Let's get this out of the way: We're not trying to get you to try some fancy new workout or diet. Frankly, fitness-focused resolutions are a little tired, right? Instead, we're focusing on whole-body wellness in 2021, whether that means reading more, going on hikes, finally going to therapy or trying one of these on-the-up-and-up practices that we're excited to incorporate into our 2021 routine.
1. Streeeeeetch (with some help)
Stretching is one of the easiest and best things you can do for your body and yet most of us don't do it often enough. If you're so tight you require professional attention, consider Fascial Stretch Therapy. Fascia are the spiderweb-like connective tissues found in, around and between the joints, muscles and ligaments. Once you find a practice near you, all you have to do is lay down (clothes on) and try your best to relax, breathe and listen to directions. The FST instructor will swing, bend, twist, and twirl your ligaments into all kinds of positions generally suited for pretzels and circus performers. You'll leave the table feeling ten pounds lighter and three inches taller.
2. Soothe your mind with a sound bath
Sound baths have been trendy for a while (and have existed for centuries) and can be especially helpful for those who have trouble turning off their minds to meditate. Sounds baths are basically meditation classes that help you reach a deep meditative state with ambient sound, using repetitive notes at different frequencies to help bring your focus away from your thoughts. Founder of Wholistic Therapies
and antistress therapist Valeria Boyko offers weekly group gong baths
in Old Xuhui (as well as one-on-one and private group sessions) that will have you leaving feeling refreshed and relaxed.
3. Text your therapist
If mental health wasn't a priority for you before 2020, a global pandemic probably made it one. Luckily, the pandemic also forced traditional couch therapy to innovate and broaden its reach, leading to one of the biggest trends of the year: texting your therapist. While we can't say that texting will or should replace in-person visits, more affordable and easy access to mental health professionals is always a good thing. Want to give it a go? Ginger
, and TalkSpace
are just a few platforms that offer texting plans.
4. Get a full chart reading
Scoff all you want, but astrology is here to stay (it's been around since pre-colonial times after all), and a full chart reading can give you powerful insight into your personality, driving forces and emotional reactions. Practising for over five years, Shanghai-based astrologer Alex Wang (WeChat: alexs128099; email: email@example.com) offers full chart readings, introductions to astrology and more.
If apps are more your vibe, another option is the new app
from LA-based author and astrologer Chani Nicholas, which (with a subscription) includes a full-chart reading, guided meditations based on mood and need, and altar suggestions for each new and full moon as well as real-time, daily updates on how the planets are impacting you personally.
5. Sync your life with your cycle
Planning around your period that doesn't have anything to do with fertility? We're intrigued. Coined by In the Flow
author Alisa Vitti, cycle syncing is the practice of tailoring your daily life – including everything from diet to exercise to hobbies – to be in alignment with your menstrual cycle and the fluctuations in hormone and energy levels that happen over the course of 28 days(ish). The purported benefits of being in sync? You’ll avoid exercise-induced burnout, help to prevent injury and see results faster, according to Vittu's My Flo app
, which helps you learn what foods, exercise, work, social activities and love are best at each phase of your cycle (for full access, you'll need to subscribe).
6. Find utter stillness in a float spa
Photograph: courtesy Floatasian
Known to pamper sore muscles, help one relax and even boost creativity, float spas have been around for a while, but after a tumultuous 2020, maybe stillness is what you crave in 2021. Also known as sensory deprivation therapy, floatation therapy features futuristic-looking pods, filled with body-temperature water and Epsom salts, that are said to help you reach a state of tranquillity.
If you can manage to clear your mind (claustrophobic people should probably leave the lid open), then you're in for a peaceful, quiet hour of true rest. Test the waters at Floatasian
, where the first float is 488RMB, with package deals for more hours.
7. Track stress, not steps
Wearable technology allows us to track everything from our steps to our sleep cycle, but stress tracking is the trend of the year. Xiaomi's Mi Smart Band 5
tracks heart rate variability data and uses stress models to suggest when wearers should try to rest and relax or adjust their breathing. The new Apple Watch
uses a blood oxygen monitor to sense quick and shallow breathing and the new Fitbit Sense
tracks stress through electrodermal activity (aka how well skin conducts electricity).