6 Wellness Practices to Watch in 2021

Wellness is something that’s been on all our minds lately. In an ever-changing world that continues to throw new curveballs, society has pushed back with a mission to prioritize health in every sense of the word. Here are some of the physical, mental, and spiritual wellness trends we’ve got our eyes on for 2021.

Digital Cleanse

So-called “digital detoxes” have been en vogue even since before the pandemic. But since the stay-at-home lifestyle came about, sometimes our only portal to the world feels like the digital one. Now more than ever, it’s so important to manage digital input. While the affordances of social media have the ability to connect us to each other, digital input can quickly become overwhelming, isolating, and exhausting. In their Almost 30 podcast, wellness experts Krista Williams and Lindsey Simcik advocate for consciously setting boundaries: “A digital detox can be devoting a week, weekend, or even just a day to living without your phone, social media, and TV.” Taking the time to put your devices away, setting screen time limits, or temporarily deleting certain apps can go a long way in reconnecting with the present moment.

Augmented Tech Use

While digital cleanses are a straightforward way to provide tech-life balance, augmented tech use is a newer trend that addresses our needs to still interface with our electronics in a more mindful way. To combat fatigue and burnout, but still keep the practicality of staying plugged in, we look to the trend of using software extensions and accessories to improve our user experiences. This can be as simple as buying blue-light glasses to preserve vision and optical health, using adjustable or standing desks to improve our posture, and switching to ergonomic home office chairs. In terms of browser extensions we’ve been looking out for, apps like Oasis and Fresh Air offer guided wellness reminders every time you open a new tab.

Intuitive Eating

Dieting trends rise and fall away like the seasons. In 2021, a practice that we see outlasting temporary fads and trends is the practice of intuitive eating. Rather than quick fixes or monolithic ingredient binges, intuitive eating is a gentle approach to nutrition — it’s a patient and attentive process of listening to your body and understanding its unique needs. In an interview with Kitchn, certified dietician and eating counselor Christy Harrison explains, “I always say that intuitive eating is the default mode, the way we’re born knowing how to eat, before diet culture and its fatphobic and food-phobic beliefs take hold and mess up our relationships with food and our bodies.” Rather than a ‘miracle’ trend, intuitive eating is meant to be a natural state of honoring your hunger, forgoing calorie-counting for a healthy means of fullness.

Health Starts at Home

While self-care routines have been in the spotlight for the past couple of years, we’ve kept an eye on the growing popularity of “home-care.” The environmental equivalent to self-care, curating physically and spiritually comfortable living spaces has skyrocketed in importance after being under shelter-in-place orders. While residents of The Harrison already have aesthetics nailed down with posh interiors and luxury finishes, a way to take home health further is to invest in embellishments that meet spiritual needs. Decking out relaxation spaces with plantlife to clear the air, warm aromas from candles, cool scents from diffusers, and healing crystals are all popular ways to lean into home health. Ambient lighting setups also sets the mood of home health as well. 

Proactive and Preventative: Herbalism

Western medicine as we know it tends to be treatment-oriented and finding curative drugs after the health issue surfaces. Lately, with health and safety on the mind, folks are looking more towards Eastern medicinal approaches of preventative treatments and overall immunity-boosting herbalism. Eastern medicine is very holistic — rather than focusing on treating illness pharmaceutical drugs, preventative practice builds immunity by emphasizing stretching and exercise, sleep and rest, and body-fortifying supplements like  ginseng, turmeric and spirulina.

Wellness Travel

Looking towards the latter half of 2021 and beyond, once people are able to safely trot the globe once again, we foresee an uptick in wellness-focused travel. Travelers will be seeking more retreat-oriented trips to trek in natural splendor, meditate in gorgeous locations and soak in world-famous hot springs. While the word “travel” may evoke international sentiments, many will grasp opportunities for wellness tourism in their own locales. For residents of The Harrison, getting ahead of this trend is as simple as taking advantage of the building’s five-star amenities at your fingertips and venturing into the countless nature-steeped locales of the Bay Area.

Local Events To Check Out During Black History Month

February is a month dedicated to honoring the historical legacy of Black Americans and the African Diaspora. It’s a time to not only celebrate past achievements, but also to look inward in confronting inequalities and to look forward towards a greater future. The Bay Area has long been a hub of rich diasporic culture, and there are countless ways to engage with our community’s events, from digital museum exhibits to drive-in film screenings. 

Virtual Events

The Joyful Noise Gospel Singers Sundays

“Songs, Poems, and Stories of Black History” takes place at 4pm every Sunday this month. The upcoming February 21st presentation will be “Jim Crow, Work Songs, and the Blues,” with profiles on Fannie Lou Hamer and Bessie Smith. The final installation on February 28th features “The Civil Rights Movement: Freedom Songs,” with profiles of Bernice Johnson Reagon and Harry Belafonte. View here.

