I'M A 57-YEAR-OLD WOMAN AND PEOPLE THINK I'M IN MY 30'S - HERE'S MY TIPS TO AGING GRACEFULLY

I’m 57 now and some people think I’m 10 or even 20 years younger than my chronological age. Hey, I realize genetics has a lot to do with it. I'm half Asian/half Irish. Some of us look older or younger than our actual age due to our parents. Aging gracefully isn't about stopping the hands of time, we can’t do that... yet, but rather embracing each stage of life with wisdom, vibrancy, and a positive outlook. It's not always been easy but necessary for everyone to move into the future the best way possible.

Here are 15 tips I TRY to use in every aspect of life to help age more gracefully. Maybe they'll work for you too!

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My Tips for Aging Gracefully

1) Nurture your physical health:

My aching back..neck, knees!

Regular exercise especially strength training when aging is definitely key.

I honestly hate exercising. You wouldn't think so with my dancing history but it's true. Today, except for stretching and using some light weights I don't hit the gym anymore.

But as my Veteran son always reminds me "Motion is Lotion".

It's vital to find physical activities you actually enjoy, not ones that others like.

Whether it's dancing, stretching, Pilates, Yoga, swimming, biking, or even brisk walking.

Ideally, it's great to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise each week. 

I try my best, but I don't always succeed...

 2) Prioritize a balanced diet

"Let food be thy medicine."

It took me a while to learn this since growing up in the ballet world in the 70's and 80's when dance teachers back then would tell me to constantly lose weight and, "drink a glass of wine if you have pain."

I subsisted largely on Tab, and junk food when I got too hungry, and struggled with an eating disorder for a while.

But especially as you age you truly are 'what you eat.' And I'm come to realize from my Japanese mother that food really IS medicine. I eventually adopted her way of healthy eating.

Today I try to eat a varied diet:

  • turkey, seafood, tofu, sardines, a rare grass-fed steak or bison burger),
  • complex starches and carbs (quinoa, brown rice, couscous, whole-wheat pasta)
  • organic fruits (apples, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, clementines), colorful vegetables (peppers, zucchini, carrots, celery, bok choy, spinach) and...
  • the occasional cookie or sweet (weakness is for Italian pastries) can't deprive yourself.

I'm not one of those, 'live to eat' people even though I adore good cuisine. It's been found that there's a link between longevity and less calories.

I always forget to drink enough water but it's so important to stay hydrated, so I've started drinking a variety of teas and flavored waters or seltzer with no sugar, and without chemical preservatives or aspartame throughout the day.

In the morning, I put MCT oil in my tea or coffee for mental energy, stamina and focus.

And snack throughout the day on nuts, healthy trail mix, healthy jerky or seaweed snacks. Delicious!

I've finally reduced my diet coke addiction.

2) Get regular checkups with your doctor and stay up to date on screenings and vaccinations (if necessary.)

An apple a day...Your doctor is your #1 professional health advocate, and the right one can recommend the right remedies for whatever ails you, whether a conventional Physician or holistic.

No one likes going to the doctor but at this age it's an inevitability. My mother (being Asian) never went to the doctor that I can remember. But my father always went.

I suffer now from chronic neck pain and the knees are going too, so regular walking, taking turmeric and glucosamine really does help. 

I try to stay away from prescription medications and traditional NSAIDs like Tylenol and Advil because they can cause liver and stomach damage if you take too much.

3) Keep your mind sharp:

That word was just on the tip of my tongue...

This is crucial as we age. We forget more and our mental reflexes just aren't as sharp.

As a writer I try to keep my mind active with up to date with the latest goings on but definitely stay away from too much negative news and never-ending politics.

I try to challenge my brain with puzzles (Sudoku, words with friends, crosswords) dance tutorials are fun and challenging on TikTok, online games (chess, poker, trivia), and new learning experiences keep that brain active.

If you can take a salsa or cha-cha class, do karaoke, learn a new language, or read books on stimulating topics that's great too.

I try to avoid sedentary activities where I'm a passive participant, i.e. watching too much television.

Engaging in social activities that keep you mentally stimulated, such as spending time with people you like, cultivate your personal relationships, business networking, volunteering, or joining a club is a great way to keep your mind busy and sharp.  

