The 10 Self-Care Ideas From 2023 We Predict Are Here To Stay
Our shopping and entertainment writer reports on science-backed practices and products that feel too good to give up in the new year.
It was true for mushroom coffee, cold-plunging, Barbie, 1989: 2023 has managed to convince us these long-beloved names are now officially carved in stone.
They all share something in common: Consuming them made us feel stronger. And, perhaps like you, I’ve treated 2023 as a year to make my strength, my energy—my mental and physical health—my first priority.
As a journalist who keeps contacts like Barbra Streisand’s facialist on my speed dial (more on that below), I’m always keen to try a new wellness trend—but, full transparency, my filter for what’s going to stick is pretty strict. (Case in point: I’ve climbed rock walls and tried the trapeze, but I have yet to pick up a pickleball racquet.)
From these primitive comebacks to the uber-current crazes, here I’ve rounded up the 2023 products and practices that I’m taking into 2024 and beyond.
Redwood Outdoors Alaskan Cold Plunge Kit
A team of sports medicine specialists reported in 2022 that ice baths have been around for thousands of years (the Greeks used them, and Hippocrates wrote about the medical benefits). But it wasn’t until recently, when multiple personalities I interviewed for The Healthy revealed that ice baths were a regular part of their routine.
FOX News correspondent Trey Yingst told us he takes cold showers when he’s unable to cold plunge to manage his anxiety when he’s covering conflict in the field; Tiffani Thiessen said it was a regular part of her regime, and Dancing With the Stars judge and former longtime dancer Derek Hough told me that he’s been doing ice baths for 15 to 20 years!
Science backs up the method and has shown the many benefits of cold-plunging: It can help itchy skin, your mental health, even weight loss. We’ll have a full report on my week of cold-plunging right after the holidays.
Technology finally feels like a genuinely holistic tool to optimize health, sleep and metabolism—and it actually makes a difference. I’d read how celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow used the Oura ring, a ring with sensors that tracks fitness, stress, sleep and monitors your heart rate and overnight blood oxygen level. Initially I’d dismissed this wearable as celebrities being over-the-top.
Then suddenly, I started spotting the rings everywhere: On other moms at school drop-off and even my yoga teachers. I finally decided to give it a shot and I’ll be honest, I’m obsessed. With all of new upgrades they’ve made to the Oura app, it’s really the best out there. The other day, I was getting my hair done and the Oura app gave me an alert: I’d been stationary (not great for anyone’s health) and needed to walk around—so I got up and stretched!
Oura has also been helping me get into a better sleep routine, along with another product farther down on this list.
Others live by the Whoop Strap, another tracking device that fits like a watch or bracelet. Jaipersaud Sugrim, a yoga teacher, longevity expert, and health coach who hosts The Art of Aging Mindfully podcast, recently wrote in his newsletter that his Whoop strap saved him from injury when it alerted him to a low heart rate variability, meaning his body needed to rest.
Then there’s the Lumen, which our senior editor loves. Lumen works similarly to a breathalyzer test, but it uses your breath to determine the real-time state your metabolism is in. This helps you gauge whether you’re in carb-burning or fat-burning mode and helps you track the effectiveness of your exercise. The funnest part is that Lumen runs on an app—setup is an easy step-by-step installation, and you’ll have checking your metabolism status throughout the day!
Smart Goggles by Therabody
The benefits of sleep cannot be overstated both for physical and mental health—and more of us are taking note. As the mother of two toddlers, I don’t get a whole lot of great sleep, which is why I really do my best to set myself up for success.
The team at Therabody are making some pretty awesome technology, including the SmartGoggles Eye Mask, which is as comfy as a sleep mask but adds warmth, vibrations and massage to help with headaches, prepare you for sleep or simply invite calmness and relieve anxiety. I was ready for a nap after just one minute of trying it—and my husband, who never wants anything to do with my various self-care devices, looked like he was in heaven! (Don’t underestimate the power of an eye massage!) I was so impressed with the effect that I gifted this to my mother in-law after her eye surgery.
Quiet Mind Weighted Pillow
Remember the comfort of going to bed with a stuffed animal? Well, at this point we’ve all heard of the weighted blanket, which can help relax the nervous system, but some find those claustrophobic. (I used one for a while, but I have a loved one who felt overheated when they used theirs.)
The weighted pillow is a spin on this, but is designed for the user to easily hug—an act that is scientifically shown to ease stress and anxiety. The founder’s invention was so innovative that GoPro founder Nick Woodman became the first investor.
Quiet Mind pillows come in three sizes, which makes them friendly to individuals of all sizes. A representative for the brand told us each pillow is made with high-density memory foam and recycled glass (but is super-soft!) and is washing machine-safe.
