I wish to be just as happy, healthy and strong as the grandma featured above when I reach her age…
The photos I’ve attached in this post were taken 8 years ago and although I still have one more year left before I turn 30, I can’t help but feel kind of old. I know some people will be outraged when they hear me say that I feel old…‘How dare you feel old? You’re not even in your 60’s yet!’. To be honest, I don’t think my physical appearance has changed that much since these photos were taken. As a matter of fact, the other day, I was buying a box of Paracetamol from Asda and the store clerk asked me for my ID which I didn’t have at the time. I asked him, ‘What? How old do you think I am?’ and he replied with ‘Honestly, I think you look 16.’ My annoyance towards him soon turned into appreciation.
It’s a little bit like a battle inside though…on the one hand, I’m happy to be getting older but the physical effects of ageing is definitely something scary especially for women because we are judged more for our appearance than men are. It’s not right but unfortunately… in most cases, it’s just a sad fact. I’m grateful for my fiance patiently picking out the most exposed grey hairs for me. When I first saw a few grey hairs come out two years ago, I wasn’t phased at all but I have noticed a few come out of the top recently and I’ll be honest, it did worry me a little. Luckily, my greys are still hidden away and my hair is thick so I don’t have to worry about dyeing my hair any time soon (fingers crossed).
In this post, I will let you know how I keep young and the ways I celebrate this beautiful thing called ‘ageing’
Eat healthy and ditch the sugar
I saw a post about a woman called Carolyn Hartz, a 70 year old woman who looks like she’s only in her early 40’s because she cut sugar from her diet 28 years ago. She says that her secret is using an alternative to sugar which is a sweetener called Xylitol– an all natural sugar found in some vegetables and berries (great antioxidants too). She was a sugar lover who ate plenty of sweet treats in the past but she was able to avoid sugary foods so if she can do it, so can we! I believe that sugar makes us feel sluggish and can give us that instant boost of energy only to make us crash straight after. Research also suggest that sugar attacks proteins and elastin which are essential for keeping us youthful. If you can, lower your sugar intake or take it out of your diet completely. If you have sudden sugar cravings and feel like reaching for junk foods and chocolate bars, eat fruits instead.
This is Xylitol, the natural sweetener by Now Real Food. Available from www.uk.iherb.com for £8.34
Meditate and Sleep Well
My mother always tells me not to worry about things too much and she’s right. I can be a bit emotional at times and cry over fictional movies involving abandoned or dying animals. Stress is a part of everyone’s life. It doesn’t matter how big or small your worries are… it’s important to remember that worrying doesn’t help anything. Stress drains your mental energy which causes your physical energy to deteriorate too. When I’m stressed, my neck and shoulders become stiff and painful. If you find yourself in a place where you find it hard to switch off and get rid of your anxiety, meditate.
Meditation soothes the soul and calms your nerves. Take a minute to breathe in and out deeply in the bathroom if you’re feeling stressed at work. At home, meditate before you go to bed for a good night’s rest and in a drowsy sleepy state, think of the things you wish to achieve. Imagine you’re in a beach enjoying the sun or swimming in the sea with dolphins…imagine that you’re doing whatever makes you happy. If you do this, you will notice your body and mind slowly calm and you won’t have nightmares or broken sleep. The adrenaline produced by your body when you’re stressed because of our natural fight or flight response will slowly disappear. Take a few moments to meditate and stay in the present moment. The less anxious you feel, the more sleep you will get which means more energy for you to keep active, stay youthful and healthy.
Keep moving so exercise and travel
My favourite form of exercise is Yoga. It’s a low intensity workout which you can also mix in with meditation. If you’re like me who loves stretching those stiff muscles caused by tension or working in front of a computer for hours, I definitely recommend for you to try Yoga. Stretching helps to loosen and relax your muscles and joints. It also promotes better blood circulation. A lot of older people love Yoga too because it doesn’t ask too much from your body so even if you’re a little frail and have joint problems, you can slowly do Yoga and achieve good results too. You don’t have to run a marathon to be healthy. Simple stretches at home will work so make sure to give yourself some time to stretch especially in the morning. If you want to go running, that’s great too as long as you do what you feel is right for you! Exercising outdoors is good because you get to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the outdoor scenery at the same time as working out. I recommend doing Yoga and Tai-Chi if you want to do low intensity workouts outdoors. Yoga doesn’t mean you have to do it indoors. If you’re not into exercising and you’re like some people who really hate moving, travel instead by walking around and exploring your neighbourhood or different cities. Go out to see museums for free, go to an outdoor market near you and see what they have in store for you. Walk your dog or if you don’t have a dog, get paid to walk other people’s dogs. A bit of walking here and there is better than not walking or moving at all. Some people even consider shopping as a great way of exercising…and honestly, that’s fine…(as long as you can afford it) whatever works for you as long as you keep moving.