Getting enough sleep is a priority to me – but going through menopause makes sleep difficult at times.

I enjoy a cocktail but try to avoid alcohol and blue light just before bed as that can interfere with a good night's rest.

They always say sleep is crucial, and I credit it with good skin and a sharp head. I try to aim for 7-8 hours per night – (it's sometimes interrupted by my cats meowing or making biscuits) but your brain needs to rest and recharge from the stresses of the day.

The right pillow has been a lifesaver for my constant achy neck. I keep the room at the right temperature, have a sound soother (plays soft sounds of the ocean) and use a super soft, comfy blanket to nestle up in a cozy nest before heading off to dreamland.

4) Embrace a positive attitude:

"Our attitude towards life determines life's attitude towards us."

I couldn't have gotten this far without the right attitude. Your mindset is everything and crucial to your aging journey and overall wellbeing.

I try hard to focus on the good things in life and practice gratitude for the people and experiences I cherish and lift me up. It sounds so simple, but it really does work.

Surround yourself with positive people who uplift and inspire you. If you are constantly around toxic people with dark energy, you will soon embrace their attitudes.

Positive energy is contagious just like negative energy. 

Challenge negative thoughts and replace them with more optimistic ones.

I also practice positive affirmations every day. They really do work. Sometimes I wake up with thoughts like 'everything hurts' or I start worrying about things that haven't even occurred, or I remember a bad dream and my mood will go dark.

It helps to offset that immediately with something pleasant, like 'this will be a good day' 'I am strong, I'm a good person, and this will pass' - even if you don't believe it 100%.

You will eventually train your mind to move forward and replace negative thoughts. Your brain is a muscle you can train. Start today.

4. Stay connected with loved ones:

I try to make time for regular visits, calls or video chats with family and friends, both near and far. It's always with people who are uplifting and support you. This is key. 

Their exuberant energy will help you. Avoid those who always complain or whose energy is depressed and toxic. You can offer a commiserating ear once in a while but limit this.

We all go through bad times and if you have a friend who is having a rough time but is overall positive in nature and sees the 'light at the end of the tunnel' will send their good energy to you.

Nurture your relationships by showing appreciation, offering support, and simply being present. 

I always make sure I try to show my gratitude to my supportive friends and let them know how much they mean to me. This transfer of good feelings is great for both you and for them.

Build new connections by joining clubs, networking groups, or activities that interest you. 

This has always been hard for me, being an introvert. I have a lot of online support but being an introverted person has always made it difficult to meet strangers in person. Working on it!  

A very close friend encouraged me to join a women’s meet and greet and when I'm able to meet up with them I always feel better. You may have to push yourself, but it can be very beneficial.

5. Give back to your community:

Volunteering your time and talents is a rewarding way to stay active and youthful, meet new people, and make a difference in the world. 

As a fulltime writer this is hard for me timewise but I'm learning the importance of taking the time to do it. Even if I can't do something in person, I try to connect with other organizations online to help give back.

You can pick anything that is close to your heart. We love to rescue abandoned animals, but you can do anything, help with the community garden or soup kitchen. Read to the elderly or share your special knowledge.

Even just knowing you're giving a little something to help others who need your help can give you an energized feeling that you are important.

6. Pursue your passions:

As wrapped up as we Americans are all the time to make money, survive and take care of others it's crucial to also make time for hobbies and activities that bring us joy and fulfillment.

Don't be afraid to try new things and step outside your comfort zone.

Whether it's music, art, animals, writing, gardening, sports, cooking, skiing, making your own wine, humanitarian pursuits, or travel, let your passions guide you.

7. Take care of your emotional well-being:

As a Gen Xer who was a latch key kid and raised by a strict Asian mom - it’s easy for me to bottle up my feelings. 

But…I’ve learned our emotions always catch up with us, and emotional wellbeing is very important for aging gracefully.

I’m learning to open up to trusted friends, family members when I need to vent. 

If you need to talk with a therapist or counselor for more professional support, there’s plenty of options nowadays either online or in person. 

Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga, mindful meditation, deep breathing exercises or even a vigorous exercise class, or wild intimate session with your partner (provided they're not toxic) can help your emotional (and physical) wellbeing.