Food for the Soul: Screening of Aretha Franklin’s ‘Amazing Grace’

The Marin County Free Library is partnering with the County of Marin African American Employees Association to present an online screening of Aretha Franklin’s concert film, documenting her return to her gospel roots. The virtual event will take place on February 19th at 7pm.

African Roots and Rhythms with Unique Derique

Register to learn the art of Hambone body percussion from The Bay Area’s very own Unique Derique. There will also be a discussion of Hambone’s evolution in America through a presentation and performance suitable for all ages. The free event will take place on February 20th at 3pm. Register beforehand here.

The History of African Americans in Santa Clara County

Celebrated author and beloved local Jan Batiste Adkins will be hosting a program with the Los Altos History Museum to commemorate contributions by black visionaries in the Bay Area from 1777 to the present day. Told through photographs and stories of African-American pioneers of the region, Adkins will also offer research from her book, “African Americans of San Jose and Santa Clara County.” Taking place on February 24th at 5pm, the event may be accessed here.

Richmond Art Center Presents: Art of the African Diaspora

Richmond Art Center is hosting an online group exhibition now through May 16th, wherein artists will present virtual open studios, discussions and other events. The program includes “At This Very Moment: A Richmond Art Center Community Photo Project,” an exhibit of photographs by Richmond community members curated by Dawline-Jane Oni-Eseleh.

In-Person Events

KQED Presents: A Love Supreme, Black History Month Drive-In at Fort Mason

Mark your calendars for February 23rd, because KQED is hosting a drive-in movie night from 8-10pm. The program will feature shorts by local Black artists and a screening of WHEN THE WATERS GET DEEP, a film that revolves around the Oakland band, SOL Development. More details here.

Tomika Iyalla the Nigerian Queen Presents: Afro Groove

Immerse yourself into the culture of African dance with this in-person event. This is a unique opportunity to learn afro dance movement from areas ranging from Nigeria to South Africa. Taking place in an outdoor, distanced class setting, prepare to let loose and have fun! With masks and COVID safety measures in place, stop by on February 27th at 1pm. Details here.

Photo courtesy of the Richmond Art Center/Val Kai.
“The 2nd Line” by Val Kai is part of “Art of the African Diaspora” exhibition at the Richmond Art Center.

The Harrison’s Lunar New Year Guide: The Year of the Ox

One of the most profound parts of the San Francisco experience is the rich multicultural texture that makes up the fabric of the city. On the other side of the world from Asia, our city hosts one of the largest and oldest Lunar New Year celebrations in the world. No matter if you’re of Asian heritage or a San Francisco local that has had the pleasure of partaking in the culture, there’s plenty of good fortune this holiday season to be shared, even during the pandemic. From virtual events to prime takeout advice, here is The Harrison’s curated guide to this year’s celebration.

The Year of the Ox is said to follow a cultural tone of stability and nourishment — a nice reprieve from the tumultuous Year of the Rat we had in 2020. 

Digital Events

Virtual 2021 Chinese New Year Parade

San Francisco’s Chinatown on Thursday, February 11, is a self-guided walking tour of San Francisco’s Chinatown based on the book of the same title by award-winning author and photographer Dick Evans and celebrated journalist Kathy Chin Leong. Both a visual and literary journey into the “mélange of American and Chinese culture,” this is an immersive look at a beloved locale.

Lunar New Year Poetry and Calligraphy 

From the Asian Art Museum, the program Lunar New Year Poetry and Calligraphy will feature thematic works in both English and Mandarin from poets Michael Warr, Chun Yu, and calligrapher Aiqin Zhou on February 4th at 7:00pm. 

Chinese New Year Virtual Celebration

San Francisco Symphony’s Chinese New Year Virtual Celebration is a virtual concert hosted by Joan Chen, and featuring SF Symphony musicians, conductor Ming Luke, yangqin player Wenying Wu, erhu player Tao Shi, and other special guests. Tune in at 4:00pm on Feb. 20 and 27 on NBC Bay Area,  3:30 p.m. on Feb. 21 and Feb. 27 on KTSF 26.

Public Displays

The Year of the Ox on Parade

While San Francisco’s iconic annual Chinese New Year Festival and Parade are canceled due to the pandemic this year, The Chinese Chamber of Commerce of San Francisco is debuting a wonderful alternative: The Year of the Ox on Parade, a commission of 11 life-size ox sculptures that have been placed around the city. From now until March 14, prepare to embark on a sort of scavenger hunt to see all the oxen and scan their QR codes to learn more about each piece before they are auctioned off for charity.

Auspicious Eats

Eight Tables

Eight Tables by George Chen is offering a 5-course Chinese New Year meal for two, which may be pre-ordered online. Delight in rice-stuffed chicken wings, rose petal buns, and steamed ginger black cod among other delicacies.

Far East Cafe

Far East Cafe, one of the oldest banquet establishments in the city, is serving a Hong Kong specialty: poon choi, also known as a ‘treasure pot.’ Pre-order before 5 p.m. by calling 415-269-3960.

Image: Eight Tables Set Meal