In the last few months I’ve heard and read a lot of complaints about ageing. Moans about wrinkles and sore joints and weight gain and general low energy and… the list goes on. And on. Anything unpleasant gets blamed on age. Anytime the body shows a little weakness, a little tiredness, it is treated with despair and disgust. Finding it hard to get up in the morning? Getting old. Knees ache after a basketball game? Age. Eye wrinkles still in place several hours after the last time you smiled? Nearing death. To this I say – enough. Stop it. It is time to stop talking about ageing as though it is a slow, dark descent into hell. It’s not. And if things are happening to your body that don’t feel or look good, remember this: it is your body, listen to it, give it what it needs and it will respond. Complaining about the inevitability of ageing is counter-productive. It suggests that we are incapable of controlling our own health and destiny and we are most certainly not.
Of course we will change with time – that’s biology. How we age is within our control however. No matter your genetics, the most important part of any ageing journey is your environment - and a part of that environment is your attitude. And its time to start adjusting our attitude to the challenges and change of ageing.
1.Take stock of your body. It will have inevitably changed over the years. How much of it is good? How much of it troubles you? Most importantly – how much is age and how much have you inflicted upon yourself? Spend some time really thinking about and feeling your way through your body. Make a list of the things that are causing you difficulties. Be honest. Sure your knees might ache and you might feel tight and inflexible across your lower back, but there is no use pretending you love your wrinkles and sunspots if you really don’t. Write everything down and then do something about it. If you have an illness or a nagging injury– see a professional. Take it seriously and give your body the care it needs. For all other aches and pains, take time to do some quality research to find out how to support your healing. Talk to alternative therapists, your chemist and a nutritionist about what you should be adding to your diet. Buy yourself the right supplements. Do the exercises that your body needs. Crossfit might not be gentle enough for your body. Yoga might not be enough to burn off your calories. Re-evaluate what you need and add and subtract until you find the balance. Absolutely love rock climbing but suffer from shoulder and wrist pain? Don’t push through, and don’t quit while moaning about how old you feel. See your doctor, or a physiotherapist and figure out where you need strength, where you need supplementation and do it. Somehow as we’ve gotten older we’ve forgotten that we are in control of our own health. It’s not a lottery – it’s a relationship.
2.Change how you respond to your body. There’s no taking back a couple of decades in the sun, or a dozen years of sleeping in your makeup, but you can meet it where your skin where it is at. Take a long look in the mirror – what does your skin need right now? At this age it might need more moisture. It might need stronger, more active products. Your hair might be drier than it once was – time to look at a new care regime. It might be time to invest in natural skincare to give your body a break from chemicals that harm it. Talk to a professional about the right sort of physical training for your body. Eat like a mature adult. Adjusting what you put in and on your body to meet its current needs will work wonders on how it looks and feels.
3.Inspire yourself. Stop looking at twenty-two year olds on Instagram and feeling bad about yourself. When you were sixteen, you looked at the twenty-something supermodels and wanted to be like them. For some reason, many of us are still looking at the twenty-somethings for inspiration. This is ridiculous. There are incredibly strong, beautiful, stylish and intelligent older women out there – follow them instead. Look at how they carry themselves, what they eat, how they exercise, what they wear – this should be our inspo - bodies that have travelled the world, given birth, run marathons, been put through their paces.
4.Look after your skin. As your skin gets older it is unlikely that you will still have to worry about breakouts or acne. Hurray! Enjoy that thought. It may have some sun damage and if you aren’t already, start using a good natural sunscreen on your face every day and on your body anytime you are in the harsh sun for more than 15 minutes. Your skin may also be a little thinner and may have less collagen production happening underneath, which means it won’t be as “springy” and elastic as it was when you were too busy squeezing pimples to notice. Give it what it needs and you’ll notice a difference. Ingredients like collagen, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, green coffee, amino acids and pre and probiotics are all perfect for older skin, giving back the necessary nutrients for it to become strong and supple. You can reverse some pigmentation with ingredients like rosemary oil and white tea, but remember to get regular checks with a medical professional or dermatologist if you have severe sun damage. Give yourself a skin audit every year – has it changed? Is it dryer? You may need to start adding in an oil to your moisturising routine, or a richer body moisturiser? Anything you feel you are losing to age – add it yourself. Give your body the helping hand it needs. It will respond like the magnificent machine it is.
Once you acknowledge that your body is your own and the care it receives is your responsibility, you can let go of the idea that a slow decent into death is inevitable. It isn’t. You have a lot of control over your body no matter what age you are. Consider it a challenge, not a sentence. Ageing is inevitable of course – that’s how life works. Ageing badly? Not at all. And complaining about it? Enough.
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