Posted by: Heather Ehresman
As we move into the fall season, there’s always a sense of a fresh start. As kids climb onto school buses we know it’s time to once again settle into new routines and slow the pace slightly. For me, it becomes the perfect season to focus a little more on selfcare. These days as I approach my mid-40s the idea of healthy aging is intriguing, but is it achievable? Is it easy?
I recently attended the IMAGE Skincare Wellness Summit, a virtual two-day event that focused on cultivating wellness through daily routines in our busy lives. They gave us tips and tools to encourage wellness in our workday, manage stress by adjusting our daily routines and focus on breathing, stretching and movement during our days to age gracefully!
We started each day with stretching; to improve circulation and increase awareness of our breath they provided some easy stretching exercises that can be done in just a few minutes during your day. We learned how easy it is to stretch at your desk in a seated position and just 30 seconds can energize you! My new go-to stretch at my desk is to fold my hands together and then push them out as far as I can in front of me, then reverse my hands to extend the stretch into my fingers. This stretch releases tension in my neck, shoulders and all the way down to my fingertips. Stretching not only feels good, it also works on the sore joints and muscles as we age!
From stretching, to yoga, to a HIIT class, we learned the importance of healthy aging through exercise and breath. When we belly breathe we increase the supply of oxygen and nutrients to cells throughout the body and we increase the supply of blood and nutrients to muscles, blood and bones. Anyone can belly breathe. Take time to focus on breathing in for a count of four, and with each count watch your belly expand, then slowly exhale your breath for a count of 4. Doing this a few times a day not only alleviates stress, but helps you age well!
We also spent time on how to better manage our stress. With external stressors bombarding us each day, it is important to reflect on and discover what our stress triggers are, and what our automatic response is to those triggers. By becoming more self-aware of our triggers and responses, we can better plan how to manage stress as we encounter it and move past it effectively. Stress can have a profound impact on how we age. The benefits of having tools to move through stressful situations are countless and include better rest, less indigestion and enhanced self-esteem. Who doesn’t need more of that as we get older?
UV rays account for over half of the visible signs of aging! So this simply is a must. Wear SPF daily, especially on your face. The easiest way to do this is add it into your morning skincare routine. You can even purchase a moisturizer that has SPF already included. Wearing SPF now is critical to stop fine lines, wrinkles, sunspots and preventing cancer as we get older.
Now when I consider how best to selfcare, I am reminded that my daily habits and stress management is often more important than luxurious pampering sessions (although those are super fun too!). These daily habits are not only a way I show love to myself, but in the long run they can help all of us age healthily and beautifully.