My Time-Tested Tips for Aging Gracefully
The Telegraph did an article on how the women of 40 and 50 are now being called the new ‘ageless generation’. I have to say my ears perked up when I read this title. Recently my BFF and I were on a walk together, and I asked the question '“are we middle aged”? I was relieved to know that she too was wondering the same question. I know my ID says that I am 48 years old, but the truth is I don’t think of myself as middle-aged…I am not delusional I know I am not 20 years old anymore but I also know that I don’t feel the number on my driver’s license and in my 48 years, no one has ever guessed my age. I like to think good genes play a part of it but also the fact that I chose a career in natural health and wellness (I really do walk the talk) as well as my belief system and positive outlook on life. I look at pictures of my grandmother and see a huge difference in what her generation looked like in their 40’s, 50’s and even 60’s compared to the women today. I think of myself as 48 years young with a whole life ahead of me not 48 years old getting older by the minute and wondering what I will do when I retire. I am very proud to be a woman representing this new ageless generation.
As an acupuncturist and healthcare practitioner of 20 years, I get asked a lot about what I do to stay healthy. Here are 10 things that I believe helps keep me young both on the inside and out.
Top 10 Do’s to Stay Looking and Feeling Young
Drink H2O – This is one of the simplest things you can do with some of the biggest bang for your buck. Water increases energy and helps relieve fatigue. It flushes out toxins in the body. It boosts the immune system, and it improves your skin complexion…now what woman of the new ageless generation wouldn’t want that…a natural moisturizer for your skin and it leaves a beautiful glow. Best of all it helps smooths out fine lines and wrinkles.
Daily meditation – You hear people talk about stress and anxiety all the time. Emotional distress can speed up cellular aging and chronic stress accelerates premature aging by shortening DNA telomeres according to studies by Dr. Owen Wolkowitz and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
Meditation is something I first learned about from my mother. She liked to meditate, and I think it was something that helped her a lot. Because of her, I started researching it, and now I teach meditation. For the people who say they can’t meditate, I recommend exploring the different types of meditation. It isn’t just sitting cross-legged for long periods of time in silence. My personal favourites are guided meditations. I believe that meditating for even 10 minutes a day can make an enormous positive impact in your life.
Yoga – this is one of my favourite things to do…in fact, I have been doing this since I was little. Some of my favourite memories are doing this with my mother and sister in the living room as a kid well before it became trendy to do yoga. My love of yoga has lead me to become a restorative and yin yoga teacher. I chose these styles of yoga because I believe we live in a very yang (active) society and we are in need of a little balancing out which the yin (stillness) and restorative yoga do perfectly.
Reading – I LOVE books and I love learning. One way to stay young is keeping your mind sharp and reading can do this by helping to improve memory by keeping it stimulated.
Nature – The benefits of being out in nature are huge and include everything from decreasing your blood pressure and heart rate to reducing the production of stress hormones. Daily walks in a park, forest or by a lake or ocean are the best way to feel connected to mother nature and for me the best way to keep me feeling balanced.
Healthy Eating – To me this means eating intuitively…listening to what my body needs…I am a vegetarian who eats the majority of her meals vegan. I have been eating like this since I was little and when I look back, all my favourite meals were vegan. I am not even sure that was a thing when I was a kid, but it is now. My point here is not to get you to become a vegan or even vegetarian. My point here is to show you that by listening to your body and what it needs you can’t go wrong. My rule of thumb for meals is to fill the bottom of my plate or bowl with organic greens then put on top of it the rest of my meal…this way I never go without getting my fill of greens every day (all the essential nutrients without taking supplements). Eating organic is extremely important to me. I want my foods to be as clean as possible so no chemicals, pesticides, additives or preservatives for me.
Alternative treatments – Well you knew that this one was going to be a given. I am a huge advocate for natural health therapies and one thing I like to do is help people find the right therapies for them such as acupuncture, massage, naturopathic medicine, craniosacral therapy, reflexology, chiropractic and or osteopathy. Building your own personal health team along with your conventional doctor allows for you to have different options when it comes to healing your body and creating longevity.
Natural skin care – I do my best to keep all the products for my face and body as natural as possible. Paraben free is my jam! I wash my face daily and moisturize face, neck, and hands at least twice a day. I do a Chinese medicine treatment called Gua Sha at night. I love this treatment…it creates a rosier, radiant glow on the skin afterward. It also smooths the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, firms up sagging facial muscles and improves bags and dark circles under the eyes.
Travel – According to a joint study from the Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association, traveling keeps you healthier. This study found that women who vacation at least twice a year show a significantly lower risk of suffering a heart attack than those who only travel every six years or so. The same is true for men. Men who do not take an annual vacation show a 20 percent higher risk of death and 30 percent greater risk of heart disease.
My personal findings are that travel is great to let go of any stress especially if I can go on my trip and fully unplug. Being present in the moment of where I am and opening myself up to new foods and experiences creates this amazing feeling of well-being for me. I also talk about how much I LOVE being on a plane…my creative juices come alive when I fly. I always bring with me a blank journal and just write, brainstorm and create while I pass the time on my travels.
Connection – Creating a support system around you that includes being surrounded by people who have your back and best interest at heart is priceless. Family and friendships are extremely important to me. I love that I have a big family and lots of nieces and nephews that I get to be a part of their lives and a handful of very special friends I call family. With connection comes love, laughter and I believe a youthful outlook on life.