Have you ever seen a woman in her 40s, 50s, 60s and even 70s who looks amazing? Naturally amazing, not thousands of dollars worth of plastic surgery amazing.
Great skin, beautiful hair, wonderful style, fitter than any 20 year old you know and overflowing with confidence.
Someone who makes you say to yourself “I hope I look half that good when I am her age.”
Do you know what her secret is? Her fountain of youth? It’s simple, she embraced her age and everything that comes with it.
Now believe me, I get it. Getting older sucks. A simple Google search of “body changes in your 30’s” brings up results that make you want to curl up in bed with (insert your favourite dessert here).
Decreased metabolism, increased weight, decreased fertility, increased aches and pains, vision problems, deteriorating bones, wrinkles, grey hairs, hair growth in places that shouldn’t have hair, perimenopause and on and on and on.
The thing is, you cannot avoid the inevitable. If you are lucky enough to make it to old age, considering so many young people are not so lucky, these changes are just some of the “blessings” that you will have to endure.
Aging however, does not have to be a hell on earth scenario. There is no need to turn every milestone birthday into a weep fest full of regrets while you dwell on a grey hair that you swear was not there yesterday.
Instead, try making these five changes to your life to make aging a more positive experience.
Regular exercise has been proven to do wonders for not only your physical appearance and strength but also your mood, energy level and overall health.
I know what you are thinking, with work, school, laundry, cooking dinner, diaper changes and cleaning your toddler’s “wall art” when would you find time to exercise. The good thing is, exercise does not have to be an all day affair to be effective. If you can set aside at least 15 minutes a day to do some form of exercise you will be doing yourself a huge favour as you climb that aging pole.
What works for me is getting up maybe an hour before my husband and sons wake up so that I could exercise without any distractions, big or little.
In terms of workout programmes I am a devoted fan of Melissa Bender of Bender Fitness. I have always been an active person and I love exercising, but, if you and exercise are sworn enemies, what makes Bender Fitness perfect is that her blog offers over 700 free workouts ranging from 5 minutes to 30 minutes in length and of varying difficulty levels, including postpartum fitness.
This allows you to completely customise your daily workout based on your schedule and ability, all from the comfort of your living room. The blog also offers tips for healthy eating and healthy living.
Eat balanced meals and drink lots of water
As effective as exercise is it must go hand in hand with healthy eating (and drinking) habits to be truly beneficial.
Now I do not believe in dieting fads or cutting out certain food groups entirely from my diet to lose weight, as each food group, even fats and carbohydrates, play a role in ensuring that your body functions properly. What I do believe in is balanced eating, which I also discuss here.
What this means is that I do not deprive myself of any of my favourite foods. If I feel for a slice of cake or some chocolate (I love chocolate) believe you me I will have it, in moderation of course.
However, you do have to ensure that your favourite treats are (1) not eaten excessively and (2) balanced with well-proportioned meals that include the correct amounts of fruits, vegetables, proteins, fats, carbohydrates and grains.
Also, always remember to drink water and stay hydrated during the day. Yes, water is not the most exciting of drinks but this unassuming beverage plays an important role in ensuring that your body functions properly. In addition, water helps to flush out waste and toxins from the body resulting in skin that is as gorgeous as the day you were 22.
A wonderful guide to balanced eating can be found here.
Include meditation in your day
Adopting the habit of meditating during the day has proven positive effects on your mind, body and soul.
Don’t think meditation is for you because you are not a spiritual or religious person or you simply don’t have the time. Well don’t worry, meditation is for every body and it actually doesn’t take up much of your time.
A few minutes of silence each day can help you to become a more peaceful, happy and self-aware version of yourself. You become better able to handle the day to day stresses of your life, resulting in improved health and the slowing down of the aging process.
The best part is you can meditate anywhere; at home, in the office, during your commute; so it is possible to fit it into your motherhood schedule.
Sounds good to me.
If you have never tried meditation before and have no idea where to begin Gabby Bernstein provides a wonderful beginner’s guide to meditation in her blog.
Treat yourself every now and then
As mothers, we tend to put everyone’s needs and well being ahead of our own. Our innate “mummyness” makes us want to see everyone well taken care of, well fed, well dressed and happy, often to the detriment of our own health and fashion sense.
But I will share a little secret with you, the world will not end if you buy that outfit you know you will look amazing in because you have been day dreaming about it for the past month. Nor if you run away for a couple of hours for a very girly spa day, champagne included.
Trust me, it’s OK.
Treating yourself and taking care of yourself helps with relaxation and stress management allowing you to, once again, be a better version of yourself for all of those who depend on you.
When you wear that outfit or get the best hair cut you have ever had in your life or just took some time to catch up on some much-needed rest you feel more confident, upbeat and tend to have a better approach to life.
Appreciate the things that you have and have achieved
Social media makes it very easy to compare every aspect of our lives with those of people we probably barely talk to or in some cases have never even met.
All of a sudden you find yourself stressing over whether you made the right choices in life just because person X, who is 5 years younger than you, has the dream house you never knew you wanted or the career you were never interested in.
Or maybe while you are at home, up to your elbows in baby poop, person Y just posted pictures from yet another vacation to “exotic place number 25”.
This fixation on other people’s lives and desiring anything that is different from what is yours is unhealthy. It prevents you from seeing all of the good things that are in your life, unnecessarily sucking the joy out of everything that you do and causing unwarranted, additional stress to your life.
The funny thing is while you are busy wishing for a different life someone is probably wishing that her life were more like yours. As the saying goes, the grass is always greener on the other side.
So just take a moment to appreciate your life. Appreciate your children, your husband, your friends.
Appreciate the fact that you have a home filled with love even if it looks less like an HGTV dream and more like a cluttered toy chest. If that European vacation is too far out of reach, appreciate the time spent with your family on the sofa watching a movie together.
When you start to acknowledge and are thankful for the unparalleled goodness that surrounds you every day, you allow a happier and healthier version of yourself to emerge. Then turning 40, 50, 60 and even 70 isn’t such a bad thing.