Ageism is a real issue in our community, many people view ageing as a negative. However ageing is a fact of life, so we should all embrace and enjoy the ageing process and make the most of it, no matter how youth obsessed our society has become.
Embracing your age isn’t about trying to look younger, it’s about living your best life, celebrating your accomplishments and who you are and having the health to enjoy all that you have worked for. Here are some ways to reframe the way you view aging and celebrate it:
Celebrate your achievements
Go back through your life and look at all that you have accomplished and created so far and celebrate all of these achievements. Getting older is a great privilege and with that comes knowledge and wisdom. You can also look at ways how you can share your knowledge and achievements, such as through being a grandparent or mentor.
You are as old as you tell yourself you are
Your mindset has a huge effect on how you feel and see the world. How you talk to yourself, your self-talk, will greatly determine how you present yourself to others and what you create in your own life. So make your self-talk positive when it comes to yourself and the ageing process. Embrace ageing, gracefully, and acknowledge all that it is, a part of life to celebrate.
Be inspired by others
If you are lucky enough to have a parent or other role model that has shown you successful aging, then take inspiration in them. If that isn’t the case for you, then there are plenty of public figures or maybe family friends that can model positive and graceful ageing for you. Notice all of these people, what they are doing in regards to ageing, whether it be their contribution to the community or their family, staying active, or pursuing their goals. Get out there and enjoy life and be inspired by the amazing people around us.
Look after yourself physically
Looking after yourself is one of the best ways to ensure that you embrace your own ageing. To look after yourself physically means to look after your health through a healthy diet, staying hydrated by drinking enough water, maintaining your activity through regular exercise and ensuring you are proactive with your health. Being proactive with your health cam include taking precautions such as protecting your skin from the sun and wearing sunscreen, staying away from processed foods, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats to avoid health issues, ensuring regular and sufficient sleep and participating in at least 30 minutes of moderate activity a day.
Mental health matters
Maintaining a healthy mind and being happy can go a long way towards living and ageing well. Some things you can do to assist with mental health include:
- Spend time with friends and loved ones. Having meaningful relationships and a strong social network improves your mental and physical well-being.
- Having a pet, which has been linked to lowering stress and blood pressure levels, reducing loneliness, and better moods.
- Accepting your age and having a positive attitude about aging can help you live longer and maybe even recover better from a disability. Ageing cannot be avoided, so learning to embrace it can make all the difference.
- Doing things you enjoy on a regular basis will assist in making you happy. Spend time in nature, pursue a new hobby, volunteer —whatever brings you happiness and fulfilment.
- Getting adequate sleep and exercise also assists with a healthy mind.
Get adequate sleep
Sleep is very important for your physical and mental health. 7 – 8 hours’ sleep is what is recommended for adults each night. Getting this sleep will assist you embrace and enjoy ageing by lowering your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, reducing inflammation and stress and/or depression and improving your focus and concentration.
Lower your stress
The effects that stress can have on your body are extensive and can include premature aging and a higher risk of heart disease. By participating in some of the following activities you could help relieve stress: yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, exercising, getting adequate sleep and talking to a friend or health expert.
Quit bad habits
Bad habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol have been shown to cause premature aging and increase the risk of disease. Therefore, it is advised to quit these bad habits, or follow guidelines on their intake to remain at your best health and ability to age gracefully.
It’s never too late
Commit yourself to continually grow and follow your dreams. Keep learning, live your life with purpose. If you once had a dream to do something then do it, and if for some reason you can no longer achieve this dream, then cultivate new dreams. Continuing to grow and flourish as you age can be as simple or as complex as you so desire. Many retirees are starting a new business or gaining a degree, others are taking on creative pursuits or travelling the world. Whatever it is, it’s never too late!
Engage in hobbies
Finding new and fulfilling hobbies to participate in can help you maintain a sense of purpose and keep you engaged throughout the course of your life. Research has shown that participating in enjoyable hobbies and social activities can make you happier, experience less depression, and live longer.
Mindfulness is about acceptance and living in the moment by focusing on the present. Participating in mindfulness activities has many proven health benefits, that can help you age better. These benefits include a better memory, improved focus, lower stress levels, relationship satisfaction, improved emotional reactions and even increased immune functioning. To practice mindfulness, try activities such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, writing a gratitude list, breathing exercises, puzzles, colouring and more.
Reject ageist attitudes
Yes, things change as we age, both physically and mentally, however don’t give in to negative stereotypes about older adults. Ageism may be in our media and/or culture, but these attitudes are myths and elderly people prove them wrong every day. Don’t let these cultural myths create barriers or limits in your life. Reject them and embrace the ageing process for what it is in all its glory.
See a doctor regularly
Seeing a doctor regularly can act as a preventative health measure. It may assist with finding problems early or even before they start. How often you see a doctor depends on your age, lifestyle, family history, and existing conditions.
Ask your doctor how often you should go in for check-ups and screening tests as you age. Also, see a doctor anytime you experience concerning symptoms.
Where to go for help
Ageing is inevitable; however, some may find it difficult to deal with the changes that come with getting older. If you are worried about your health, having trouble feeling positive, or worry that you’re not ageing well it’s important to reach out for help. Talk to someone you trust, such as a close friend or family member and seek professional help if this isn’t available or isn’t something you are comfortable with.
Embracing the ageing process is about being healthy and happy, not keeping the wrinkles at bay. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, having a positive mindset, surrounding yourself with people you love, and doing things that bring you joy will help you embrace and enjoy ageing.
Just remember, like any stage of life, it is normal to have concerns or worries about your challenges, so don’t hesitate to speak to someone about your concerns.