Do you worry about getting older? Many women do. In fact, I believe we need more open discussions on how to age gracefully in healthy ways, because aging escapes no one. We don't get to stop the clock.
Here are some ways to develop a healthy attitude about getting older and love how you look and feel, once and for all.
1. Work on the inside out.
If you spoke with any dermatologist, you’d quickly find out that how your skin looks isn’t all about cosmetic products on your shelf or a cosmetic procedure, but what foods are going into your body. When you eat lots of fruits and veggies of various colors, your healthy choices show up externally. Your skin can retain more of its youthfulness when you eat healthy, and you'll have increased energy. You can retain your sense of vitality by eating healthy foods. In addition to clean eating, I personally take fish oil and collagen (over-the-counter supplements) to help with healthy skin, hair and nails. I've noticed improvement!
Back to your skin — how much water you consume is also reflected in how your skin appears. And drinking water is beneficial in many additional ways. It can make you feel fuller faster so you are less likely to overeat, it detoxifies the body and it protects and moisturizes joints. Drink water daily as a natural way to improve your appearance.
3. Forget being perfect.
I confess that I am recovering perfectionist. Today, I'm less worried about what others think about me, as long as I’m proud of my behavior. It’s like parenting teenagers who think your every move is embarrassing, but you just don’t care. You're OK with it because you don’t have to look perfect.
I believe being strong is sexy, and beauty truly comes from within. I no longer have to have the perfect outfit every day. I’m OK sharing my aging woes. Age is just a number, but since 50 is now closer than 40, I'm OK admitting in my fitness classes that my back is bad and my shoulder is sore. You should be OK with who you are, too. Forget trying to be perfect. None of us can win that battle.
4. Focus on exercise you love.
When you find a form of exercise you love, you're more likely to stick with it no matter what your age, and regular exercise means you'll age more gracefully — period. Try some different forms of exercise until you find one you love, so you're less likely to skip your workouts. Exercise comes in all forms. Listen to your body and do what feels good. If your knees or back can't take running, then try something else. Not only does exercise help you retain muscle as you age (and keep you looking younger) it also helps you maintain a positive outlook and boosts your energy level.
5. Don’t discount the importance of sleep.
You already know you need to eat healthy and exercise, but sleep is the third part of the equation in living a healthy life. Strive for an average of seven hours a night. Proper sleep can prevent weight gain, alleviate stress and boost your energy throughout the day. I personally find that when I create a more relaxing sleep environment, I sleep better. Try removing your electronics from your bedroom, or try a new pillow.
6. Notice what you like.
Even women in their 40s (and that’s not old!) can look into the mirror and only notice perceived flaws, or obsess over how they don’t look 20 anymore. Yeah, I have to color my gray roots every three weeks, and my smile lines are getting deeper … but what about noticing all of the good things instead? Have you ever approached a mirror with a more positive attitude? List the things you like about you. Play up the attributes you like. Repeat positive thoughts about yourself inside your head and try to make it a habit. You're with yourself all day every day. Make your mind a friendly place to hang out.
I think if more women talked and shared their experiences openly about getting older, fewer women would feel alone in the journey. With the support and humor of other women, maybe we can reduce the pressure in thinking we need to look like we're in our 20s when we're in our 40s or 50s. We can understand aging as something no one can avoid, and we can embrace it by holding on to our health as long as we can — instead of trying to stop the clock. Together we all can age gracefully with energy and good health for decades to come.
What's your best tip to age gracefully?