As we head into 2024, we’re reflecting back on all we’ve learned this year, particularly in the realm of mental health. Once a taboo topic, mental health awareness has come a long way. Sure, there’s still progress to be made, but we’ve experienced some great success that deserves to be celebrated! From increased access to mental health resources to mental health initiatives in the workplace to a growing emphasis on self-care and mindfulness, the strides made in 2023 have reshaped the narrative around mental health. As mental health continues to become a popular and pressing topic of conversation, we’re taking a look at all of the successful mental health habits to take into 2024! Here’s to a world where mental health is a priority.
9 Mental Health Trends That Are Here to Stay
After many years of people-pleasing, over-committing to plans, and saying yes when we really want to say no, we’re finally learning to set healthy boundaries and prioritize self-care. While it’s notable to want to be everything for everyone, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Whether in your professional life, personal life, or social life, putting yourself last paves a path to burnout that will quickly take a toll on your well-being. The good news is that we’re seeing a push for self-care as not only a priority, but also a lifestyle. Whether it’s making time for meditation and breathwork, showering yourself with “little treats,” boundary setting, or improving sleep hygiene, the emphasis on self-care is only continuing to grow.
Exercising for Mental Health
In the past, exercise was largely focused on body image, burning calories, and torching fat. Plus, a common myth was that a ‘real’ or ‘good’ workout meant exercising for hours on end. Thankfully, we’re seeing a huge shift in mentality –— rather than working out to lose weight or look a certain way, more and more people are exercising for mental health! Thanks to viral TikTok trends like “silent walking,” “cozy cardio,” and “silly little walks” for mental health, more and more people are turning to exercise as a way to improve mental health in a relatable way. While encouraging movement, it’s made space for moments of mindfulness and presence during busy days.
Considering movement plays a vital role in mental health, boosting mood and energy, and reducing stress, we’re huge advocates of this mental health movement! Expect to see more mindful forms of movement like walking meditation, yin yoga, and resistance training for improved mental health.
Browse the For You category in the FitOn app for workout suggestions, or try a new workout experience to spice things up a bit!
Eating For Longevity
Similar to exercise, our goals for healthy eating have shifted. Rather than count calories, we’re counting nutrients and colors! The latest health food trends are centered around eating for longevity, with an emphasis on minimally processed whole foods, clean ingredient labels, and obtaining our foods from local and sustainable sources. What a welcomed mindset shift! Rather than restrictive eating, the focus has shifted to eating for nourishment and mental health — and even brands are getting on board. Expect to see increased superfoods and anti-aging nutrients, an emphasis on brain foods and gut health, and even store-bought foods with short ingredient lists and wholesome ingredients. More of this for 2024!
Taking a Social Media Fast
While social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, it’s becoming increasingly common to take a break from technology — a social media “fast” or “dopamine detox,” if you will. Amid the constant stream of information, curated content, and increased incidence of anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges associated with excessive screen time, individuals are recognizing the importance of stepping back and reclaiming a sense of balance.
This intentional break allows for a reset of both mental and emotional well-being, allowing individuals to step back, reevaluate their online habits, and reclaim mindful moments of real-life connection.
While you don’t have to call it quits on social media forever, consider taking periodic breaks. Whether it’s signing off for the weekend, going tech-free at a certain time every night, or doing a long-duration log-off every now and then, this is certainly a mental health habit we’re taking into the year ahead!
Mental Health Tech Going Mainstream
With the rise in telehealth, virtual technology, and AI, we’re seeing the crucial role that technology can play in supporting mental well-being. Convenience aside, mental health tech is breaking down barriers to seeking help, revolutionizing accessibility to resources, and normalizing the conversation around mental well-being. From virtual therapy to AI-driven mental health apps that allow for personalized interventions and insights, the world of mental health tech is rapidly evolving to meet the diverse needs of individuals seeking support. And good news — these innovative solutions are here to stay!
