You need only to look as far as the magazine rack of a checkout counter to notice how much value society places on youth and anti-aging. However, the focus shouldn’t be on how to slather yourself with creams and starve yourself skinny to look more like the beautifully posed and retouched images on the cover of your favorite publication. Instead, you should embrace everything that comes with this stage of your life, and work to improve yourself from the inside.
Use the following tips to learn how to care for your body and mind as you age with beauty, grace, and wisdom.
Love the Skin You’re In
As your body’s largest organ, and the only one that everyone else can see, the argument could be made that your skin deserves your utmost attention every day. If you treat your skin with the care it deserves, it can better protect you. As you age, your skin naturally becomes thinner, making it more difficult for you to control certain functions, like bleeding or temperature control. Caring for your skin by nourishing it with proper nutrition, sun protection, and moisturizer not only helps you keep a youthful glow but also strengthens your protective barrier.
When looking in the mirror, you can appreciate how strong, clear, and healthy your skin looks. So what if you have a few laugh lines—that just means you have laughter in your life. In addition to a daily care routine, regular visits to your dermatologist for skin cancer screenings and other age-related conditions will help to protect your skin health.
Work Out Regularly
Part of looking and feeling younger is maintaining mobility and flexibility. Regular exercise significantly reduces your risk of muscle atrophy, and a routine cardio regimen improves your metabolic health. This means you’ll move faster, stand taller and retain energy longer than your sedentary counterparts. Exercise also helps to lower stress levels and elevate mood, which in turn leads to fewer forehead lines and wrinkles. Just a few hours a week is all you need to look and feel younger than you ever have. No need to sign up for a marathon—unless you want to.
Consuming enough water is essential for making sure your body and brain function normally as you age. Also, proper hydration helps to keep your skin healthy and reduces the appearance of aging. Doctors recommend eight to ten glasses of water per day for the average individual, but your intake should be determined by your activity level, your thirst, and how much you sweat throughout the day.
Remember that not all liquids are equally hydrating, as coffee and other caffeinated beverages can have opposite effects that damage your skin and make you look older. That’s not to say you shouldn’t enjoy your morning cup of joe each day—you deserve to have the things that make you happy. The key is balance and moderation.
Mind Your Mental Health
Managing your mental and emotional stress goes a long way toward living and aging well. Accepting yourself, your age, and your limitations leads to a positive outlook about aging in a society that pretends it’s not inevitable. Take the time to do the things you enjoy, spend time with loved ones or learn something new. Nothing makes you feel young like going back to school in your 50’s.
If loneliness is a factor in your life, consider adopting a pet to boost your mood. Furry friends are scientifically proven to lower stress and improve mental health. If you’re really struggling to embrace your age, you can also consider seeking the counsel of a licensed therapist. They can help you to resolve any pain from your past and show you how to recognize all the good things that come with getting older.
Personal care, hygiene, and appearance are certainly important, but graceful aging is about maintaining health and feeling good, not stressing over every spot, wrinkle, or fine line.