As we grow older, we see a lot of physical and mental changes, and we may not have the same amount of energy and vitality that we once did. Bones start shrinking; there is an increased risk of osteoporosis, the heart can become weak, we may experience changes in our reflexes and senses, or even diminishing memory. Our digestion and metabolism can also slow down with aging.
Overall, it might become a little difficult to cope up with changes. Thus it feels natural to feel stressed when going through the process of aging. But aging is an inevitable part of anyone’s life, and it should not be something that people should dread. It brings with it years of wisdom and experience, and it should be embraced with a positive mindset.
Aging gracefully is not about looking young again; it is about entering the next phase of your life with a healthy body and mind and making the most of it. This article presents a list of ways you can deal with the process of aging in a graceful manner:
Accept Your Age
Aging, as mentioned above, is a very natural and inevitable process of life. There is nothing one can do to avoid it. However, accepting the fact that you are aging and that you will need to take more care of yourself will help you a lot in dealing with the anxiety that comes with growing old. In fact, there is evidence that people who maintain a positive attitude about growing older are more likely to live longer and even recover faster from a disability.
Take Care of Your Skin
To have healthy-looking skin, make sure to hydrate yourself properly and wear protective clothing and sunscreen, which not only protects the skin from getting a tan or a skin burn but also protects you from getting serious skin-related diseases, including skin cancer. In addition to this, it is important to get yearly screenings for early detection of skin cancer.
An average of 2.5-5 hours a week of moderate exercise like walking, swimming, dancing, cycling, etc., with muscle-strengthening activities, can work wonders for your body. It can lower the risk of diseases significantly, especially heart-related diseases. It also has other benefits like improving sleep, reducing stress, providing more mobility, etc.
Have a Mindful Diet
All the exercise in the world is not going to reap its benefits unless you complement it with a healthy diet. Including fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and proteins in your diet withadequate portions of whole-grain and fat-free dairy can improve your immunity and prevent deficiencies that can later lead to major health issues. Also, it is very vital to drink plenty of water to keep your skin healthy and reduce signs of aging.
Take Care Of Your Mental Health
An often overlooked aspect of our well-being routine is taking care of our mental health. Developing meaningful friendships, being a little more socially active, or even taking care of pets has been proven to minimize stress, blood pressure, and even loneliness. Do things you love or always wanted to try— go trekking, add a hobby, learn a skill, anything that will keep you engaged and bring happiness. Excessive stress can cause premature aging and heart-related problems, so follow a good sleep routine, meditate and exercise daily to lower your stress levels.
Avoid Smoking and Alcohol
Smoking and alcohol are believed to cause premature aging and an increased risk of disease. Lung cancer, liver failure, and mouth cancer are just to name a few. Quitting and controlling is never easy; try medications and consult a doctor if you are willing to make changes for a better life.
Focus on Oral Hygiene
Again, oral hygiene is very overlooked when it comes to taking care of yourself. If you do not pay attention to your oral hygiene, there is an increased risk of gum disease, which can lead the way to heart disease, strokes, and bacterial pneumonia. Brush twice a day, floss once a day, and always use mouthwash. Along with this, pay regular visits to the dentist.
Exercise Your Brain
Old age can also lead to mental deterioration and forgetfulness, so it is important to constantly keep challenging your brain to stimulate your mind. Learn a new language or a new instrument, solve puzzles, or try new recipes to prevent cognitive decline. One simple way to keep challenging your mind is to avoid following a monotonous routine every day and trying to do something different. Varying your habits can help create new pathways in the brain.
Take Preventive Measures
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. It is essential to visit a doctor frequently and have regular full-body check-ups for the early detection of diseases. Screening for colorectal cancer, pelvic exams, eye tests, hearing tests, mammograms, screening for diabetes is just to name a few. You can also incorporate preventive measures at home like replacing slippery floors or checking for furniture that can hurt you while you walk, and ensuring proper lighting and ventilation, etc.
The world also recognizes the importance of getting old; this is why the World Health Organization designated October 1st as “International Day of Older Persons” to bring about awareness about aging and focus on stereotypes related to getting old.
An optimistic frame of mind and a light-hearted approach goes a long way. Consider old age as an opportunity to appreciate the beautiful life you had till now and how much more wise and mature it has made you. Consider old age an opportunity to do all the things that you were never able to do— a place where you always wanted to travel, a new skill you always wanted to learn. Consider old age an opportunity to reunite and reconnect with all the friends and family that somehow grew apart because of your busy schedules.
In the end, one should never forget the brilliant quote by David Bowie, “If you are pining for youth, I think it produces a stereotypical old man because you only live in memory, you live in a place that doesn’t exist. Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.”
Written by: Aashna