time to improve our overall health, with a focus on increasing nutrient rich vegetables, fruits, and wholefoods.

If everyone can be educated and empowered to take the best possible care of themselves, with good food, nutrition, exercise, and sleep, we have the opportunity to reduce the unnecessary burden on public health - good nutrition and health behaviours have an important role to play. Preventative approaches to health are harder to pin down and prescribe because they can encompass many aspects of life but are no less important than acute approaches to a virus.

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5. Pursuit of wellness and joy

Wellness is a huge global trend that many industries are incorporating into their product design. Wellness is about good health in all aspects of life – mental, social, physical, financial, spiritual, as well as things like convenience, and being better for the planet. We’re seeing wellness everywhere in our daily lives from housing and car design, app experience, as well as the more expected health, food, and personal care products.

While we can never predict what’s ahead, 2022 feels lighter. We’re all seeking joy, optimism, and play. Wellness for us is exactly that – feeling our best, brightest self, year round. This year we’re blending wellness more into our everyday habits and rituals, rather than keeping them separate.

Cutting back on alcohol

We are getting more comfortable with being social without the need for alcohol. Although for many people, drinking increased in lockdowns as we tried different methods for coping with the stressful situation we found ourselves in, there has been a marked increase of people looking for non-alcoholic, nourishing options.

Regular intake of alcohol isn’t just a risk factor for many diseases, but it’s a huge contributor for impacting our mental health.

And as the mindset of wellness begins to take hold, more of us are looking to substitute our dinnertime wine with something that still feels fun, tastes delicious, and offers positive health benefits for our body and mind… enter mocktails!

Non-alcoholic herbal or fruit extracts with fresh flavours in a bit of soda water to refresh our palate and ease us into rest mode after a long day is here to stay. The reduced number of wine bottles in our recycling has to be a good thing for the planet too, right?

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6. Stress > mood > sleep

With “unprecedented” times comes varying degrees of stress which can have a lasting impact on our mood and sleep patterns.

We are looking for herbal and nutritional support that can ease our stress through the day and support our transition to have a good night’s sleep, all in one convenient capsule.

Tried and true herbs like  Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) are leading the way for wonderful nervous system support.

Functional mushrooms like Reishi (Ganoderma lingzhi) are reknowned as a nourishing adaptogen to restore and rejuvenate the body after a stressful period, getting us back to an even keel.

Tulsi ( Ocimum tenuiflorum), the Queen of Herbs shines as another adaptogen, supporting the body to deal with the negative effects of stress and rise above to good health and wellbeing.

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7. Functional foods for performance

Physical and mental performance are matched in importance as we pick up new physical activities over the new year and return to exercise routines, we are looking for ways to enhance recovery and make it easier on our body.

Returning to work or study and wanting to support our brain to retain, recall, and to be able to perform under pressure in front of colleagues is supported with a growing interest in functional fungi, which are hitting all the areas we need right now – stress, immune support, and as a nootropic, supporting brain function.

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8. Healthy aging for beauty from within

Beauty from within means we give our body what we need on the inside to give our outsides that radiant glow. Youth helps with this of course, as do genetics, but we can all be proactive in shifting the dial by consuming an abundance of water, omega oils, fresh fruit and vegetables, and protein. Reducing sugar, alcohol, and char-grilled foods is an important preventative approach to your long-term health, and appearance.

Collagen is still a popular choice to supply the body with the amino acids to build strong healthy hair and nails, comfortable joints, and hydrated skin, and these benefits are set to continue into exciting combinations of other things we take each day.

Grapeseed is a food-based antioxidant and functional mushrooms like Tremella (Tremella fuciformis) contain a high level of hyaluronic acid, making them ideal additions to an internal beauty regime.

There’s increased interest in maintaining health and wellness for as long as possible, to challenge the aging process in any way we can. We are so lucky to live in a country with an abundance of good food, natural resources, and access to medicines, so our average lifespan, like other developed countries is increasing. The importance of maintaining health for as long as possible and aging well is growing.

Explore our guide to aging well →

9. Self-care

At-home beauty

While some of us stayed home and let the greys dominate, we also discovered the joys of at-home self-care in the form of manicures, facials, hair dyes, hair and body treatments, and this trend is set to stay in 2022 as we look for indulgence and luxury within our at-home routine.

Gua sha made their cooling impression on our complexion and we oiled up and massaged glow into our skin. Beauty tools are a way to improve the results we get from our skincare and being accessible for use at home inspires us to DIY our own facials with gorgeous clean skincare.

The rise of at-home-facials has seen more people investigating the benefits of various serums and which ones might be best for the results they are looking for. Vitamin C, Bakuchiol, and peptides are all popular choices, and fruit acids are on the rise for the chemical exfoliant function they offer.

‘Clean’ skincare is now mainstream – the surge in popularity and availability of natural and safer ingredients has created a huge range of amazing skincare products that offer great results thanks to technology. Better packaging options are still needed when it comes to skincare, and we are likely to see more sustainable options that offer hygienic refills or carbon-friendlier plant-based recyclable plastics to reduce the amount of virgin plastic we are consuming in our skincare consumables.

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10. Mindfulness an everyday practice

Needing good mental resilience to help cope with the pressures of modern life is widely talked about nowadays, making support solutions more widely available. There is less stigma with mental health challenges and holistic options to support a strong balanced mind that can learn how to settle itself.

While apps that offer guided meditation and mindfulness resources are loved far and wide, we’re seeing more self care mindful practices – from mindful massages with nourishing oils, to creating a calm or grounding environment with essential oils, these tools can help you be present in the current moment, pause and take a breath, and go about your day with more clarity.

11. Sexual wellness

Sex positive conversations and activities are taking centre-stage, with acknowledgment to the role that sex plays in our health and wellbeing, and as part of our self-care. With less stigma around the topic thanks to a variety of shifts in our culture, people are finding freedom and fun in embracing self-pleasure for wellness, and it’s getting more inclusive for the LBGTQIA and non-binary communities too.

Genderless skincare and makeup

Because of the inclusive outlook of Gen-Z, the X and Y of gender norms becomes less restrictive, and a broader sense of “person” vs “gender” is becoming the norm. We will see this in genderless skincare and make up brands as well as clothing and in everyday language.

So, that sums up where we’ve come from and where we’ are heading. If there are trends that you align with, ease them into your life with small, sustainable steps. 

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