The word anti-aging has long rubbed me the wrong way. Aging is a natural process that’s beyond our control, and if we live long enough we’ll all experience it. Yes. I know. Growing old gracefully is easier said than done. On occasion, I experience a slight pull from grace when I look into the mirror and see those dark circles forming underneath my eyes and the grey hairs shining on my hairline. However, I’ve learned to accept the fact that letting grace takeover allows me to fully love and appreciate the natural transformation that’s taking place in my body. You see, grace is a choice you make, chronological aging it not.
So rather than go against the grain of aging, I suggest going with the flow and freedom of aging. You’ll find there’s much more contentment there. There are tons available but here are 6 pro-aging practices for aging beautifully inside and out.
Dump that phrase “Act Your Age”
What the hell is this supposed to mean, anyway? Act my age. I could never understand those blogs with titles like, “10 (or whatever number) things people over 40 or 50 should never do.” Really?
The other day I listened to someone rant on Facebook about someone else not acting her age because of the makeup and clothing she chose to wear. You are as young or old as you feel. Only you can determine what that is for you and how it looks. Find what works for you. If you like chic, then cheers. Chic it out. If you’re into sporty, so be it. Don’t let others put you in a box in order to define who you are. You do that. That’s your privilege. That’s your choice to make.
Aging does not mean isolation. Finding like-minded people to connect with and doing meaningful work are keys to graceful aging. Attend events and functions. Mentoring young people can give you a chance to share your wisdom and expertise and simultaneously, learn fresh new perspectives from a new generation.
Social media platforms are a great way to connect and learn from new people. I’ve made so many amazing acquaintances from all over the world via Facebook and Instagram. The connecting power of social media is wondrous but be mindful of getting sucked into the wormhole of addiction. Pace yourself. Hop on with intention and hop off once your work is done.
Have dates and meetups with old and new friends and gather occasionally with family. Today’s youth-centric society can at times cause older individuals to withdraw from the limelight because they don’t feel valued. Find value in the things you do. There is incredible loneliness in isolation, and that’s not one bit healthy.
Take time for self
Take time for self. It is empowering. It is important. At every stage in your life, taking care of yourself should always be a priority. Examine the pillars that provide a foundation of self-care and determine which needs support and attention. Is it sustenance, recreation, finances, relationships, restorative practices or purpose? Do all areas need nurturing and to what degree? You decide. Left unattended, each of these areas can create enormous stressors in your life, and stress can definitely lead to premature and unhealthy aging.
Do more of what makes you happy. Find a hobby. Seek a promotion. Continue to work doing what you love in your 9 to 5. Be a mentor. Volunteer your time. Travel near and far, whatever your heart desires. Only you can determine what brings you happiness. Know your sweet spot and sweeten it.
It goes without saying that you are what you eat. You truly are. So nourishing your body inside and out is high on the list of pro-aging tips. Your cells age and that means you will inevitably age too. Eat foods that support healthy cellular reproduction. Yes, dark, green leafy veggies, foods that are colorful, and healthy carbs and fats. Your organs need certain minerals and vitamins to function optimally. That’s not to say you won’t splurge. Throw caution to the wind sometimes and splurge on some of your favorite foods. Food is to be enjoyed but know your limit.
Move Your Body
Move that body. Movement of any kind will increase the amount of oxygen moving into your body, which enhances the respiration process, by amplifying oxygen intake, blood circulation, energy production, and detoxification. You will feel more energized after incorporating some form of movement into your day. Walk, run, dance, swim, bike, box, whatever works for you, you should do. Healthy cells equal long-lasting cells and a healthier you.
Love The Skin You’re in
Everyone has their own ideas of what beauty is. And that’s ok. What’s important is knowing that you are beautiful and you don’t have to subscribe to anyone’s standard of beauty. Period. Love yourself unequivocally and unconditionally. Your size, your skin color, your height, your hair texture and everything about you at every stage in your life is beautifully packaged and presented in a body that’s You. Own it and live beautifully with and in it.
Loving the skin you’re in also means caring for the outer layer that protects your inner body. Failure to care for your skin will definitely lead to premature aging. Wear SPF to protect your body from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. Aside from reducing the risk of cancer, it’ll also help you avoid sun spots and premature wrinkling. Exfoliate both your lower body and face. Remove makeup before going to bed. Gently cleanse and moisturize your skin and drink lots of water. As we age our skin tends to lose moisture and become drier, and this also contributes to prematurely aging.
Be A Participant & Practioner In Your Health
You know your body best. At least you should. Pay attention to the signs that your body communicates to you and take action if and when necessary. Schedule annual visits with your primary care provider, gynecologist, schedule mammograms and other screenings that may be required and recommended.
Choose a doctor or practitioner that works well for you, one you can communicate with, effectively, one who will answer all of your questions and give you the best recommendations and course of treatment. Be forthright when you communicate with your practitioner and have the same requirement for them.
Ask questions; who, what, when, where, why. No question is a dumb one, especially if they concern your wellbeing. Take notes about unusual things that may be happening with your body so that you can effectively communicate them to your practitioner. The bottom line is, prevention is better than cure.
Dixie Lincoln- Nichols is a biological science educator, certified health coach and entrepreneur. Her work has been featured in media outlets like, Oprah Mag, SELF, Yahoo, Redbook, Natural Health, Instyle, Working Woman, Huffington Post, Essence Online, Tampa Tribune and more. She is currently the Chief Self-care Connoisseur and founder of I. O. Beauty Market, where she curates products that are free of toxic, harmful ingredients.