By Susan Yara
10 Days to a More Youthful You
Want to look and feel younger and more confident? Employ these easy-to-follow tips for the next 10 days to make long-lasting improvements to your life
Who says you can’t quickly improve your life and embark on a path to everlasting youth in just days? To prove it, we turned to Meredith Haberfeld, life coach and co-founder of Meredith Haberfeld Coaching and the Institute for Coaching, to tell us simple, healthy habits you can start now and continue for 10 days in order to look and feel younger for the rest of your life.
Day 1: Be playful
If you’re trying to channel your youth, you need to get into the mindset of someone younger. A surefire way to do that is by bringing out your playful side. “As we grow-up we get ‘responsible’ and toss our playfulness with our school books,” says Haberfeld. “Our maturity is ours now, we don’t have to protect it. So be silly. Be flirtatious. Play. It will help you feel, and appear years younger and more beautiful.” Need ideas? Swap your usual cookie or ice cream dessert with smores. You’ll have fun making (and eating) them with your husband or boyfriend and kids (of course).
Day 2: Start a new skincare regimen
Part of looking and feeling young is, well, having younger-looking skin. This means, if you haven’t already, it’s time to use a skincare regimen that includes more than just cleansing. Starting today — wash your face with a gentle cleanser, apply an antioxidant like Paula’s Choice Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum, 24.95 to protect your skin from free radical damage, then apply sunscreen (at least SPF 15).
And don’t neglect the skin on your body either. Once out of the shower, moisturize daily with a healing body lotion like Jergens® Ultra Healing Extra Dry Skin Moisturizer, $6.99 to keep skin supple and glowing.
Day 3: Learn something new
At this point in your life, you’re probably wondering what more you can possibly learn but there’s plenty. If you haven’t learned something new recently, it’s probably because you haven’t tried. So today, class is in session. “Most of us stop growing and learning after a certain age,” says Haberfeld. “Learn a new language or to play guitar. Get back to your vibrant student mentality.” Plus, she adds, “Alzheimer’s research has proven [learning] helps keep the mind nimble.”
Day 4: Up your exercise level
Research shows that exercise — even 15 minutes a day of vigorous activity like running, can make us look and feel younger. The reason? It reduces stress and prevents the deterioration of the body’s cells that fight disease and aging. That means today, it’s time to get active (or up the ante on your current workout regimen). If you’re just starting out, go for a walk, but after a week of the same routine, turn it into a light jog, then eventually — a run.
Day 5: Update your wardrobe
Haberfeld says, “The [clothes] you loved years ago may be dating you now.” And she’s right — just because retro styles are trendy, doesn’t mean you should be wearing the same sweater you bought 15 years ago. “Get rid of the old and bring in a little new and current,” says Haberfeld. “The Salvation Army will thank you for your donation and your friends, family and colleagues will take note of your new, fresh look.” Remember, updating your wardrobe doesn’t mean you have to buy all new clothes — even adding just a few accessories like a colorful belt can freshen your look.
Day 6: Make water your drink of choice
Instead of reaching for sugary drinks like sodas or juices, which can cause you to gain weight, opt for good ol’ H20. And avoid over indulging on alcoholic beverages that are also calorie-filled and cause you to become more of a stick-in-the-mud rather than the energetic youngster you’re striving to be. Drinking at least eight cups of water a day might be your inexpensive fountain of youth because it flushes toxins from your body and keeps you hydrated — which equals happy, younger-looking skin.
Day 7: Update your hair and makeup
It’s always great to hear a Chaka Khan song and remember your days as a young diva in the ’80s. What’s not great is trying to wear the same big hair and over-the-top makeup you wore back then too. It’s time for a makeover, even a slight one. A good way to get started is by switching up a few of your makeup colors. Haberfeld says her approach is to, “take a few outings to your favorite department store makeup floor and get a mini-makeover from a makeup counter.” When you’re done, decide which new colors and makeup tips are your favorites — and which you can easily replicate at home and adopt those.
Day 8: Add color to your plate
A week has passed and with only two more days to go before you’re on the path to eternal youth, it’s time to go on a diet — a color diet. From today on, aim to eat foods rich in color like broccoli, spinach and apples instead of bland and colorless ones (think white bread or potatoes). Colorful foods are high in antioxidants that protect the cells that prevent various diseases (including cancer) and slow the aging process. So when you hit the grocery store, try to add every color of the rainbow to your shopping cart — green, orange, red, yellow (okay not every). Each one contains a different set of nutrients to keep your body and skin healthy.
Day 9: Get plenty of sleep
When life gets busy, it’s easy to skimp on sleep, but doing so not only makes you a grouch in the morning (sorry to say it, but it’s so true), and it takes a toll on your skin and overall health. When you sleep, your body uses the time to regenerate skin cells and proteins plus, your body gets a surge of growth hormones that repair tissues (like muscles and bones) while you snooze. So tonight, get into bed a little earlier and if you have a hard time falling asleep, start a pre-bedtime ritual that signals to your brain that it’s bedtime. A good one to start? Apply cuticle oil and a body cream like Jergens® Overnight Repair Nightly Restoring Moisturizer, $6.99 and let them work their magic on your skin while you’re dreaming.
Day 10: Learn to mange stress
Stress is a doozy. When you stress your body pours out a hormone called cortisol. This hormone can cause your cells to function abnormally, which can make your skin more prone to breakouts, and make it look dull or sallow — which doesn’t equal a very youthful, glowing appearance. So make it your goal today to start an activity that will help you manage your stress — since we all know it’s pretty unavoidable. Take up yoga, try deep breathing exercises, sing your favorite song at the top of your lungs. Do whatever it takes to blow off steam — the reflection in your mirror will thank you.