Make time for self-care activities that help you de-stress and recharge, such as taking a relaxing bath, getting a massage, taking tai-chi, reading a good book, or spending time in nature.

8. Embrace change:

Change! I'm not good at change!

But It's unavoidable. Life is full of change. Some bad, some good. Learning to adapt and ‘go with the flow’ is very hard but often necessary. 

Moving to a new state was a huge change that offered up many challenges and opportunities for growth and learning.

Try to maintain a positive and flexible attitude to navigate life's inevitable ups and downs.

9. Keep learning:

We never stop learning and growing as people. Whether it’s in our relationships, our jobs, our personal trials and tribulations. It’s important not to get stuck. 

Start your own novel, your personal biography, create a blog, take advantage of the endless number of educational opportunities, such as online or in person courses, workshops, webinars or lectures.

Read, read, read! As a kid my closest friends were books. Read articles and blogs on a variety of topics that interest you.

10. Travel and explore:

In 2018 I left the Northeast for Florida with my daughter. Seeing new places and experiencing different ways of life and people and cultures is a great way to broaden your horizons and keep your mind sharp.

As a Sagittarius star sign, I love traveling to new places. They don't have to be expensive or exotic.

Even if you can't travel far, explore your own local areas and discover hidden gems you never knew existed.

11. Take care of the skin you're in:

I still get compliments on my skin at my age which I’m always thankful to hear. I don’t use expensive products, simply sweet organic hemp oil morning and night which keeps it soft, supple and moisturized. It lasts a super long time and it's only 8 bucks!

Although we live in Florida I stay out of the sun and never go sunbathing at the beach. 

Protect your skin and eyes from the sun by wearing sunscreen and good sunglasses every day, even if you live in a cloudy environment. 

Use a moisturizer of your choice to keep your skin hydrated and healthy. Doesn’t have to be a brand name or pricey. I embrace cruelty free skincare products. Why test on animals?

See a dermatologist regularly for skin checks. Too many people I know of have gotten skin cancer recently. 

12. Take care of your teeth:

Your mouth is actually responsible for many diseases in your body. Even heart disease! 

I try to avoid sweets, brush my teeth twice a day and floss after eating to keep cavities at bay and prevent gum disease. Using a water pick and gargling with an antibacterial mouthwash is good prevention too. 

After all, no one likes bad breath! I also visit my dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.

13. Don't be afraid to laugh:

A laugh a day keeps the doctor away.

Especially big belly laughter is a great way to relieve stress, boost your endorphins and just feel better! 

It’s easy sometimes to take life and ourselves too seriously. Try to break this pattern by realizing that life is ridiculous. Ask yourself ‘will this matter 5 years from now?’ Or even five minutes…

“Instead of news shows, watch comedies or funny videos, or hang out with funny people.”

14. Try to avoid perfectionism

As a former ballet dancer, life was all about perfection. How you looked, what you wore, how you executed a step, a class or performance. Everything was examined under a microscope. And harsh criticism was given if you weren’t up to the standards the dance world demanded. 

I had to finally release the idea as I got older that in reality life is anything but perfect. No matter how hard you try or plan, setbacks will happen. Things won’t go your way. But having a ‘perfect’ mindset will only make the setbacks even more overwhelming.  

Embracing your imperfect human self can help to release a lot of pressure to live up to unrealistic expectations. Just because you make mistakes doesn’t mean you are not enough. The right people will love you no matter what.

15) Love with your whole heart

Loving with your whole heart is a beautiful and sometimes lifelong journey. I’ve learned it’s not simply a feeling or a switch you can turn on or look for in others to make you complete. It's an ongoing practice nurtured by actions, choices, and true commitment. 

The greatest gift is to love yourself. I know to many people that might sound selfish, but you can’t love without a strong foundation. Accept your flaws, embrace your strengths, forgive yourself and others for the past and practice being kinder to yourself. 

This allows you to give your heart authentically without relying on others to fulfill your own needs. 

Conclusion 

These are just some of the ways you can begin on the road to 'aging gracefully.' It's never to late to 'teach an old dog new tricks.' I hope these tips have helped you some on the road towards aging gracefully. 

Everyone is a work in progress. And each day is a new opportunity to live your best life!

Next read>>>How a Toxic Empath Differs from a Narcissist - With Examples (msn.com)

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