Health and wellness predictions for women in 2022
2021 taught us to prioritise our wellbeing, while home rituals gave new meaning to self-care. But what does 2022 have in store?
The health and wellness industry has gained popularity in recent years, but the concept of wellness has been around for a lot longer. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda have been in existence for thousands of years. Both recognise wellness from a holistic perspective: encouraging harmony in your life by considering the mind, body, and spirit. And we think this will be a big theme in 2022.
Health and wellness landscape
So much of our modern medicine focuses on a single body system (like the cardiovascular system) when treating disease. But your body contains a complex set of organs and processes, which means we should treat every person as a whole being.
Incredible advances from the medical community in the 20th and 21st centuries (thankfully) replaced harmful practices from the 1800s like sorting out our poor water sanitation systems and curing deadly diseases by effective vaccination programmes.
Nowadays, though, we’re more likely to see an increase in a different type of illness: stress. With continuous stress, and being switched on 24/7, we find ourselves at risk of chronic illnesses. Our lives are busier than ever, and we’re trying to hold down the fort on our own; we no longer have the comfort of a solid community to rely on.
The lockdowns that COVID-19 brought have shown us the fragility of our life, causing us to re-evaluate how we want to live and work. Some have embraced remote working, while others crave the social connection that you get from getting out and about.
So, where does this lead us to in 2022?
Health and wellness predictions for 2022
We are beginning to realise that what keeps our neighbour or co-worker healthy may not always work for us.
Personalised health means being aware of what benefits and harms your body, and it goes a long way in figuring out if exercises or diets work in your favour.
Tracking wellness data allows you to visualise how your health progresses over a long period. This can be as simple as the step counter on your phone or using an app to measure your sleeping habits. By seeing trends, you can pinpoint areas to improve on, such as going for a run before work rather than after work, when you’re feeling more tired.
Blood tests aren’t just for when something goes wrong either. Completing an annual blood test, like an Advanced Well Woman’s Blood Test, may show areas where you could be at risk of diseases such as diabetes or heart disease. You can then take steps to improve your blood markers by modifying lifestyle choices like your diet or choosing a new form of exercise.
Digging into personalised health will make you proactive, not reactive. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, so it’s better to get ahead of the health curve!
The uncertain and extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic have brought a whole new meaning to the word stress. The repeated lockdowns and changing restrictions may have made you more aware of what makes you feel stressed.
We think that stress tracking will become much more mainstream in 2022. Friends, family, workplaces, and communities will feel much more comfortable talking openly about stress. Stress tracking can be done in a number of ways too, from keeping notes on your calendar to planning a journal into your daily routine.
If you’ve had to adapt to working from home, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you like that your workspace is in the comfort of your own home?
- How do you stay connected to your co-workers?
- What helps you switch off from work (or stress)?
Whatever you’ve discovered about yourself these past couple of years, use it to take you forward into a better 2022.
Finding ways to reduce or remove stress is easier said than done. There are a few methods you can use but remember not to overwhelm yourself. Even these small things can do a world of good in reducing stress and help you live a balanced life centred around your wellness. Pick one or two new habits to get the ball rolling.
Ways to reduce stress:
- Get a good sleep routine down
- Pencil in some catch-up sessions with your nearest and dearest
- Focus on what you’re putting in your body, from food to the media you consume
- Make time for exercise, whether it’s getting out for a walk, cycle, or a new yoga class
Sometimes you might feel exhausted or anxious or notice some weight gain after a prolonged period of high stress. Despite your best efforts, these symptoms might not disappear. It’s always better to speak to your doctor to check if there’s an underlying condition to your stress.
With Medichecks’ Cortisol Stress Tests (4), you can track your cortisol levels at four points throughout the day. Cortisol is a hormone your adrenal glands produce under stress, but too much of it for a long period can damage your health.
Exploring the great outdoors
If the lockdowns have taught us anything, it’s how much we appreciate the great outdoors. If you’re sick of taking your daily walk around your neighbourhood, perhaps it’s time to try something new, such as:
- Join a local walking group
- Explore a hiking path
- Take up cold water swimming
It’s amazing how being outside in nature has so many health benefits. Even introducing the outdoors into your home, like plants or allowing more natural light into the room, can work wonders in reducing stress.
Benefits of being in nature:
- Boost your mood
- Help you to feel grounded
- Regulate your heart rate
- Reduce blood pressure
Focus on period health
Getting to know your period is essential to living a well-rounded life. There may be times throughout your cycle where you feel worse, like just before your period. On the flip side, you might feel like you’re at the top of your game around ovulation time when your oestrogen levels are at their highest. Your menstrual cycle can affect so many parts of your body, from your mental health to how much pain you feel. It’s important to understand your body’s natural peaks and troughs and how these affect you.
There are plenty of apps that can help track and predict your period like Flo. And most of these apps will allow you to track the symptoms you get throughout the cycle. If you find that your period is irregular or your symptoms aren’t getting better with reduced stress and better sleep, you might need to investigate a little further.
Checking your hormone levels is important to make sure there’s no other underlying condition for the way you feel. Medichecks offers an Advanced Female Hormone Blood Test that includes male and female hormones, with a full thyroid function (with antibodies) test.
Once you know the natural rhythm of your cycle, you can plan for when you want to do certain activities, such as exercising. Learning to work with your body and not against it can help improve your quality of life.
Adaptogens: anti-stress herbs
Adaptogens are herbs that improve your body’s response to stress by regulating the chemicals involved in the stress response. Within your blood vessels and tissues, stress is controlled by a complex mix of different chemicals and their receptors. By moderating either the chemicals or their receptors, adaptogens can help improve your resilience to stress.
Many modern medicines come from natural beginnings, like plant extracts and fungi, so it’s not difficult to imagine that adaptogens can help with stress. Your body contains a whole host of intricate chemical reactions that drugs are designed to alter to relieve symptoms or improve your health. The medications you get from your pharmacy have gone through a rigorous process of clinical trials for safety and efficacy before they reach your hands, so keep this in mind when thinking of trying a herbal product.
If you’d like to try an adaptogen, it’s a good idea to do your research from reputable sources before taking anything new. If you have any pre-existing health conditions, speak to your doctor or pharmacist before trying a new product.
- How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing? – University of Minnesota [accessed Dec 2021] https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing
- COVIDmenses study [accessed Dec 2021] https://covidmenses.org/
- New Study to Evaluate COVID-19 Vaccination and Menstrual Irregularities – The Vagenda by Dr Jennifer Gunter [accessed Dec 2021] https://vajenda.substack.com/p/new-study-to-evaluate-covid-19-vaccination
- Panossian, A. and Wikman, G., 2010. Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity. Pharmaceuticals, 3(1), pp.188-224.