Moon Juice Magnesi-Om
Magnesium is finally getting the love it deserves after recent research has suggested almost half of Americans were at risk for magnesium deficiency.
When I was having trouble sleeping, I started take Moon Juice’s Magnesi-Om powder before bed, and it worked magic. It contains three bioavailable forms of magnesium, plus L-Theanine for relaxation, sleep, brain health, and regularity.
A Journal for Bad Days
As a writer, I’m obviously a big fan of writing out my thoughts. The power of journaling is the real deal and lately, it’s getting recommended by more and more therapists.
Gratitude journaling increases well-being, can improve social connections, relieves physical pain, helps heal from trauma, and more. Author Anna Kloots told us that journaling helped her heal from divorce.
If you don’t know where to start, look no further than the new book, A Journal for Bad Days by Eveline Helmink and Hilary Sheinbaum (who also authored The Dry Challenge). This guidebook offers 60 prompts on grief, living in the present, the benefits of crying, and the effects of an apology.
One Line a Day Journal
Five years ago when I became a mom, I started writing every single day in my One Line a Day journal, created for each of my children. I love this journal because it really takes the pressure off for those who don’t have a lot of time to sit down and dust off a pen. This is low-lift with high impact.
I simply write one line a day about something funny one of my little ones says, a meaningful revelation I’ve had about being a mother, or an activity we did that day. It’s become so routine while just taking a couple minutes that it feels similar to meditation for me. It will be a gift that my kids will have forever, and it’s been so meaningful and therapeutic for me as a way to make sure we remember the little moments by documenting this time in our family’s life.
Healthy kitchen upgrade
Is it just me, or have appliances suddenly gotten gorgeous?
Don’t underestimate the power of tiny kitchen upgrades to not only make you smile, but also make you want to cook healthy food more!
I am obsessed with everything that Our Place is making. Let’s start with the Wonder Oven, which I firmly believe could replace most toasters, because it’s so versatile and perfect for when you want to heat something quickly but don’t want to wait to preheat the oven.
The brand was started by Pakistani entrepreneur Shiza Shahid, who launched the brand “to build a bigger table, one that would have room for all of us,” the website explains. Our Place specifically works with women-owned manufacturing collectives, and I can personally attest that their pots and pans are as effective as they are beautiful—either way, you’ll be proud to take credit from your dinner guests (even when they’re your kids).
Scoozee Glass Cups with Lids
I also didn’t realize how happy a new set of glasses could make me. I absolutely love these Scoozee glass cups with lids, especially because I avoid the dangers of plastics at all costs, and they’re dishwasher safe. When I was drinking a matcha from one, my friend said, “Oh that’s what everyone on TikTok uses to show off their matcha.” I guess TikTok is right about something.
Epare Compost Bin
I’ve also been trying to get into composting more (thank you Tiffani Thiessen!), which is why I love Eparé Kitchen Compost Bin Countertop that fits right inside my kitchen cabinet. I take my compost straight from the kitchen to the farmers market for drop-off.
Nook Theory Reusable Shopping Bag
While I’m at the farmers market, filling my newly cute kitchen with healthy food has never been easier thanks to Nook Theory, who truly has the best grocery shopping bags I’ve found. Forget carrying a million tote bags around: This one won’t break and has pockets where you need them, insulation, and I swear your blueberries won’t spill!
Spa at home
PillowtalkDerm by Dr. Shereene Idriss Skin Care
A couple years ago I had a monthly subscription that was a pass to go to the spa every few weeks for a facial. But recently, with all of the new spa-quality products out there, I’ve stopped going. I can now get red-light therapy, microcurrent therapy and top-of-the-line skincare that I used to only get in a facial, all from home.
This year we interviewed the PillowtalkDerm Shereene Idriss, who I think is the best in the business, about her products: the Major Fade Solution System that includes the Major Fade Flash Mask, the Major Fade Hyper Serum, the Major Fade Active Seal, which all help with discoloration and hydration. Now she has her Depuffer roll-on serum. They all work (trust me, they’re part of my routine!) and the prices miraculously don’t break the bank.
For those who want spa-like treatment at home, the TheraFace Pro is a find. There’s a microcurrent ring that firms and tightens skin (I used to love that prickly feeling when I got facials), and you can switch out the ring for an LED red + infrared light option for wrinkles, LED blue light for acne, massage cones and even a cleansing ring for a spa-like cleanse. This hand-held device truly does it all.
Angela Caglia Super Anti-Aging Mask
If you want to chill and not do any of the work (like me), the Angela Caglia mask is the most beautiful LED face mask out there and one of the most effective: They proudly boast about having the most anti-aging LED lights of any flexible medical-grade silicone mask.
