We’re all aging.
Tomorrow you will be older than you are today. It’s sad but true. And while we can’t do anything to reverse this aging process, we can adopt a lifestyle now that will set us up for success later.
As we grow, we should ask ourselves, “What would my future self want me to be doing right now? What wouldn’t they want me to be doing?”
Here are eight tips, habits, and routines to adopt in light of these critical questions. Your future self will thank you.
1. Stay Socially Connected
Our social health is just as important as any other facet of health. Loneliness and depression are profound, and maintaining social connections can combat them as little else can.
Make connecting with people a part of your daily or weekly routine now – no matter how old you are. The longer you wait, the harder it tends to be to make new friends. Get connected.
2. Engage Your Mind
It can be so difficult not to escape to the phone or the TV after a tough day. But our minds need to be engaged. It’s essential to keep our minds sharp and maintain mental wellbeing.
You don’t have to learn calculus for fun, but make it a habit to read, do puzzles, journal, finish crosswords, or engage in something creative daily. Getting into the destructive cycle of work – escape – sleep will not make our future minds useful.
3. Maintain Regular Doctor Visits
If you’ve ever tried to get an older friend or relative to the doctor, you know how hard it can be. The older we get, the less we seem to want to see physicians – or think about our physical health for that matter.
It’s vital that while we’re young, we establish relationships with care providers who have our best interests in mind. If worried about insurance, consider Obamacare enrollment or reach out to an insurance provider to know your options.
4. Develop Healthy Eating Habits
Bad diets are now the result of more deaths than smoking. You don’t have to go on a vegan or Paleo diet to maintain health as you age. But you must adopt healthy habits that will allow you to age in a healthy way.
Not only do you have to start a new trend diet, but you also don’t have to cut out all the right things. Just make it a habit to limit the lousy food and work more vegetables into your diet.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Believe it or not, prioritizing sleep is important to being healthy late in life. This is such a simple recommendation, but it can be so hard. We have so much going on in our lives that finding time to sleep is tough. And when our heads finally hit the pillow, we’ve got too much going on between our ears to drift off.
Start prioritizing sleep now. Quit looking at screens so late in the evening, set a bedtime, find the right temperature, and get some real rest.
6. Exercise Regularly
This isn’t a groundbreaking idea, but why do many people fail to do it if it were so easy? As with your diet, you don’t have to become a bodybuilder to age gracefully. The Department of Health and Human Services only recommends 2.5 to 5 hours per week of moderate-intensity exercise and some kind of moderate muscle strengthening exercise two days per week.
That only adds up to five or six hours per week. Make it a habit now to avoid pain later.
7. Lower Your Stress
There are countless effects of stress on your body – and new studies come out each year detailing the horrors of what pressure can do to us. Some stress can’t be eliminated. Your career, family, children, and daily chores are a part of your life. But stress can be managed.
Consider ways you can better deal with stress. Try meditation, yoga, deep breathing, walks, therapy, exercise, or chatting with friends. Learn to manage it well now.
8. Get Adequate Hydration
Another simple recommendation that’s often harder to implement. Drinking enough water can help keep our bodies regular, increase brain function, and improve energy. Some medical professionals will tell you to drink eight 8 oz glasses of water a day, but your daily goal will depend on many factors like your activity level and how much you sweat.
If you struggle to drink enough water each day, try documenting each glass you drink. Just use a sticky note or a journal to start keeping track. If you’re not getting enough, make a plan, and have someone hold you accountable. It’s too easy not to do.
We can’t stop ourselves from aging, but we can make decisions now that will help us age well. Your future self will thank you.