In the last few years, I have become acutely aware of my age. Although I don’t consider mid-thirties to be middle aged just yet, I have definitely noticed I don’t have the same stamina I did in my twenties.
Repeatedly getting up at 4:00 every morning has me looking forward to going to bed by 8:00 pm and I find myself wishing I could steal an afternoon nap by week’s end. I am becoming more cognizant of fine lines and dark circles on days I feel most exhausted.
If you find you are dragging these days—figuratively or literally—take heart. We are in a busy season, in addition to our usual hurried and frantic state while raising young children. However, if you find feeling and looking tired is more of a trend than an oddity, consider implementing a few simple strategies.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight not only ages you, it makes you feel sluggish. Maintaining a healthy exercise routine will keep your weight in check, particularly as your metabolism slows down through the years. By the same token, losing too much weight can add years to your face; gaunt, hallow cheeks rarely appear youthful. Set realistic goals and work within your genetic boundaries to achieve your ideal weight. Consider enlisting a professional trainer to help you get started.
Incorporate Stretching into Your Routine
Stretching daily will increase your flexibility, helping you to remain fluid. As we age, we lose balance, strength, and flexibility. A few basic stretches will allow you to manage minor aches and pains, as well as help to prevent injuries associated with tight muscle groups. Try setting aside just ten minutes every day devoted to stretching while the kids are sleeping; add some quiet meditation for additional calming benefits.
Increase Your Cardiovascular Exercise
Not only does bumping up your cardio aid in maintaining your weight, it will help to increase your energy, thereby making you feel more youthful. Countless times I have found myself exhausted in the afternoon, unmotivated to get into the pool and swim while my kids are in the water for their workout. I find myself trying to weasel my way out of it if I have already run and lifted weights earlier that morning. Yet when I slip into the eerie quiet of underwater, I find myself instantly feeling better, energized and grateful to be lost in my own thoughts. Getting started is the hardest part.
Use Sunscreen All Year Long
This is an obvious choice all summer long, but your skin is still being exposed to harmful rays even during the winter. Damaging sunlight penetrates through your car window on your commute to work, as well as off the snow during winter walks outdoors. Protect your skin by slathering on sunscreen every morning before you apply anything else to your face. Just as you brush your teeth every morning, get in the habit of sunscreen application.
Cut Back on Caffeine
This sounds counterproductive, but if you can break the vicious cycle of drinking fully leaded coffee in the morning, only to find you need to ingest more caffeine in the afternoon for that extra push until bedtime, you feel better for it. Breaking the caffeine habit may difficult at first, but once you get past the initial withdrawal symptoms (headaches, exhaustion, irritability), you will feel more productive without it. Try weaning yourself off of it, decreasing to half caffeinated first before going straight to decaf.
Get Enough Beauty Rest Every Night
A sleep-deprived body is a tired body. Dark circles, puffy eyes, and decreased mental function are only a few of the ugly side effects of lack of sleep. Be sure you are getting enough rest, ideally eight hours when possible, to recharge your batteries and improve your attitude and outlook on life. When you feel rested, you radiate youthful positivity.