Recuperate Living - macro trend

Written by Sofie Brodén

Recuperate Living is about the rising focus on,  and people’s need for,  mental and physical wellbeing,  with recuperate meaning recover or regain.  As a result of the pandemic,  our collective concern about feeling well is likely to accelerate expectations that commercial spaces,  experiences,  services,  and objects should support us in restoring our health. 

How can brands respond to and evolve relevant offers that address this mindset? 


Mental wellbeing is increasingly in focus 

Over the past 5 years,  the Google searches for ‘mental wellbeing’ have steadily climbed.  While consumers have been exploring various non-clinical ways in how to feel well,  calm, and mentally fulfilled over the years – either through meditation,  diets, etc.  – the Covid-19 pandemic has turned much of our efforts on its head by forcing us into lockdowns and self-isolation at home. 

Google Trends searches ‘mental wellbeing’ Worldwide in 5years,  two major peaks during May and September 2020, following the first and second wave of strict lockdowns


Mitigating “the 4th wave”

Some of us might’ve been happy with the slower pace and extra time for self-reflection over the past 1,5 years,  while it has taken a greater toll on others – not only because of being hindered from seeing close friends and family,  add on the stress of falling seriously ill,  losing a loved one or a job.  Newspapers like The Guardian and NY Times have even written of the negative psychological impacts of the pandemic as ‘the hidden ”fourth wave”.


Mental illness less taboo – moving into the mainstream

Before the pandemic,  the world saw an intensified focus on stress,  burnout, and loneliness levels rising.  While stress depends on a variety of factors for each individual,  the awakening to the importance of sleep,  less screen-time or having a clutter-free home – in parallel with mental illness becoming destigmatized – has not only paved the way for Marie Kondo but for multiple businesses and entrepreneurs to offer all kinds of non-clinical solutions to support and restore consumers mental health.  For example,  Netflix partnered with Headspace to launch a three-program meditation series in 2021.


Every brand will be a health brand  

Although the activities that are proven to prevent mental illness are free (i.e. exercise,  spending time in nature or with close friends and family),  people seem to both be looking for,  and expecting help from brands (even from outside the traditional wellness industry) to cope with everyday challenges. 

While the mental wellness industry has been rather vaguely defined in the past,  initial figures are big and will likely only grow bigger,  as brands have started to rethink how products,  services,  experiences,  and physical spaces can respond to mental (and physical) wellness needs. 


Some examples of initiatives that aim to restore our minds,  bodies,  and spirits:

Thoughtfully designed tech – Consumer electronic brands are making products less intrusive by using natural materials and aesthetics, like Bang & Olufsen; Beosound Balance speaker, in materials such as oak and knitted textiles.
Art installations with a calming purposeBreathing Pavillion public art installation in Brooklyn, March-May 2021, that guides onlookers into a collective breathing exercise through light fixtures.
Music as therapy – New forms of therapy emerge, Wavepaths is pioneering a new approach to mental health and wellbeing, offering meditative journeys using ambient music.


Future possibilities for responding to needs and moods at the moment

With the pandemic further accelerating consumer’s mental (and physical) wellness needs and continuous advancements in material and tech innovations – brands are uncovering growth opportunities to present genuine solutions for consumer’s ‘recuperate living’ in the coming years.

In a world with a growing understanding of the therapeutic elements of our environments (light,  sound,  materials,  colors,  etc) and having increasingly powerful connectivity,  networks,  and virtual experiences at our hands – it will be possible to design buildings,  hyper-personal devices,  and products that instantly adjust and respond to health needs (see some early examples below).

Seymourpowell Atmosphère smart chaise lounge
Care OS Themis mirror


Join the discussion: How could your brand…

  • … deliver tangible wellness benefits for both employees and customers, eg by consciously adding sensorial elements across physical touchpoints (products, packaging, retail, and/or office spaces)? 
  • … make digitally-led service interactions respond to your customer’s mental needs and wants in a non-intrusive, yet personal way?
  • … ensure transparency in marketing messages to avoid ‘wellness washing’ becoming the new ‘green washing’?


Sofie Brodén, Insight & Foresight Manager