“The new normal” is now an ever-changing destination. During the past two years, seemingly, each time we reached some semblance of stability — at work, in our personal lives, in our collective approach to combatting the pandemic — a new variant, a new curveball, a new complication upended our short-lived status.

Certainly, no two individuals have experienced the pandemic the same way, and the pandemic is a disruptive force that will continue to shape society for years to come. But when we take a step back and reflect on the massive changes we’ve undergone — individually and collectively — some common themes begin to emerge, especially in how we have revolutionized our perspectives and behaviors related to health and wellness.

At Thorne HealthTech, we’re excited to launch the 2021 Wellth Report, a comprehensive study that details the new priorities and approaches to wellness that individuals have adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic. These shifts are stark, and they reveal that many individuals are personalizing and optimizing their health like never before. The key findings are fascinating and speak to an emerging “renaissance” in wellness.

Wellness: the new cultural currency

Take a moment to think how prominently health and wellness have risen to the forefront of our cultural consciousness. For many, pre-pandemic sanitization was an afterthought, mask-wearing was rare, and — let’s be honest — powering through at the office with the sniffles and a sore throat was not uncommon. 

There have been both prominent and subtle ways health has become a priority for many. Today, remaining physically healthy is a must. We’re finally having necessary (and long overdue) conversations about mental health. And individuals are turning to their communities more than ever (54 percent say socialization is important for improving physical health and nutrition) to improve their wellness.

Our report also finds the majority of U.S. adults (67%) say the pandemic has negatively impacted at least one aspect of their health and wellness this year. But the good news? Most individuals (89%) have tried to improve at least one area of their health. This is especially true of Millennials (95%).

Sleep & stress: a symbiotic correlation

Despite the strong desire to lead healthier lifestyles, sleep quality and mental health remain major challenges. The 2021 Wellth Report reveals something many of us might have already intuitively known: When you’re stressed, your sleep suffers. And when you can’t sleep, you’re more easily stressed. It’s an unfortunate symbiotic correlation.

Eighty-nine percent of adults rate their sleep quality and mental health either fair or poor. And these numbers are higher for women, younger individuals, and those in lower income brackets. Respondents articulated how stress negatively impacts all aspects of their health and wellness, including sleep quality — and vice versa.

The control divide: taking the reins of our health issues

Unfortunately, in the same way we have witnessed real inequality in many aspects of society throughout the pandemic, we have also observed a similar trend as it relates to mental health, stress, and sleep. This is what we call the “control divide” — the gap in the ability of individuals to believe they are in control of their health.

Millennials (36%), women (47%), and individuals with incomes less than $50,000 (43%) are less likely to believe their stress levels are within their control. The same goes for these same demographics regarding the belief they can control the quality of their sleep. Addressing these disparities should be a major social consideration, because they are paramount in helping to build a healthier society and workplaces.

Supplements, exercise, and new, healthy habits will see us through 

The good news? Almost all people are eager and ready to live a healthier life, despite the acknowledgment that the pandemic will continue for the foreseeable future. 

Sixty-two percent of adults are highly likely to try new tools to achieve their health and wellness goals in the next six months. Three in five adults are very interested in incorporating supplements into their daily routine, while women, Gen Z’ers, and millennials report even higher interest in taking supplements. Having more energy and better immune function remain the most popular areas for supplementing. In addition, looking ahead the next six months, more than one-third rank improving sleep quality and reducing stress among their top three health and wellness priorities.

We are in a wellness renaissance

Almost 11 months ago, Thorne and Onegevity combined to create Thorne HealthTech, a company with a mission to create a total system of wellbeing that provides individuals with a personalized, science-driven approach to health. In addition to progressing our world-class research area, Thorne HealthTech will continue to track ever-changing health attitudes and behaviors.

It’s clearer than ever before that we are in a wellness “renaissance,” where individuals, communities, and organizations are fundamentally reimagining what wellness means. Despite it taking a global health crisis for many to realize the importance of science and health, we nonetheless have the optimal opportunity to shape the future we want — and prioritize building a world predicated on personalized, science-driven approaches to healthy aging.

Dive into the full report here.