Let me start by saying that anti-aging is over rated. There is far too much emphasis on looking young in our culture. Unfortunately, the messages go much further too. We also are told to be thinner, have perfect skin, smooth curves in the right places, but without cellulite. It is really out of hand, and if you aren’t careful it can make you feel like you don’t measure up.
I agree with Suze Orman:
Those of us who have reached midlife have earned our confident beauty. Embrace it. No one will notice the wrinkles when your face glows with a secure knowing. Sure, there are days when you are not so self-assured. When that happens, and you catch yourself feeling doubtful, think about how far you have come. Remember what you are grateful for.
If all else fails, put on a lovely blouse. Don’t you always feel pretty when you wear your favorite outfit, or you have a new haircut? Its not because of the clothes or the hair, its because you are happy and confident. Try noticing the women who seem most attractive to you next time you head out. The ones who others want to talk to, or who you have a twinge of envy of.
Do they meet the world’s standards of “perfect”? Ask yourself what caught your attention. Likely it was her cheerful attitude, her laugh, or her genuine interest in others as she made conversation. I doubt it was smooth wrinkle free skin, or her dress size.
I don’t recommend trying to defy age. Having a joy for life is the best anti-aging I can imagine. Taking time every day to cherish those you love, and enjoy the moment will do wonders for your complexion and the lines on your face.
However, if you are interested in aging gracefully, and looking your best at any stage of life, I do have a few suggestions.
1. Build muscle. For a strong healthy body well into your golden years, start now by lifting weight. You don’t really have to pump iron though, you can do bodyweight exercises, use resistance bands, or even yoga. The most important thing is to challenge your strength to improve and maintain graceful muscle tone.
As I’ve said before, you won’t get bulky, even if you tried. But, you will set yourself up for more independence in later years, and stave off osteoporosis. That is a big deal to start thinking about in perimenopause. Make sure you are also getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D.
2. Stress relief. Stress wreaks havoc on your health and hormones. Start a stress relieving practice before you really need it. Make it a part of your daily routine. It is always beneficial to take the time to relax, even if its just for 10 minutes of reading a good book.
3. Connect with people. Relationships are good medicine. According to Dr. Dean Ornish, in his book The Spectrum, he refers to studies linking connection and community with quantity as well as quality of life. He goes on to say,
I rate fairly high as an introvert. If you haven’t read Quiet, by Susan Cain you may not realize that only means being around people can drain my energy. It can be exhausting, but it is still really fun and important. My stress relieving time alone refuels me, but we all need time with friends and family. And that does not include Facebook, or even FaceTime.
You need to get face to face with people. Make some new friends, rekindle old friendships. Any lady who has enjoyed girls night out knows how young it makes you feel! Those good feelings have lasting effects on your health, especially your mind.
4. Moderate alcohol. I thought now (after mentioning girl’s night out) may be a good time to break the bad news. Alcohol is not so good for aging. Sure, there are studies that say its good for your heart, which is a debate for another post. But, one drink is enough for any benefit you may be seeking. After that, the effects quickly become heavily weighted on the negative side of the scale.
And no, if you didn’t drink Monday through Friday, you can’t cash in on the weekend. I know, its a bummer. Sorry.
5. Do I even need to mention smoking? If you smoke, you already know what a problem it is for your health. But hey, if looking older is the fuel that will make you stop lighting up instead of the fear of dying, then there you have it Grandma!
6. Protect your skin from the sun. Whether it is sunny or cloudy, winter or summer, you should be sure to shield your face from the sun’s rays. Many foundations include SPF, which is great from days when you are not outside for long. This protection also blocks the skin from absorbing vitamin D, so it is important to also allow some sun exposure, but it need not be on your face, or even your hands which show age prominently.
I vote we bring back the age of the parasol.
It is never too late to start protecting your skin health. Even if you have been tanning for years, you can halt the aging effects from the sun, and the possibility of skin cancer.
7. Sleep. As you know, your body is rebuilding while you sleep. When you give yourself at least eight hours to allow the cell turnover to take place, your skin will be in the best shape.
Did you find anything here that you can improve on? Maybe nothing here is big news to you. You likely realized all of this is good for you, even if you never considered how it can help you age beautifully. But, can I ask you something? Are you already committed to all of these practices? I’m not judging. I know I need to make more of an effort to connect with friends and family, and I have slacked off on my resistance exercising lately.
I hope that you have a renewed commitment to the areas where you are weaker. How about making a note to yourself right now that you will do it. Schedule it in today. I’m going to drop down and do some push ups as soon as I wrap this up.
Let me know what you will do to stay young and vivacious in the comments below. And, if you would love to transform midlife into a beautiful new beginning, then check out my homepage to sign up for The Cocoon Project. It's a free month long program. I think you'll like it!
Gorgeous cover image from seniors.lovetoknow.com.
Lady with parasol image by Ashley Groome.