Experiencing consistent fulfillment after the age of 50 is both an art and a science. Though everyone wants to love themselves as they age, not everyone is able to. Issues such as self-esteem, insecurity, and loss of daily passion can come into play when you get older. However, you’re never too old to learn how to love yourself – whether you are just past 50, or, well into your senior years.
It’s normal to feel some insecurity about your appearance and vitality as you age.
What follows are proven tips on how to love yourself no matter where you are in life – including strategies on how you can avoid a few of the falsehoods of aging gracefully, plus how you can experience a robust improvement in your physical and mental health.
How Do I Take Care of Myself Over 50?
Self-care is like having a health plan for your body and mind.
Sure, it can be hard to find time in our busy lives, but the main benefit of self-care is that it helps us feel better so that we can do more of the things we want to do.
Self-care after 50 is something that we have to prioritize, and the benefits are worth it.
The Layers of Self-Care
When it comes to self-care, there are many ways we can take care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.
The Emotional Layer of Loving Yourself
Emotional self-care means clear communication with others about our thoughts and feelings so that they don’t always have to guess what we’re experiencing internally.
How to Love Yourself As You Age: Abandon Comparing Yourself to Others
Comparison is a natural instinct.
We see others and want to know where we stand in relation to them.
This desire for comparison often stems from the belief that if we compare ourselves favorably with others, our lives will seem better than they are. This is especially true in middle age when most of us are at least somewhat self-conscious about getting older.
However, the reality is that comparing yourself to others can cause unnecessary feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.
Comparison creates unrealistic expectations for yourself because you assume that someone else’s life must be perfect (even though we all have flaws).
And even if you do feel good about being better than someone else in some way, your happiness will only last until you’re faced with another person who seems more successful or attractive.
Grow Your Support System the Way You Would Grow a Garden
Make time for friends and family on a regular basis. Having a support system is an important part of wellness.
Whether it’s family, friends, or colleagues, the people you surround yourself with can have an impact on your overall well-being.
Relying on others to be there for you when times get tough will help you cope with stress. And being there for other people (provided you have healthy boundaries in place) can deepen and enrich your life. This is the miracle of reciprocity.
When building up your support system, be mindful of who brings positive energy into your life – surround yourself with people who are willing to share in both good times and bad, as opposed to those who make light of serious matters or ignore problems entirely.
Be discerning about the people whose advice and opinions matter most; after all, they might not know what’s best for their own lives much less yours. With this approach in mind, choose wisely!
The Physical Layer of Self-Care
The physical part of self-care is absolutely essential. Here are some tips:
- Reduce your overall percentage of body fat if you need to. Being overweight can raise your risk for heart disease and other serious health conditions.
- Keep your bones and muscles strong with regular workouts.
- Eat more vegetables. It’s important to get the micronutrients found within vegetables into your body. As you get older, the risks associated with certain diseases increase when nutrient deficiencies are present.
- Be proactive against stress. Though stress affects us all a bit differently, it has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
- Get regular checkups. Checkups with your own medical doctor are an essential part of staying healthy: they give doctors opportunities to diagnose or prevent illnesses before they become serious problems.
- You probably don’t smoke, but if so, please quit. Your medical insurance might even cover a brief residential program that will help the quitting “stick.” (You already know that smoking can damage your lungs; however, smoking can also increase the risk of cancer in almost all of the body’s organs – including the bladder – and contribute to heart disease by damaging blood vessels and causing plaque buildup.
- Take walks (whether short or long) each week and stretch afterward.
- Eat healthier foods (those foods that help with maintaining a healthy weight).
- Do resistance training at least once each week.
- Drink water throughout the day (instead of caffeine or soda).
- Get enough sleep each night (at least 7 hours – more, if you’re an athlete).
- Remember to also stay active outside the gym – fresh air and sunshine are underrated.
How to Love Yourself As You Age: Know Which Foods to Avoid After 50
After age 50, you can improve your health by avoiding foods that have trans fat and added sugars.
It can be beneficial to your health and appearance to also avoid alcohol and limit your caffeine intake. Here are some examples of foods to avoid:
- Sugary drinks: These include soda, fruit juice with added sugar, and sweet tea. If you’re looking for a sweeter alternative to water, try adding fresh fruit or cucumbers.
