“Staying young” doesn’t just mean feverishly delaying those lines and wrinkles. Remaining youthful means keeping a young and positive mindset, a lust for life and a strong, energetic body. It means preserving an excitement for life and a sense of fun. Okay sure, soft, supple skin always helps…
We’ve gathered together a list of 5 lifestyle habits to keep yourself young. These habits are easy to incorporate into your life and help you to stay youthful in mind, body and soul.
1. Clean, hydrate and protect your skin on the daily
Okay, let’s start with the obvious one…keeping our skin supple, nourished and protected from the sun.
The idea isn’t to stop aging all together (aging is inevitable). The idea is to protect your skin from the sun and maintain optimum hydration.
The sooner you start using an SPF everyday the better. You’ll thank yourself in the future when you’re enjoying clear, even-toned and smooth skin.
- Cleanse the skin to remove makeup, excess oil and dirt without stripping the natural hydration barrier
- Use a gentle toner if you have acne-prone or rough skin
- Use a serum with hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture
- Apply a day cream (morning) and rich night cream (before bed) and avoid fragrances and harsh ingredients such as parabens
- Every single morning, apply an SPF to your face, backs of your hands and lips
- Choose simple products with natural, plant-based ingredients
2. Eat “close to the source”
A fresh, nutritious diet is one of the best ways to support fresh, nourished skin and young, thriving energy levels.
Instead of setting yourself up on a restrictive, boring diet, why not simply make a change toward whole foods?
Sticking to foods which are as close to their original form as possible is a great way to wheedle out the bad stuff and increase the great stuff.
For example: think of a dinner of fresh in-season veggies, whole grains (i.e. barley or quinoa), organic poultry, healthy fats (oils, nuts, seeds), herbs and spices. All ingredients are in their original form, with little-to-no processing and no additives.
What you’re avoiding is processed foods, pre-packaged meals, store-bought sauces and condiments, sugary treats and fatty red meats. By doing this, you’re shunning all those additives, hidden sugars and extra salt which contribute to dull or irritated skin, weight gain and heart issues.
Focus on fresh produce, whole grains, nuts, seeds, full fat dairy, grass-fed organic meats, wild fish, cold pressed oils, eggs, herbs, spices. Your body will be nourished with vitamins, minerals and plenty of fiber.
- Clear your kitchen of packaged foods
- Make sauces and condiments from scratch
- Simplify your meals and stick to quality, whole ingredients
- Sign up to a fresh produce delivery service
- Shop from the outside edges of the supermarket: fresh produce, lean organic meats, full fat dairy, frozen berries, whole grains and nuts from the bulk bins
3. Get moving
It has been proven time and time again that a sedentary lifestyle is a surefire way to hurry the aging process.
Our bodies are made to move! Exercise gets the blood pumping, sends oxygen to the cells, tones the muscles, works out the heart and keeps the mind sharp and clear.
This doesn’t mean that you need to become an Instagram fitness model or even a gym bunny. It simply means you need to get physical activity under your belt every day, especially if you have a desk job.
Get out for a brisk walk every day or go to the gym if that’s your thing! Get yourself a set of dumbbells and work on some simple strength exercises at home. Grab a yoga mat and get your sweat up with a YouTube pilates class or HIIT tutorial.
Not only does exercise keep us at a healthy weight and reduces the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, it supports mental health. Exercise allows us to take time to process our thoughts, get perspective, release tension and experience those lovely endorphins.
Think of it this way: a relaxed, energized and fit older person is far more youthful than a wound up, stressed young person deprived of physical activity.
And remember, it’s you versus you. “Fitness” to you might be a long walk or a sweaty dance class. Fitness to your neighbour might be a marathon or a bodybuilding competition! As long as you are getting moving, building up a sweat and being consistent then you are winning.
4. Get the right amount of sleep
So many of us don’t sleep enough. Or, we sleep the expected 8 hours but the quality of our sleep is totally lacking. Work, family, friends, parties, work, social media, WORK all threaten our sleep.
But why does it matter? Well, when we sleep our bodies replenish and repair down to cell level. The less we sleep the less time we are giving our bodies to repair and rebuild, and the results show up on our faces in the form of dull, lined skin.
What’s more, bad sleep habits and lack of sleep can contribute to obesity, cancer and other worrisome mental and physical conditions.
- Ban screens before bedtime, the blue light disrupts melatonin production (Read more about digital detoxing)
- Exercise regularly
- Implement a bedtime and stick to it as best you can
- A hot shower or bath with lavender essential oils can help to calm you and induce sleepiness
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Reserve the caffeine for the morning and switch to herbal tea in the afternoon
- Put boundaries about work and prioritize sleep
5. Maintain friendships and close relationships
And finally, the best “habit” of all…spending time with friends and family. Even if all you do is lounge on the couch, drink coffee and giggle over cherished memories! Laughter and close connections help to reduce stress and give us a sense of belonging in the world, not to mention all-out joy.
What’s more youthful than a group of friends being themselves, accepting each other and laughing with abandon? What’s more youthful than an auntie playing with her nephews or giggling with her sister? No matter your age, as long as you can prioritize your loved ones and see the joy in true connections you’ll be the true definition of youthful.
Keeping yourself young doesn’t mean buying expensive creams and potions. It doesn’t mean cosmetic procedures or time-fighting surgery. It doesn’t mean denying that we get older. It’s simply the pursuit of preserving our energy, vitality, excitement, fitness and health for as long as we can. The keys are simple:
- Sun protection
- Fresh, whole, nutrient-dense foods
- Plenty of quality sleep
- Regular exercise
- Quality time with those we love
If you can follow these simple and back-to-basics lifestyle tips then you can look forward to a young, happy and vibrant present and future.