Welcome to Byrdie UK's Wellness Week. Over the next seven days, you'll get to read about how to make your body, mind and, well, your life more balanced. We know it's not January, but wellness has become an all-year-round focus for many. And with autumn on the way (read: cold and flu season), now seems like a good time to talk about not just keeping well but boosting our wellness from all angles. From the best tech to improve your health to the small tweaks anyone can do to bring you more happiness, we've thought about everything you might want to factor a little more wellness into your life with ease. Today, we're talking to wellness influencers about the trends they rate and hate.
The wellness movement is not slowing down and with so many new and existing trends to buy into, each promising to basically change your life, it's hard to know what’s worth doing and what's worth swerving. We’re all different, and with wellness, it's all about finding your own groove, the healthy habits that you like and can stick to.
While some people may love flexing on a yoga mat and eating a plant-based diet, others will prefer to lift heavy at the gym before sitting down to a meaty Paleo meal. To help you along in your quest for a healthier lifestyle we've called on five well-known wellness influencers to reveal the healthy trends they rate and the ones they hate, and they didn’t hold back. Each of these women is incredibly dedicated to wellness, and this only serves to prove that if you can find what you love and what works for you, then that's half the battle. Keep scrolling to see if their thoughts on wellness resonate with you.
"Okay, this isn't exactly a trend, but I love that it takes into account all factors of life, rather than just looking at what foods are healthy and what exercise trends get quick results. I rate Ayurveda because it is a realistic and sustainable approach to have to living well. It accepts that things change and instead of providing rigid rules, it has many educated and tried-and-tested suggestions to handle many different situations.
Want to find out more about the Ayurvedic system of natural healing? Read The Body Balance Diet Plan (£8), which is based on Ayurvedic principles.
Rate: Yoga and Meditation
"I rate both yoga and meditation because they take into account calming the body and mind, not just the physical make up of a body."
Hate: Processed gluten-free products advertised as healthy
"Although I do avoid gluten, I don't like the fad it has become and the bad products that have come from it because these foods generally always contain other terrible ingredients."
Hate: Raw-food diets
"I'm not a fan, as it doesn't take into account digestion or other factors that can contribute to well-being. I like raw food and I think it is vibrant and energising, but I don't think it should be something to live by as it can be taxing on the digestion."
"I'm addicted to it! It's not necessarily a trend, as many people have been bouldering for years, but with the new climbing walls that have been popping up around London, there is clearly a demand for it. After my very first session, I bought my own climbing shoes, as I was hooked. It's the perfect mental and physical workout.
Rate: Meditation events
"Growing a community around mindfulness and meditation is such a great way of connecting with people. We speak to so many people throughout our days, but so rarely do we fully connect with them. I recently went to the Just Breathe charity evening, which was a beautiful experience."
Hate: Focusing on data
"So I have to caveat this with the fact that I find it hard to dislike a wellness trend because I think that we're all different, and if you're able to make a healthy lifestyle change and become more active, then it doesn't matter how you do it, as long as the activity is safe of course!
"I love wearable tech, and it has so many benefits, but there's still something to be said for doing a workout based on how you feel rather than what your heart rate is saying and therefore feeling like you need to be pushing even harder."
Hate: Spinning in water
"The other trend that isn't for me is that Spin class in a swimming pool. For me, it's either Spin or swim. I just don't get it!"
"I get such a buzz when I do boxing training. I've done one-on-one sparring at BXR London, where I learnt techniques that have helped me when I'm in a class situation at places like Kobox. I find it really empowering as a woman to be stood next to a guy in a class and be hitting the bag just as hard as him."
"Okay, so I might be being biased with this one, but it has always frustrated me that there is this stupid myth that if you're not running 10 miles or deadlifting 80kg in a gym, then you're not doing 'fitness' right. There are so many ways to work out, and for me, dancing is one of the most fun options—and I manage to work my entire body doing it. I strengthen my muscles whilst getting my cardio in, and most of the time it feels like I'm not working out because I'm having so much fun."
Hate: Spin class
"I feel like this is the Marmite of fitness and exercise! And I am definitely on the 'hate it' team. I've tried it a few times, some of my friends are even instructors, and, although their playlists might be fun and motivating, I just can't seem to enjoy it. There are benefits to doing it, which I can accept, but I would never choose to go to a cycling class when there are other ways to achieve the same results."
Hate: Counting calories/macros
"Again, I know some people find this type of control over their diet is what works for them, but for me personally, as I influence a lot of younger people, I think it would be irresponsible for me to live by that.
"I'm also probably too lazy to follow the rules of these ways of eating and genuinely believe in the everything-in-moderation method. We know what's healthy and what's not and should be intelligent enough to make the right choices for ourselves to maintain a healthy lifestyle."
Rate: Food markets
"Seven million tonnes of food and drink are thrown away every year, and what’s worse is we could have eaten more than half of it. I'm proud to see more people talking about the effects this has on our planet. Do yourself a favour and visit your local market more often, opt for non-perfect (but probably far tastier) fruit and vegetables. We don’t need all the packaging!"
Rate: Maca powder
"Grown in South America, this herbaceous plant can be found in powder form at most health shops. It has a higher calcium level than milk and studies have shown it to have a positive effect on hormone balance, increasing fertility as well as boosting your energy, stamina, sexual function, memory and focus. Ladies and gentlemen, pop one tablespoon into your smoothie and get ready for a sex drive increase. You're welcome!"
Hate: Bikram yoga
"I tried it, had a nosebleed and was told I couldn't leave. As someone who is pretty terrible at yoga, I wanted to take on the 30-day challenge, but all I got in return was a different bug/cold each week and the pain of having to wash my hair every day!"
Hate: Instagram vs. reality photos
"I'm all for body positivity and reducing the number of fake images out there, but I also hate seeing people who have beautiful bodies trying to make it look like they don’t. We all have a bad angle, we all have rolls, cellulite and double chins, we can all work the light—let’s just take a normal photo and be done with it."
Rate: Multicoloured lattes
"They taste great (especially golden turmeric lattes), are so good for you and are also perfectly Instagrammable."
Rate: The rise of veggie and vegan options
"I'm neither a veggie nor a vegan, but I am a mindful meat reducer and don't love dairy, so I'm really digging the rise of conscious eating. Non-dairy milks now being the norm in coffee shops, veggie restaurants on nearly every corner and vegan options on a lot more menus."
"AKA men in leggings. Wear shorts over the top, bro!"
Leah, pictured left, with Daisy. The Hardihood girls create natural, raw, vegan desserts. Check out their book Raw Cake (£17).
Rate: Healthy ambitions grounded in reality
"The more advice there is on topics of wellness that comes from a place of balance, the better. Extremist thinking can be intimidating and unrealistic. Let's celebrate that we can aspire to a feel-good lifestyle without having to feel guilty for indulging in that sticky toffee pudding or Aperol spritz!"
Rate: Eating local
"Supporting local grocers and eating as much natural produce as possible. Not only is this a great way to support the little guy in business, it's also more nourishing."
"The backlash against anything to do with health in the media. It's not productive and it focuses on females in the industry only; there is no mention of the clean-eating male role models!"
Opening Images: Outdoor Voices