Look after your skin and ditch the heavy makeup
When it comes to skin care, I believe that it’s all about hydration and keeping your skin protected from harmful UV rays. Using firming lotions or any other daily moisturisers are great for preventing sagging skin. Use the same moisturiser for your hands too if you can. I wear sunglasses to protect my eyes too. Personally for me, I think that wrinkles are the first visible signs of ageing and the first thing people notice so I try my best to protect my delicate eye areas the most. I also love to moisturise especially in the winter months when there’s not much moisture in the air. Central heating systems are one of the reasons why we get dry skin in the winter so keep a moisturiser in your handbag and keep your skin hydrated as much as you can. When we feel our skin is soft and supple, we instantly feel youthful. I would recommend keeping your skin makeup free as much as you can too. You really don’t need to wear too much makeup everyday. Sometimes, it’s best to keep the skin clear of foundations and powders so it can breathe. If you wish to wear makeup, keep it looking radiant and all natural. Forget about heavy eyeliners and choose instead to wear soft, powder eyeliners and a lip gloss. Don’t cake it all on… keep it dewy and radiant for the all natural glow.
I use Kiehl’s Multi Corrective Cream as a daily moisturiser for my face. (£52 -www.kiehls.co.uk)
For my body, I use Kiehl’s Creme De Corps Lightweight Body Lotion (£28- www.kiehls.co.uk)
Drink lots and lots of water
The average human body is 50-60% water so it’s no surprise that keeping yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water can give us so many health benefits. Instead of drinking carbonated drinks (a.k.a. Sugar Water), choose water if you can. Some people don’t like the taste of water and that’s their excuse for always reaching for coffee, tea or soda drinks. Have a slice of lemon in your water to add a bit of citrus flavour. I don’t really recommend flavoured water because it’s full of sweeteners so try and avoid those too if you can. Drinking plenty of pure water is a great way to avoid bloating, constipation, headaches, urinary tract infections and many other health problems. When you drink lots of water, your body is able to get rid of harmful toxins in your body. Water also gives you more energy. Whenever I feel tired, I don’t reach for caffeine. I go and get a glass full of cold water and drink lots of it.
Laugh and surround yourself with happy people of all ages
If you surround yourself with happy and positive people, you will feel younger. Laughter really is the best medicine for anything. I love watching the most current comedy shows and I love looking at funny online memes. When you watch a variety of shows targeted for the young and old, you will find that you will most likely relate to all of the content you will see because funny is funny…no matter hold old you are. Join clubs and take part in your local community programmes to meet new people. Keeping an active social life (minus the alcohol) is great not just for the the heart but for the mind too. The more you expose yourself to different ideas and opinions, the more open minded and adaptable you will become. I can understand that some people may prefer to stick to their conservative thinking and are set in their ways but sometimes, that can result in missing out on opportunities to learn new things. I think it’s great when people mix in with different age groups. Have you heard of combined day cares and elderly care homes where the elderly read books to toddlers? It’s awesome right? I think that’s such a great idea! Inter generational groups are the best because groups of all ages can utilise the knowledge they have and share them with each other.
What I would tell my younger self
I used to be scared of ageing. I wasn’t just afraid of the wrinkles and joint problems… I was also afraid of failing and not achieving certain milestones in my life on time. I used to take life and myself too seriously. I always felt like I was running out of time; living my life in a rush and at times, did things in a hurry without really focusing on what my purpose really was. For some reason, I always felt like I had no time to think because I needed to achieve things now and ‘thinking’ would mean wasting time. I burdened myself with unnecessary pressures and thought that old means ‘Sorry, too late to do that now…’ I understand now that it’s never too late to reach some things in life. If I could tell my younger self something, I would say ‘Take your time and don’t take yourself or life too seriously.’
I don’t think ageing is anything to be ashamed of. In fact, I think that ageing is a gift and something to be grateful for. Often, we hear of older people say that they feel invisible and they think nobody cares about them. Nobody should ever feel invisible or insignificant in our society because everybody matters. For me, I believe that the wisdom I possess and develop as I get older is precious and something I will continue to treasure as I age. Ageing is an inevitable part of living and something we will all go through. Those youthful models of today will soon age and look old too and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you look closely and ignore our age, gender and all the other things society uses to label people, we have so much more in common than you think. Life is so much more than the physical. Our spiritual growth and beauty far outweighs any type of physical beauty we have. Life is not a competition either. Just because your friend got married at 30 and you’re 35 and single doesn’t mean you’re destined for a life of loneliness and isolation with 27 cats (there’s nothing wrong with living alone with 27 cats by the way…) Keep with your own timing. Life is not a marathon… remember that everything that you dream of will happen for you in the right time.
Oh, and remember to play my friends… Carry on laughing and playing! Life is fun so play! Never be afraid to laugh…laugh at yourself and don’t take yourself too seriously…always remember to see the ‘fun’ in everything!
As George Bernard Shaw once said,
‘We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stopped playing.’