Spa & Wellness

Finding calm in 2021 with Prateek Kewalramani, Senior Manager of Middle East & Africa at Fitbit

Following an extraordinarily challenging year, many people will hope to move forward and build habits that will make 2021 a year full of gains. Improving physical fitness is always a popular resolution; however, it is equally important to improve and maintain our mental wellbeing.  

Finding your sense of calm is no easy task, but its importance has never been higher. Identifying and adopting healthy habits to manage stress, anxiety and the challenges modern life will be of utmost importance in 2021 and sticking to these habits will present another hurdle.

The pandemic accelerated health and tech innovation many folds. Within weeks of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 as a global pandemic, many technology companies across industries innovated rapidly and changed their focus to meet the growing market requirements. A recent Fitbit survey of more than 1,000 people in the UAE found that 18% of UAE participants were paying some attention to their personal health prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but now as we are learning to live longer term with the impact of the pandemic, more than half of respondents in the UAE (55%) stated that they are prioritising their personal health now more than ever. The year 2020 gave rise to innovation in the wearable industry. We saw advanced health smartwatches equipped with the world’s first electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor on a smartwatch to help manage stress and advanced heart rate tracking technology, and an on-wrist skin temperature sensor. 2021 is expected to be the year of gains since these innovations can support us to pay more attention to our overall health and wellbeing to gain more in the year to come.

Here are some new and unique ways to find calm in 2021.

Creating a smarter ‘to-do-list.’

How are you planning to start off 2021? The first step could be to create a smarter and attainable list of goals rather than a more complex and unrealistic list that could lead to stress. More focus should be given on how one can accomplish those goals rather than creating a long list that could later end up overwhelming and dreading ourselves.

Embracing the sense of routine

With remote studying and working continuing in 2021, many of us would often find it difficult to separate our work life and our personal life. Furthermore, having work mode on at home at irregular hours can lead to high levels of mental fatigue. Choosing to do everyday tasks mindfully at specific times can help in setting a daily routine and reduce anxiety. For example, completing tedious tasks such as cleaning the house, washing dishes or even simply washing your hands with intention could prove to be more calming than tiresome. You could even use your daily walk to practice mindfulness simply by being entirely present while doing so. Leave your phone at home and try taking a different route than you normally would.

Improving your sleep routines

While data shows that some people were sleeping more and getting better quality sleep during quarantine, it’s important to continue practising these healthy sleep habits. In contrast, if you are experiencing trouble sleeping, you are not alone. Stress causes the hormone levels in our body to behave irregularly, which can interrupt normal sleep cycles and result in short-term and long-term sleep deprivation. Some wearables provide limited time trials to a paid premium membership that provide advanced sleep analytics and guides to sleep better and even educate on the best habits for restful sleep.  

Practicing self-care every single day

It is important to reflect and focus on how you can take better care of yourself when you feel stressed or anxious. According to a study in the International Journal of Nursing Studies, self-care greatly improves our overall wellbeing and can also lower illness and healthcare costs. Self-care is also about building resilience to stress. The study also highlighted that “forming resilience in the face of stressful life events that interfere with self-care is one of the current challenges to self-care in modern life.” Practicing self-care is key to overcome this and requires recognising and consciously addressing the needs of your body, whatever they may be on a given day.

What’s great about self-care is that there are various options to choose from- meditating, drawing a long and calming bath, exercising or even going for a solo drive around your favourite parts of town. 

Improve your emotional wellbeing by using mindfulness tools

Deep guided breathing sessions can significantly reduce cortisol levels in the body. Smartwatch on-device tools offer guided breathing experiences such as Relax and combined with premium paid membership services, users can receive guidance to help you move more, manage stress, sleep better and eat well. These premium services provide access to video workouts, mindfulness sessions, guided programs and advanced sleep analytics for your overall health and wellbeing.

With the latest innovations in technology, advanced health smartwatches now have the capability to check your heart rate, sleep, and activity levels which directly impact your stress and overall health. These advanced health smartwatches can help you identify your stressors and build awareness of your emotional wellbeing, and in addition, give you a better understanding of when you feel your best. The last year has taught us new ways of living and even gave us opportunities to look forward; now is the time to make the best use of these innovative technologies for our overall health and wellbeing to make it a year of gains.


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David Tapley - Editor
Dubai-based editor for one of the region’s most fiercely local lifestyle publications across Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai and Qatar. Specialised in food, hospitality, arts, culture, and travel-related content.

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