- Processed foods: Foods such as frozen meals, chips, and instant noodles. As you get older, you’ll want to steer clear of processed meats like bacon or sausages.
- Fried foods: Chicken fingers, french fries, and doughnuts are not the best choices after age 50 either because they contain trans fats. This type of fat increases LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) while lowering HDL cholesterol (the good kind).
How to Love Yourself As You Age: Workout Within Your Personal Limits
A personal trainer can help you assess your current fitness level and establish realistic goals. To be effective, these goals should be specific and measurable. They should also be achievable, but not too easy. They should be relevant to you, and they should be time-bound, with an end date.
Breaking down a larger goal into smaller steps can make it seem less overwhelming as well.
If your schedule is packed, don’t aim to work out six times a week; if you don’t like running, don’t sign up for a marathon; if you have back problems, don’t go straight for the plyometric exercises.
It might be tempting to push yourself harder than usual when starting out on a new plan—but pushing yourself too hard increases your risk of injury or burnout later on.
Can You Turn Your Health Around over 50?
It’s definitely possible to turn your health around at 50. If you’ve been neglecting your health for a while, it might be a little daunting to think about taking control of it now. But if you make changes a little at a time, you’ll find that bit by bit, day by day, week by week, and month by month the changes start adding up – and eventually, you’ll get to where you want to be.
Know that You Are Beautiful in Your Humanity and in the Wisdom You Have Acquired
You might be thinking, “How can I love myself as I age? I am old now.” But the truth is, you are still beautiful. You have much to offer in this world – you just need to learn how to love yourself as you age.
First, know that you play a role in the experience of humanity on earth.
Your wrinkles and gray hair make you who you are. They are a natural manifestation of life being lived.
Your wrinkles help tell the story of all the amazing things that have happened in your life, and those gray hairs show off the wisdom you’ve been acquiring.
How to Love Yourself As You Age: Start by Complimenting Yourself Every Day
If you’re starting to notice some fine lines, you’re not alone. Every person has to deal with changes in the mirror at some point.
Some people have a difficult time accepting the aging process and can’t help but think of themselves as less beautiful than they were in their youth.
But from the greater perspective of the universe, this is an absurd illusion.
You are infinitely more than the superficial aspects of your culture. You are a soul having a human experience whose very existence is making an impact every day – be it big or small.
Start by complimenting yourself every day:
- You might be surprised at what a difference it makes when you tell yourself how potent you are every morning.
- Stand in front of a mirror with a wide Superman stance – hands on hips, posture tall, chin up.
- Take up space unabashedly.
- Stand with confidence and humor and say to yourself, “you are beautiful, and that is a fact” or “you are strong and capable, and that is a fact.”
How to Love Yourself As You Age: Shower People with Kindness and Patience
One of the most important things we can do as human beings are to treat others with kindness and patience.
Whether we are interacting with our friends, family members, colleagues, or complete strangers, it is beneficial to others, ourselves, and the world at large if we approach others with an open mind and a generous heart.
This means seeing one another not only as members of the same species but also as fellow humans who are capable of growth and change.
Treat people kindly not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it will help you to love yourself as you age.
When you live your life being honest with yourself about yourself – accepting yourself fully for all of your strengths and weaknesses – you create a solid foundation for mental well-being that will last long into your later years.
You don’t have to be proud of your faults, but you also don’t have to be ashamed of them. Simply strive consistently to become a better person.
Being patient with others is a key to building a healthy sense of self-worth. Living with compassion is the same as living purposefully – because when you choose to be compassionate, your very existence is serving a positive purpose in the world.
How to Love Yourself As You Age: Groom Your Body Like Its a Sacred Vessel
Pampering yourself is an effective way to boost your mood and recharge your energy.
Whether you enjoy taking a relaxing bubble bath or getting a massage, there are limitless ways to treat yourself to some much-deserved self-care.
Though you might, in the future, regret spending money on external things such as cars and hotels, you are less likely to regret spending money on your own enrichment, such as books, courses, or therapy.
It’s never too late to start feeling good about the way you look. Whether you’re 16 or 60, there are always ways to improve your appearance and feel more confident in your own skin. Be sure to cleanse, moisturize, and protect your skin every day. When you focus on taking care of yourself, you’ll exude more confidence no matter what your age.