Angela Caglia is a celebrity facialist who’s worked with the likes of Barbra Streisand, Riley Keough, Sting, and Helena Christensen. As someone who loves my rituals and crystals, I also love that this mask has rose quartz in it. The pink color gives vibes that are more “princess” and less “Michael Myers,” which distinguishes it from so many other LED light masks on the market.
Mushroom lattes, mushroom chips and mushroom chocolates: The medicinal power of mushrooms has sprouted up everywhere this year. Dare I say I’m on board?
The Cleveland Clinic says benefits of mushroom coffee can include better sleep, reduced stress and inflammation, and a stronger immune system and memory. I love HigherDose and have been trying their matcha and coffee off and on throughout the year. I also often see it on menus around New York.
Popadelics is making crunchy mushroom chips that come in flavors like rosemary and truffle parm. These do not look like chips. They look like mushrooms that have been freeze-dried, and I really appreciate when my food looks like itself. I was shocked by how delicious they were and ate a bag one day as I was on the go—the perfect afternoon snack.
Alice Mushrooms is a super cool women-owned company that makes two different chocolates with mushrooms: One for focus, and one for sleep. The Brainstorm “focus” chocolate includes Lion’s Mane and cordyceps, while the Nightcap “sleep” chocolates include Reishi, chamomile, L-theanine, zinc and magnesium. I love the Nightcap one before bed, when I need just a little bit of sweets and relaxation.
Work it out
A lot of us got used to working out from home during the pandemic, and that’s remained a reliable go-to for plenty of us.
For anyone looking for at home workout videos, my favorite is SkyTing TV, which has a monthly or yearly subscription and hundreds of videos in their database of pilates, yoga, cardio, meditation, massage, restorative, prenatal yoga and more for any fitness level. I truly think they have the best teachers from around the world in their video library.
Liforme mats made our gift guide this year, but we’re also including them here because they truly are the best in their class. The mats are non-toxic, PVC-free, biodegradable, and they work like magic: They become grippier the more you sweat!
I’ve been seeing them everywhere, and companies have started to copy their alignment markers on their mats, which can help you avoid injury by keeping your alignment in check during poses.
TheraGun made a splash when it was launched, and truly nothing has come out that beats it in its class for an after workout massage. Instead, they just keep upgrading their original and making it better. Giving your fascia some love is not going away!
CastleFlexx is a device I discovered this year, which is a major upgrade on the yoga strap or resistance band and includes fans like Martha Stewart and Joe Rogan. The device hugs your toes and helps release muscle tension in your lower body to prevent injuries. It also optimizes joint flexion and extension—a great tool for those of us who want to keep our limbs young for as long as we can.
Drink to your health
Vive Organic Immune Support Shots
I love my rituals and routines, which often include a health drink throughout the day to pick me up and even make me healthier. I always try to choose fresh juices or smoothies when possible but fresh-pressed is the next best thing. I take a ginger shot every morning during flu season to keep my immunity in check and love Vive Organic Immune Support Shots, which I first tried from Whole Foods and discovered is available for delivery.
The benefits of matcha include preventing cardiovascular disease, lowering the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, and more. I’m a daily matcha drinker and a huge fan of MAKE Matcha, which just launched in fall 2023. It’s woman-founded, and their premium ceremonial matcha is phenomenal. It also comes it a gorgeous black container that you can refill with their matcha.
Another fact that makes this brand so good is that their tea master, Kobayashi, is a Level 10 dan Tea Master, which is the highest rank of Tea Master certification.
Qi Rose Flower Tea
If you think you’re seeing flowers everywhere in fashion, beauty and wellness, that rosy outlook is probably accurate. Roses have been used for healing for centuries, and at the moment they’re as hot as ever: Rose lattes, rose face masks, and my favorite, rose tea.
Qi Rose Flower Tea is the best I’ve found, which is why it made our gift guide, too. You place an entire dried rose inside a cup of hot water and stand back as your guests are amazed at the presentation. This tea is calming, yet produces a huge Wow with one ingredient. The roses are handpicked from the gardens of Shangri-la at 10,000 feet above sea level. They’re worth the effort!
Superfood Honey by Beekeeper’s Naturals
We can also thank flowers, and the bees, for bee propolis, which has surged in popularity within the beauty and wellness industry. Ancient Egyptians used honey topically for wound-healing, and I think they were onto something (some skincare lovers like me drop a little Manuka honey on a wound or blemish). In fact, Kendall Jenner recently shared that she makes her own avocado face mask using Superfood Honey by Beekeeper’s Naturals (we tried her recipe). Rich in antioxidants and antimicrobial properties, propolis is believed to promote skin healing, fight inflammation, and provide a natural glow.
Propolis has also gaining attention for its potential immune-boosting properties. Beekeeper’s Naturals says their product can help with chronic stress, poor sleep, digestive issues and scratchy throats. We love that they’re also third-party tested for pesticides.
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