We all know those women who look vibrant and happy like they’re “living their best life” as they get older. What’s their secret? Don’t be so quick to assume it must all be thanks to a fancy moisturizing cream or a meditation practice so intense that they’ve even mastered levitation.
The true key to aging gracefully is in our daily self-care habits. And the best part of all? It’s not actually that difficult! If you commit to working these 7 simple self-care practices into your day-to-day, you’ll find yourself looking and feeling amazing no matter how many birthdays go by!
How To Age Gracefully
1. Stay hydrated
Drinking enough water is vital to your physical and mental health – and for keeping your skin looking as smooth and youthful as possible. Your skin cells will actually respond better to moisturizers and other skincare products when you are properly hydrated. Drinking plenty of water will help every single cell in your body function more efficiently, and make it easier for your body to flush out the toxins that contribute to fatigue, illness, weight gain, and wrinkles.
Get in the habit of bringing a refillable bottle of water with you (and actually drinking it!) every time you leave the house. Make water breaks a pleasant part of your daily routine, such as having a glass of lemon water before breakfast every morning, or a champagne flute filled with sparkling water when you settle in with your favorite book or TV show in the evening.
If you tend to reach for soda, sweet tea, or other sugary drinks, start subbing them out for water instead. If you regularly drink coffee, soda, or alcohol, make sure you are taking in plenty of extra water to balance out their dehydrating effects.
2. Eat well
Keeping a healthy diet is one of the most important things you can do to stay looking and feeling fantastic. Sugar and processed foods don’t provide very much nutrition, and they rapidly age your cells. Focus on eating as many fresh, whole foods from the earth as possible.
Cook your food in oils made from “good fats,” like olive or coconut oil. And make sure your diet includes vitamins, essential minerals, and collagen (you can get these from over-the-counter supplements if you aren’t getting enough from the foods you’re eating). Your energy levels, ability to cope with stress, and overall appearance will improve dramatically if you keep your diet as clean and nutritious as possible.
3. Stay active
Staying active will keep your metabolism up, which translates to more energy, better sleep, an easier time maintaining your weight, and an overall sense of well-being. You don’t have to play a sport or run a marathon (unless that’s what you love doing!).
Any activity that gets your blood pumping will help you stay healthy and energetic, whether it’s swimming, dancing, or ice skating. Going on regular walks counts, too! So grab a friend, your dog, or your headphones and a podcast or favourite music and get outside (or onto the treadmill if it’s freezing or raining outside – don’t let the weather be an excuse for inactivity)!
4. Practice gratitude
Gratitude is the highest vibration there is, and it looks good on everyone! Whatever you focus your attention on will grow (and you’ll end up with more of it, for better or for worse). So consciously place your focus on the warmth you feel for the people, animals, places, activities, and things that you love, and you’ll feel the ripple effect in every corner of your life!
If there are things you want that you haven’t yet accomplished or received, imagine the feelings of gratitude you’ll be experiencing when those things do come to you. Before you know it, you’ll have more and more things to feel grateful for sailing into your life!
5. Keep in touch with friends
Having quality friendships is important at every stage of life, and this importance only increases as we get older! Studies have actually shown that women over 65 who have at least one strong friendship report higher levels of satisfaction with their lives and lower stress levels than women who rely on family ties alone for company. Make time for regular “friend dates” and phone calls with your best friends.
If you feel like you don’t have any close friends right now, you’ll thank yourself later if you go out and make some! Join a class, book club, or any other social group that sparks your interest, and you’ll soon be surrounded by people with whom you share at least one common interest.
Local libraries and recreation centers usually offer all sorts of interesting classes and meet-ups. The “events” section of Facebook is another great place to look for local get-togethers.
6. Keep up with brain-engaging hobbies
You’ve probably heard that your brain is like a muscle – if you don’t regularly use it, you’ll lose it! Keep your brain running at its best by regularly enjoying activities that stimulate creative thinking and/or problem-solving.
Some popular hobbies that keep your brain working include creative pursuits like knitting, sewing, painting, or even colouring, puzzle-solving activities like crosswords or sudoku, reading (pretty much anything – from Shakespeare to paperback mystery novels), and physical hobbies like dancing or hiking.
And don’t be afraid to try new things! Regularly challenging your brain will keep you on your toes and prevent you from falling into a boring rut.
7. Find healthy outlets to reduce stress
Stress and tension tend to get “stuck” in our bodies and it’s not a good look! Our cells actually break down faster when we are chronically stressed, which can make us look and feel much older than we are.
Obviously, reducing the known factors in your life that cause stress (toxic relationships, credit card debt, etc.) is a smart move. But to deal with the stresses that naturally go along with living life, make it a daily habit to practice at least one stress-busting activity every day.
Meditation (simple breathing exercises are good enough if you have trouble getting all the way into meditation), journaling, and yoga are all known to work wonders for building mindfulness. Keeping your awareness on how you feel in the present moment will help you leave behind the stressful world of worrying about “what if?” and continually replaying annoying or upsetting memories.
Positive thinking also has the power to make a huge difference in your overall happiness. If you tend to expect the worst or be a worrier, try to catch yourself and flip your negative thoughts around. Let yourself daydream about the best case scenarios instead! Just knowing that a positive outcome is a possibility can give you some peace, and make those doomsday scenarios feel far less intimidating.
You really can keep on looking and feeling your best if you show your body and brain the love they need. If you make these 7 self-care habits part of your daily life, soon everyone will be wondering what your secrets of success are!