What will self-care look like in the future?

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There is a good reason self-care has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years. We all deserve to take care of ourselves. And as Ben Hwang (CEO profusa.com) puts it: 

"We are all on the journey of developing diseases. You should not have to wait until some diagnostic trigger is reached before you think about managing your health. People will benefit from having the same data as physicians and being educated about reading the raw data. Individuals must understand what is meaningful and what’s not. So they can keep themselves from becoming a patient and remain a healthy human."

But before we dive into the new, personal data-driven way of self-care, let’s define what self-care is?

Self-care includes behaviors, activities, and skills used to take care of oneself at its most simplistic definition.  

Within every person, there are six different dimensions to take care of yourself. These dimensions are

  • Health
  • Fitness 
  • Nutrition
  • Sleep
  • Mindfulness
  • Appearance

For optimal health and well-being, each of these dimensions requires care, attention, and intentional behaviors. So if a person is not caring for themselves in one or two dimensions, for example, nutrition and sleep well-being, then the result will be a reduction in overall well-being. You may think it sounds so simple and makes sense that taking care of yourself leads to well-being. But for many people, a commitment to self-care (actions/behaviors which improve well-being) is often overlooked. Even more, it’s doing the hard work of examining who we are, understanding our biology as it is, and getting better day by day. So we can be the best versions of ourselves for the rest of our lives.

Why we do it: 

The global wellness market is growing and has been gaining momentum for some time now. Self-care approaches have changed a lot in recent years, and thanks to advances in science and technology, we are now more able to take charge of our health and well-being. We see a rise in targeted, data-driven care apps to help consumers seamlessly book their medical appointments or obtain the prescriptions they need, and to access their personalized information about their bodies.

Self-care trends to follow

Self-care trends vary across countries. For example, people in Japan prioritize appearance while those in Germany emphasize fitness; individuals in Brazil and the United States are most interested in mindfulness, those in China and the United Kingdom in nutrition.[1] 

Based on the six dimensions of wellness, we’ve collected a few self-care trends that we believe are worth having a closer look at.

Health, probably the most traditional category

It's natural to feel the need to take your health into your own hands, especially when threatened by something such as global pandemics. We’ve all been there. You are googling the rash on our skin, questioning the doctor’s diagnosis, or friends’ advice. Your health is important to you. You want to feel empowered and make informed decisions for yourself.

Nutrition, the evergreen of self-care 

Diet is the single most important predictor of health.[2] Nutrition has always been a part of wellness, but now consumers want food not only to taste good but also to help them accomplish their health goals.

Diet is the single most important predictor of health.

You yourself may have noticed that healthy choices regarding food (or physical activity) help us feel more productive and support us to achieve our goals faster and easier. The list of benefits regarding healthy eating is long. Here are a few highlights worth mentioning:

  • healthy weight management 
  • improve immunity
  • reduce the risk of health conditions
  • support cognitive function  and relieve stress and anxiety

Let’s be honest: Ever tried to start a healthy habit but couldn't stick to it? You are not alone. We have all struggled with this. This can happen when the changes you wanted to make were too big and therefore unachievable. Instead of aiming high, you could try starting small, like eating one vegetable per day. After it becomes a normal part of your routine, try increasing it to 2 portions per day. Remember to be gentle with yourself, give yourself time to develop your new habits, and celebrate your successes. It’s all about progress, not perfection!

One thing we are confident that will help you control your habits, and celebrate new routines eventually are CGMs (also known as continuous glucose monitor). A continuous glucose monitor is a wearable device that can measure your blood glucose levels.  

Fitness

Maintaining a steady level of fitness is not always easy. It has been especially challenging over the past year. In the early months of the pandemic, sporting goods companies saw their market valuations fall.[3] People struggle to maintain pre-COVID-19 fitness levels because they couldn't go to their gyms as frequently or participate in sports in the same ways as before.

Besides the physical benefits, exercising regularly possibly can serve as a way to improve certain health conditions such as anxiety or depression, and reduce stress levels. Which probably comes in handy after the last year of lockdowns and isolation.

