What defines a year? Most of us will probably look back at the last 12 months, remembering the royal engagement, a snap General Election and Donald Trump’s many tweets, and conclude it’s been a pretty tumultuous year.
But outside of the obvious viral news stories and big political events, there have been some lesser-celebrated trends that have contributed to the rich, if varied, tapestry of 2017.
There were workout trends we furiously sweated to, oh-so healthy drinks we smugly snapped on our Instagrams and strict lifestyle mantras we lived and breathed by.
So while last year was all about clean eating, mindful exercise and slugging down as many kale smoothies as your constitution could handle, this year has welcomed a whole swathe of new ways to live well. These are the ones we’ll look back on and remember...
We slipped on our cashmere pyjamas, we lit our scented candles and we bundled up in blankets on the sofa. Yes, 2016 was the year we all truly embraced hygge as a way of life. But somewhere along the way -probably after the 15th book on the subject - the mere mention of the word became like nails on a chalkboard to us. Thank goodness then, that living like a Dane quickly became passe and hot on its heels was a whole new glossary of cosy foreign buzzwords, each more unpronounceable than the last. Whether you lived with less under the rules of Swedish Lagom, got cosy with the Dutch Gezellig or slipped on a pair of cashmere socks and embraced Norwegian Koselig, one thing’s for certain: the shelf life of striking a happy work/life balance isn’t set to expire any time soon.
2. Turmeric lattes
If you’re still ‘gramming your smashed avocado on toast, you’re doing it all wrong. This year was all about letting the world know you were starting the day with a freshly brewed turmeric latte from a very serious, bearded barista. Made from a mixture of cold-pressed turmeric juice and almond, cashew or coconut milk, turmeric lattes became a staple drink in the diets of the wellness brigade. This magical morning brew has been praised for its antioxidant properties, ability to clear up skin breakouts and soothe the gut - oh, and it makes for one supremely smug Instagram post too. Who cares if it tastes like a milky chicken Biryani?
3. Bedtimes for our tech
After years of making them our unwavering bedfellows, we finally drew up some divorce rules with our smartphones.
As well as taking regular detoxes, we also put them “to bed” earlier than us, after studies revealed the pernicious effect all that scrolling was having on our mental health. Most phones went to bed a few hours before the rest of the household, giving beleaguered owners a few hours of respite from pinging WhatsApp conversations.
Some even went to the extent of sleeping in separate bedrooms from their phones, lest the urge to midnight scroll become too great. Expect to live with your phone even less next year.
4. Tracking your sleep
Once we bragged about all-nighters, but now sleep is the new status symbol - namely, how many hours you’re getting. If you weren’t investing in a sunrise alarm clock, you were probably downloading a sleep tracking app, trying a herbal remedy or meditating your way to a more a restful night’s kip. Sleep tech will further delve into the quality of your sleep next year, forcing you to consider more than just the hours you spend under the duvet. Prepare to reach new levels of obsession.
The latest cure-all to manage our spiralling sense of unease came in the form of adaptogens - edible herbs and roots that bolster the adrenal system and calm racing minds. They’ve been around for millennia, but Gwyneth Paltrow made them cool again via her blog Goop. Naturally, wellness devotees were quick to stock up on healing herbs like ashwagandha, ginseng, liquorice root, holy basil and cordyceps. Ancient man foraged for them in the ground, but luckily we had a much easier job getting them in our systems. This was the year we whizzed them up in shakes, took them in tablet form or glugged them on-the-go in cold-pressed juices and teas.
6. Going sober
Welcome to generation sober, where the average millennial consumes just five units of alcohol per week. After a report found that 70% of young people are more likely to brag about how long it’s been since they last drank, than how much they last drank, it became pretty clear that curtain was starting to fall on boozy nights out. Worrying about the well-documented long-term effects of drinking, many mindful youngsters shunned alcohol altogether in lieu of being “sober socialites” - meeting their friends at wellness festivals, fitness classes and healthy brunches instead.
7. Casual veganism
While a cruelty-free diet has, in the past, been associated with free-spirited individuals with hippy tendencies, now it couldn’t be trendier.
It’s one of Britain’s fastest growing lifestyle movements and, according to figures, the number of vegans in the UK has risen 350% over the past 10 years. Whether you stomped past the meat aisle in Tesco in solidarity with the animals, went down the flexitarian route or simply tried a couple of vegan options at a restaurant - this was the year for dipping your toe into the plant-based way of life.
After some serious backing from at least half a dozen Victoria’s Secret models with ultra-toned limbs, this was the year we all rushed to our local boxing rings and boutique gyms to jab and hook our way to a stronger, leaner physique. Standalone boxing studios opened, while gyms across the country fused boxing with non-contact sports to create mash-up boxing and yoga classes. Boxing might have ruled the roost last year, but 2018 will see a progression in martial arts disciplines and kickboxing. Get ready to fight harder and dirtier than ever.