The physiological process of aging begins much earlier than most people realize. Collagen production begins to dwindle in your 20s. The wear and tear on your body can start impacting daily life in your 30s. We all see the jokes fill social media about how your bedtime is 9:30 p.m. by 35. People reach for skin creams, hair dyes, and pain relievers from a ridiculously early age and continue using them for life.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way if you use a holistic approach. As you age, you do not have to witness your body, mind, and spirit start shutting down. Aging painfully and miserably is not inevitable; there’s actually a lot you can do to combat that. You can age gracefully and healthfully and live well until the end of your life. It simply requires a holistic approach and consistent work in all three areas — body, mind, and spirit.
3 Ways to Care for Your Body
1. Care for It
If you want a body that works for you rather than against you as you age, you’ll have to work for it. Moisturize daily and stay hydrated to encourage a dewy complexion. Use a tretinoin cream to boost collagen production and keep your skin from sagging. Drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep. The recommended eight hours of slumber each night helps heal your aches and pains.
2. Move It
It may seem counterintuitive if you’ve started to experience chronic aches and pains, but you need to move. Movement loosens your tendons, ligaments, and muscles and strengthens bones. A daily 30-minute walk can even help prevent premature death! Add strength training a couple of times a week, and you’ll boost your metabolism, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
3. Nourish It
To support all this movement, make sure you feed your body well. Eat your fruits and veggies, avoid excessive junk food, and get plenty of lean protein. Inflammation is one of the greatest contributors to aches and pains as you age. If you live on fast-food burger combos, your body will be inflamed because of all the sugar, sodium, and fat. Alternatively, you can help your body detox and fight inflammation by eating well and avoiding processed food as much as possible.
3 Ways to Care for Your Mind
1. Use It
You know what they say — use it or lose it. This expression is nowhere more true than when it comes to the mind. Studies have shown that continuing to use your brain will keep it sharp. To do that, learn a new language, do crossword puzzles, and engage in intellectual pursuits. Your mind will only start shutting down if you let it. Don’t.
2. Feed It
You can feed your mind in many ways to keep it young. Eat foods good for your brain, like fatty fish, avocados, and nuts and seeds. Read classic literature, histories, and biographies. Also, consider listening to podcasts and programs rather than watching television. This shift engages different parts of your brain to keep it sharp.
3. Rest It
Your mind needs sleep. Hustle culture Americans love to say, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” The problem is that you may die much sooner than necessary if you don’t sleep. Getting eight hours of sleep doesn’t just benefit your body; it also reduces stress and improves memory and cognitive function.
3 Ways to Care for Your Spirit
1. Connect With It
The last — but far from least — important part of holistic aging is to care for your spirit. Your spirit is the part of you that feels bigger, that connects you to others and what’s outside you. For believers, this is a higher power; for others, it might be nature or the universe. As you get older, you have to connect with your spirit daily. Why? Spiritual people tend to live longer and live happier as they age.
2. Meet It
You don’t have to be religious or attend worship services to be spiritual. You simply need to meet yourself on a spiritual level. Meditation is fantastic to reach for spirituality. Sit for 10 to 20 minutes daily in a quiet space and calm your thoughts. Among its youth-granting powers, researchers linked meditation to lower blood pressure and reduced chronic pain.
3. Listen to It
Finally, all humans have intuition. Intuition goes beyond the so-called “gut instinct,” which can sometimes be wrong. Intuition comes from a small, quiet place inside you. Some people like to call intuitive hits “nudges.” Get good at listening to those nudges, and you will live more at peace with yourself. And who doesn’t want more peace as they age?
No one lives forever. And even if it were possible, that shouldn’t be your goal. Instead, the goal is to live as long as you are biologically able to and to live those years well. And that’s possible using a holistic approach.
You can achieve this goal by exercising regularly, eating well, pursuing intellectual interests, and cultivating a strong sense of community and purpose. Because almost every one of these practices is cheap or free, you can get started today. You can’t go wrong when you apply them all in a holistic approach to aging.