Worker Wellbeing: Mental Health in the Workplace
With heightened levels of employee stress, burnout, and overwhelm, mental health in the workplace has become a major topic of conversation. Recognizing the impact of stress on productivity and overall job satisfaction, employers are incorporating mental health resources into the workplace. This includes discussion of flexible schedules and remote work options, increased access to therapy and self-care services, and improved stress management resources. As mental health continues to be a top priority in the workplace, we’re certainly continuing this conversation well into the new year!
Less is More Mentality
Shifting away from our “hustle” culture (think: intense and long-lasting workouts, working around the clock, filling our calendars from dawn till dusk, and running on little to no sleep), we’re *finally* starting to realize that less is truly more!
This shift in mentality has given rise to more flexible work schedules, a healthy work-life balance, shorter-duration workouts (that have proven to be equally if not more effective), improved sleep-care and self-care, and generally being more than okay with doing less.
Social & Sober
The sober curiosity movement, in which people ditch alcohol for mental health benefits, has taken the world by storm. Non-alcoholic drinks and booze-free beverages have been steadily trending, causing tons of social drinkers to rethink their relationship with alcohol. And it’s a healthy mental health habit that’s here to stay.
Not only has this become a socially welcomed healthy alternative, but it’s helped break the stigma against a sober lifestyle. And you don’t have to be struggling with an addiction to jump on this trend, either. We’re seeing both adults and younger individuals opt for healthy mocktails over cocktails due to the mental health benefits, and brands are fully supporting this lifestyle shift! Botanical and functional beverages, non-alcoholic beers, and superfood-boosted bubbly beverages (made with the additions of brain-boosting adaptogens and nootropics) are all the rage. Bars and restaurants are even adding them to the menu, making it easy to stay sober and social! Expect to see this mental health trend soar into 2024.
More Time in Nature
Whether it’s sipping your morning coffee in the sunshine, taking your workout outdoors, or going on a mid-day walk, more time in nature is a mental health habit we’re taking into 2024. Shown to boost focus and concentration, reduce levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, and benefit overall well-being, fresh air, and sunshine are a prescription for good health!
While getting a daily dose of sunshine is ideal, it doesn’t have to be anything drastic! Studies show that even 120 minutes of time outside per week can positively benefit health and well-being — that’s less than 20 minutes per day! So just like we know we need to be moving our bodies regularly and eating wholesome, nourishing food, consider adding a bit of nature time to your daily routine to support both physical and mental wellness this year!
2024 Mental Health Trends to Watch For
Mental Health Through Mindfulness Practices
As mental health becomes more mainstream, expect to see an increased emphasis on mindfulness practices as a key trend in 2024. From guided meditations to corporate mindfulness initiatives to sound baths and breathwork, we’re integrating mindfulness into everyday routines and embracing it as a lifestyle rather than just a tool for stress relief. Want to start adding mindfulness to your daily routine? Sign up for FitOn and get access to free guided meditations and unlimited free workouts.
Accessible Treatment and Support Resources
From apps to products to virtual mental health resources, there’s a growing number of ways to seek support. Expect to see a rise in treatment options (both virtual and in-person), preventative mental health modalities, and new and expanded-upon interventions.
Of course, this includes improved technology, too! From advancements in AI and health tech to wearable technology to quick and cost-effective consults with medical professionals, the ways to seek support are limitless.
The Gut-Brain Connection
With growing research emphasizing the relationship between the gut and the brain as it relates to mental health, mood, and stress, expect to see a heightened focus on interventions that support a healthy gut. Think: probiotic and prebiotic-rich foods and supplements, gut-healthy lifestyle modifications, and even the emergence of new research surrounding psychobiotics, specialized probiotic strains thought to have neurological benefits.
Making Mental Health A Movement in 2024
Mental health is a serious and growing concern. While there are so many ways to boost your mental health and improve your overall well-being, it’s nothing to take lightly! Ignoring this important and prevalent topic will only exacerbate the already far-reaching mental health pandemic at hand. Luckily, we’ve seen a lot of promising progress over the past year, and we’re excited to see what’s in store for 2024. Here’s to another year of mental health progress!