I LOVE being 35, BUT there is one thing about being 35 that I’m not loving quite as much…. and that’s admitting that even though I love being my age, I am getting older!
Yip, the mirror don’t lie! More and more lines are creeping across my face daily and I find myself spending a bit longer applying makeup in the mornings, researching the latest beauty products that might help to turn back time and even looking into the side effects of botox, something I never thought I would consider… (p.s I’m still FAR too petrified of needles for this to be a serious consideration!) What I have definitely begun to do is to pay more attention to using anti-ageing skin care products every day and I recently discovered the new range from African Extracts called ADVANTAGE which offers a great selection of anti-ageing products without the usual high price tag associated with products in this bracket. Their natural approach to ageing got me thinking a bit more about the subject… how to age gracefully.
There is a saying that goes “getting older is not for sissies” and it usually applies to the physical changes that start to afflict your body, but there’s a lot to be said for the emotional and psychological changes that take place as you get older… Mid-life crises and the fear that the big 40 birthday creates for people are proof of that!
I think, at 35, I’m just beginning to come to terms with the fact that I’m getting older. No longer am I the 18 year-old that I feel I still am, I’m actually half way through my life (Well, give or take a few years if I’m lucky enough to hit 80!) In a matter of years I’ll be turning 40 too and in a culture that is preoccupied with youth that’s quite a hard thought to swallow.
“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Mark Twain
Unfortunately, however much we’d like to follow Mark Twain’s advice, when it comes to us women, most of us DO mind! (Men maybe less so… probably because they get off far more lightly when it comes to getting older!)
So, in an effort to ensure that I age as gracefully as possible – in both the physical AND emotional – I’ve done some research and found a few helpful tips on how to deal with the anxiety that comes with ageing…
1. Face your fears.
What is it about ageing that makes you most anxious? We need to identify them to be able to work through them and come out the other side stronger! We all wear layers of protection that can make us look ridiculous, for example wearing clothes that are far too “young” for us! But living in denial of our age and clinging to an illusion of physical youth leads to a reliance on the approval of others to validate us. What’s important for all women to deal with (and preferably as young as possible) is that reliance on the validation of others to feel attractive is damaging and our sense of self should always be fueled by our internal aspects and inner beauty!
2. Make peace with your changing looks.
You’re not the first or the last women on earth to age. Yes, your teenage queen daughter might look amazing right now, and a part of you will feel a twinge of envy every time you see her strut her stuff in a pair of teeny tiny shorts, but the truth is that now is her time, your time of youthful abandon and bronzed bods has come and gone…. and yes, it’s been replaced with wrinkles, varicose veins and “bingo” wings, BUT that doesn’t make you any less of a woman. You’ve lived a full life thus far, and have so much more to look forward to. Plus experience and smile lines are actually VERY sexy!
3. Change the voice in your head.
You know the one… it’s pointing out the new pigmentation mark on your face or the latest gray hair. It’s telling you that you definitely don’t look as good as your friend who’s 3 years older than you! We tell ourselves such lies, every single day, but unfortunately even if no one else can hear them, our body does! And we act accordingly. We start to believe the lies and become less and less confident. It’s so important to catch yourself each time you say something negative about yourself. A good way to eliminate the toxic stuff is to pretend you are telling a friend the exact same thing. Would you dare? Of course not!! And if you aren’t your own best friend then you really are losing the game of life! It’s time to have a new message. One that celebrates all the positive things about you, and your body! Yes, go ahead and mourn the youthful part of yourself, but then move on to view the ageing process in a more positive way – as a path to becoming more of you – wiser, maturer, less insecure and obviously a whole lot more fun!
4. Celebrate being the age you are right now.
Studies show that people who enjoy life more and have a higher sense of well-being are less likely to experience problems performing daily activities, like walking, bathing and dressing as they get older. So find ways to celebrate your life everyday. A great way to do this? Take part in activities that make you happy, whether it’s spending time with friends or enjoying a favorite hobby, but remember to ignore the stereotypes of what people think you should be doing at your age and do things that you REALLY love. Being older means that you are much more in touch with your personality and your interests so embrace those. And remember it’s not too late to try something new either. Learning a new skill can have a healthy effect on an aging mind as it requires you to focus, be engaged and rely on your memory – all activities that help to keep you sharp. So challenge yourself to something new, like learning another language.
5. Focus on the positive.
Life is certainly full of ups and downs but it’s certainly far better for your health and mental well-being to focus on the positive. Older adults with a positive life outlook were able to reverse health risks linked with stress and inflammation so let’s choose to look on the bright side of life!
After reading these tips on how to age gracefully I hope you recognise that as we get older perhaps it’s not a plastic surgeon we require, but rather some self-exploration and acceptance that will help us embrace the laughter lines… as proof of a life well lived!
But just because I also want to keep the lines at bay for as long as possible, I’ve started using some of the African Extracts ADVANTAGE products. I love the fact that their range is inspired by nature as I try to keep my skin care as natural as possible and prefer using natural ingredients on my skin. These products access the natural benefits of Rooibos, including its potent antioxidant power that helps to reduce the signs of ageing and improves the health of the skin, and in the process help women to tackle ageing in a natural, genuine way which I’m all for!
Photos: Abigail K Photography photographed me makeup free for her #CTConfidence campaign earlier this year.