There is no doubt that the healthy habits we do now, will have a positive effect on our well-being in the future, and especially if we do them regularly. 

If our goal is to be the healthiest and happiest version of ourselves, eating nutritious foods, being physically active, and sleeping well should be part of our daily routine, starting today.

Companies are working to unlock optimal performance by looking at the individual and the efficiency of their muscles. Devices are created that track the body’s movement to optimize people’s performance.

The importance of sleep. Respect your circadian rhythm

The days of sacrificing sleep to achieve career goals are long gone. We want to sleep better, optimize our productivity, feel healthier, … Many of us have become aware that sleep and rest are crucial for a healthy life. High-quality sleep is essential for our brain, immune, cardiovascular and metabolic health. And you’ll feel it immediately if you don’t get enough sleep. 

When we’re well-rested, we feel more energetic, productive, and have a better mood. It’s no accident that most people tend to sleep at night and are awake during the day. Our sleep-wake cycle is determined by our circadian rhythm, the body’s internal clock. Like old-time clocks, this internal clock needs to be reset every day and is adjusted by first exposure to light in the morning. When people are checking their phones in bed or watching a movie before sleep it can have a negative effect on their ability to sleep and function properly.[4] A number of health problems are the consequence then.

This is why the timing of light should be the center of any sleep recommendations and is a central pillar of wellness: from circadian lighting to circadian diets to apps that use timed light doses to crush jet lag.

One simple hack you can start practicing today: Try leaving your phone in another room so you can relax before bed without technology? Give it a try and see if your sleep improves. Oh, and if you’d argue you need your phone for the alarm, we are confident you’ll hear it in the other room as well. 

But besides the impact of light on your sleep, it’s important to keep in mind that your diet influences the quality of sleep too. Focus on eating protein-rich (low in saturated fat) foods, fiber-rich foods, and on minimizing added sugar. This can possibly help you to balance your blood glucose levels and eventually result in a good night’s rest.

Minding your mind

Many of us are aware that our bodies and minds go together and it's important to take care of both. 

While it may not be a trend in the classical meaning, it’s great to see that In recent years mental health has become a more popular discussion point. Taking care of our mental health is one of the most important parts of self-care, and we are very much for it. We all have those moments when we feel overwhelmed and the pressures of life can all get too much. Maybe we’re afraid or feel embarrassed to admit it, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Look at the stories of Olympians who are strong and vulnerable. The fact that they prioritize their mental health is not weak; rather, they serve as an example. If you’re struggling with your mental health, we encourage you to share with someone you trust and reach out for professional help. You don’t have to struggle alone.

Remember: you can’t pour from an empty cup. 

Appearance

The future of skincare is digital. The use of technology (Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality) has a huge impact on the skincare world (to patients and dermatologists alike). Through AI brands are able to help customers become more beautiful and provide individualized skincare and treatment. 

In our next post, we’ll talk about how technology can help you take care of yourself using technology. Make sure to check it out

 


[1] Callaghan S, Lösch M, Pione A et al. Feeling good: The future of the $1.5 trillion wellness market. McKinsey & Company. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/consumer-packaged-goods/our-insights/feeling-good-the-future-of-the-1-5-trillion-wellness-market. Updated 8 April 2021. Accessed 20 September 2021.

[2] Katz DL. Diet Is the Single Most Important Predictor of Health. Altern Complement Ther. 2019. 25 ( 6) 280-284. http://doi.org/10.1089/act.2019.29244.dlk

[3] Becker S, Berg A, Kohli S et al. Sporting goods 2021: The next normal for an industry in flux. Mckinsey & Company. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/retail/our-insights/sporting-goods-2021-the-next-normal-for-an-industry-in-flux. Published 25 january 2021. Accessed 20 September 2021.

[4] Green A, Cohen-Zion M, Haim A, Dagan Y. Evening light exposure to computer screens disrupts human sleep, biological rhythms, and attention abilities. Chronobiol Int. 2017;34(7):855-865. doi:10.1080/07420528.2017.1324878