At the heart of self-care is simply a dedication to prioritizing your own well-being. This can take many forms, from taking time for yourself to engage in activities that bring you joy, to eating healthy foods and getting enough exercise, to spending time with supportive people who lift you up and make you feel valued.
Likewise, working on your self-esteem and learning to love yourself for who you are is also essential for long-term happiness. You cannot expect others to see the best parts of you if you don’t believe in them yourself, so developing positive thoughts and behaviors will help reinforce your value as an individual. With these twin approaches of self-care and self-love, you can create the foundation for a truly satisfied, fulfilling life that is well worth living. So take care of yourself, appreciate all that you have, celebrate your life, and love who you are – the rest will fall into place.
Avoid These Falsehoods About Aging Gracefully
Aging gracefully means receiving the bounty that is the autumn and winter seasons of life. As you know, not everyone makes it this far. Many humans die in the spring and summer seasons of life, so to be able to experience all four of life’s seasons is an astounding gift upon which not everyone is bestowed.
There are some falsehoods – unconscious beliefs – about aging gracefully that are best dispelled.
Falsehood: You Have To Be Rich To Age Gracefully
Yes, cosmetic surgery can take off a few years in your appearance – but even it has its limits. As remarkable as surgeries are, the procedures do tend to give everyone a similar face.
You don’t have to be rich to age gracefully. Four of the most effective ways to age gracefully are to avoid inflammatory foods, go for long walks and do yoga, sleep deeply, and think positively. None of those four things require money.
Falsehood: Aging is Something to Fear and Avoid at All Costs
We’ve all heard it: aging is something to fear or avoid at all costs.
That’s just not true.
Sure, there are plenty of reasons why aging can be scary. We’re losing our friends and family members to death, we’re beginning to experience a loss of joint mobility that make us feel more vulnerable than we used to be.
But these things are part of life.
Instead of running from them, we can accept them.
Life was meant to have seasons, and the autumn and winter seasons are opportunities to integrate what one has learned, to release our grip on the memory of past transgressions (made by either ourselves or others), and to leave a positive legacy through either kindness or creative actions.
Falsehood: You Will Automatically Feel Old Once You Hit a Specific Age
Contrary to what some young people might imagine, there is no specific age at which everyone feels old.
In fact, you can be 70 years old but feel 30 on the inside, and momentarily forget that you’re a mature human until you glance at your reflection while passing a mirror. (That’s a common occurrence. Ask anyone who is 70.)
But some things do feel differently as you age. Your perspective evolves. For example, you realize that there are things in life that are out of your control. It’s hard work trying to make sense of everything around us every day and so – over time – you learn to surrender a bit more and not worry about things that you can ultimately do nothing about.
Falsehood: It’s All Downhill from Here (the Worst Myth!)
Just because you’ve hit a certain age doesn’t mean that the rest of your life is predetermined. You still have free will and the ability to create your own destiny.
There will be more moments ahead of you when you experience feelings of joy or fulfillment.
You will feel more comfortable in your own skin.
Final Thoughts: Consider Volunteering
Volunteering is an effective way to interact socially while helping your local community, and it’s more enjoyable and meaningful than you might imagine.
By dedicating yourself to a cause you care about, you’re not only improving the lives of those around you – you’re also bettering your own life in many ways:
- Volunteering keeps you mentally and physically active.
- Volunteering can help you make new friends and expand your network of contacts.
- Volunteering combats depression by encouraging social interaction and physical activity, both of which are important for mental health.
- Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your life.
In addition to its social aspect, volunteering gives you a sense of purpose that’s known to increase overall happiness and reduce stress levels. You’ll be contributing to something bigger than yourself while getting the opportunity to develop new talents or pursue old passions in a positive environment.
Additional Sources on How to Love Yourself as You Age:
Medical Myths about Aging: Is Deterioration Inevitable? – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/medical-myths-all-about-aging
10 Common Misconceptions About Aging – https://www.agingcare.com/articles/myths-about-aging-179212.htm
Truth Behind Age-Old Myths – https://www.rush.edu/news/truth-behind-age-old-myths
Self-Pampering Act as a Buffer Against Depression [Research Study] – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6904847/
Why Compliments Make Us Feel Good – https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/why-compliments-make-us-feel-so-good-how-get-better-ncna1062546
Maintaining Self-Rated Health Through Social Comparison in Old Age – https://academic.oup.com/psychsocgerontology/article/62/5/P277/570905