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The 2020 “Best of the Best” in Health and Wellness

December 10, 2020

By Jocelyn Weiss, Ph.D., MPH, NBC-HWC

I know… it feels a little weird to imagine a “Best of” list for 2020. It has been a doozy of a year and there is no getting around that. COVID-19 has taken a toll on our physical, mental, and social well-being. That all said, we have also found new ways to connect, care for each other, and cultivate our resilience.

The 2020 “Best of the Best” in Health and Wellness


The benefits of mindfulness in our everyday lives cannot be overstated, but even more so during times of uncertainty, anxiety, and stress (Hello, 2020). The ability to stay in the present moment, focusing on what we can control, practicing gratitude, and choosing how we want to respond is critical to our resilience.

The 12 Best Meditation Apps For 2020 (Women’s Health)

20 Best Mindfulness Meditation Podcasts of 2020 (Positive Psychology)

The 7 Best Meditation Books of 2020 (Verywell Mind)


Like most other things in our lives, fitness looked very different in 2020. With gyms and group fitness classes shut down, home fitness took on a whole new look. Movement became even more important in supporting our physical and mental health. Walking and hiking took the lead in getting people outside their homes. The Peloton exercise bike took on a cult following, with sales tripling as COVID cases continued rising (and outdoor bikes sold out). Virtual streaming workouts (yoga, boot camp, trampoline, you name it) have helped to provide a sense of community even when we cannot work out together.

I Tried Several ‘Smart’ Fitness Machines (and Mirror) to Find Out What’s Worth It (New York Magazine)

Everything You Need to Know About the 13 Best At-Home Workout Programs (Self Magazine)

The 7 Budget-Friendly Essentials You’ll Need to Create a Home Gym (Thrillist)

Why the Trampoline is the Perfect At-Home Workout During Quarantine (Vogue)

Cooking and Baking

Instagram resembled a bakery window over the past year; it seemed like everyone (and their mother, sister, brother, and father) was baking bread. Yeast disappeared off shelves like hotcakes. We were all cooking at home and experimenting more. Here are some easy dinner recipes and healthy food blogs to keep the trend going. For those of you who want to hop on the baking train, there is a link for you as well.

80+ Lightning-Fast Weeknight Chicken Dinners To Add To Your Rotation (Delish)

23 Simple Sheet Pan Suppers (Southern Living)

93 Vegetarian Dinner Recipes We’ve Got on Repeat (Bon Appetit)

36 of Our Best Bread Recipes (NY Times Cooking)

The Top 40 Healthy Food Blogs to Follow Right Now (verywell fit)

Books and Journals

With more time at home, this past year also came more time to reflect, read, and write. Reading for pleasure has been associated with increased health and well-being, providing an escape from life’s everyday stresses, improving sleep, and slowing cognitive decline. Similarly, expressive writing (journaling) has been associated with reduced stress, improved immune function, a sharper memory, boosted mood, and strengthened emotional function. Here are some top books and journals you might consider for 2021.

Best books 2020: Winners of the Goodreads Choice Awards (NBC News)

Best New Books of 2020 (Harpers Bazaar)

The Pretty (and Practical) Journals We’re Shopping Now (My Domaine)

23 Best Journals That Will Motivate You to Write More (O The Oprah Magazine)

Subscription Boxes

Almost everyone likes to open a gift and be surprised – and with subscription boxes, we can have them sent to ourselves. With an estimated 400-600 different kinds of subscription boxes in the United States and internationally, just about every need, interest, and desire is covered: fashion, personal care, pets, food, crafts, teas, social consciousness, eco-consciousness, and more. Here are some boxes that focus on self-care, fitness, wellness, along with a few extra goodies.

12 Wellness Subscription Boxes to Boost Your Self-Care

13 Self-Care Subscription Boxes to Boost Your Wellness

13 Health and Fitness Subscriptions to Take Your Self-Care to the Next Level


40 Subscription Boxes That Are Probably Missing From Your Life

Wellness-Inspired Gifts

gift basket and presents

Thinking ahead to 2021 during the season of giving, you may want to consider wellness-inspired gifts for the people in your lives.

The 40 Best Fitness Gifts For The Workout Warrior In Your Life (Women’s Health Magazine)

The Best Fitness and Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas (Harpers Bazaar)

40 Wellness Gifts for the Health Fanatic in Your Life (Self Magazine)

Healthy Holiday Gift Guide (Four Wellness Co.)

Disclaimer: We have not utilized or evaluated every item in these lists and are in no manner endorsing them. We are sharing the resources for your own personal exploration in the hopes that you might find some that resonate and are supportive for you.


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