17 Things All 30+ Women Should Do To Stay Healthy
Are you in your 30’s, and intuitively know it’s time to get serious about your health? If so, you’re right! And I’m going to give you a primer on some of my most tried and true methods of taking care of your health now that you’ve finally come fully into your womanhood!
Take care of your skin
Like my mother always said, “put on your sunscreen!” Looking back, I wished I’d heeded her sage advice. I was always like, whatever, mom. I want a tan. And I tanned easily, without burning. However, now that I’m in my 40’s, I wish I’d started religiously applying sunscreen—especially to my face back in my 30’s. I have age spots now, and while my skin is still relatively healthy and supple, I know it could be better had I started protecting it in my 30’s. So, all you gals in your 30’s, do as your mother tells you!
Begin a strength training routine
Creating the healthy habit of strength training now, while you’re still young, will ensure you’ll continue to do so with age. And you want to aim for 2-3 sessions of strength training each week. This is going to keep you healthy as you get older because you need a strong body to maintain good health and prevent diseases like osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Not only does lifting weights build muscles and increase bone density, it also builds your heart muscle. Strength training also supports a healthy metabolism, and will help you maintain your ideal weight as you age.
I can’t tell you how much better a morning meditation practice makes me feel. I started meditating in my late 30’s, and I wish I’d started sooner. This is one healthy habit I want you to start doing now. It will help you stay healthy on so many levels. I know I’ve become more focused and mentally alert. I feel I can get things done in a shorter time frame than I did before. It also feels like the perfect form of self care—me time, when I can really check in and see what’s going on inside. In yoga, there’s a term called svadhyaya, which translates to self-study. My morning meditation time is the time I spend developing a deeper relationship with my inner self. And the better I know my inner self, the happier I am.
Create a sleep routine
If you create a healthy sleep routine now, you’ll thank yourself later. Skimping on sleep is not an option for me. Not when I have the choice, anyway. And so many of us are sleep deprived these days. That’s why it’s important to create sustainable sleep rituals now, and use them throughout your life. You don’t want sleep deprivation to catch up with you further down the line. Stay tuned for a blog article focused entirely on these sleep rituals—ones that will make your sleep routine a true sanctuary for your mind, body, and spirit!
Don’t get into a sedentary rut
It’s really important that you stand more, move more, and sit less—now, while you’re still young. It’s far too easy to get into the habit of leading a largely sedentary life. And this is something I want you to avoid at all costs! It’s been said that sitting is the new smoking, and while I’m not 100% sure about that, I know it’s not good for your long-term health and well-being. If you work at a computer, get yourself a standing desk if that’s possible. If it’s not, be mindful about standing, and walk around the office throughout your work day. There are all sorts of ways to get off your tush, and I’ll talk further about this subject in another blog article. Stay tuned for that!
Start shopping at your local farmer’s market
Have you seen how healthy and rosy-cheeked those farmers look at your local farmer’s market? They grow their own food. They eat their own food. And they are so much healthier for it. But, you can eat like them, too. Just make a point of shopping their stalls each week, and limit your trips to the grocery store. The more you buy from your local farmers, the less you’ll buy at the grocery store, which is really the most sustainable option if you care for the health and future of our planet. What’s more, you’ll be eating in season, which has so many health benefits for you, and environmental benefits for the earth. You may even do as our ancestors did and start canning during the winter season. This is a life-changing proposition, and if you start young, and feed your family from this local bounty, you’ll all be so much healthier over the long run.
Begin making your own lotions and potions
The cosmetic industry is just writhing with toxins that have been proven to do harm to our body. Our makeup, our face care products, hair care products, body care products, and home cleaning products—most of them have a chemical (or two, or ten) that you’ll want to avoid for your long-term health. What goes on your body, goes into your body. It’s akin to eating. So here’s a radical rule of thumb: if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your body. Which means you’ll want to start making your own lotions and potions. I will say, that using certain natural products like essential oils in small quantities is perfectly fine. And you certainly can’t eat those. So, my point is a radical one, but it’s a way to lean towards eliminating all toxins from your home. And again, if you start doing this in your 30’s, you’ll do it for life. Which means the toxins aren’t going to build up over the long-term. So, why not start small? Make a facial scrub with a fun recipe online. Then, see where your creativity takes you!
Learn to say “no”
The older we get, the more likely we are to set healthy boundaries and stop seeking approval. We know who we are and we don’t put up with the same B.S. we used to. But, if we can learn how to say “no” in our 30’s, we’ll be creating a healthy habit that will serve us well for the rest of our lives. When you say no to the things you simply don’t want to do, you have more time for the ones that fill you up, which will make you happier. And the more happy people in the world, the better! So, why not start with you?!
Toss the conventional feminine hygiene products
If you can ditch the pads and tampons, do it. Now, there are healthier alternatives for your cycle, and if they were available when I was in my 30’s, I would have started using them then. Thankfully, I use them now. I’ve used products like the Diva Cup, and now Thinx underwear. These feminine products feel innately healthier for my body than the tampons of old. Plus, they’re much easier on the pocketbook over the long term, and also produce far less waste—a win-win for you and the environment!
Take care of your friendships and create your tribe
I cannot emphasize the value of your friendships. I have two very close girlfriends, both of which I met in my late 20’s. The three of us are like the three musketeers, and we have each other’s back, no matter what. My life is so much richer for this tribe of girlfriends that I know will be with me for the rest of my life. These social connections have been proven to extend our lives, and greatly reduce our risk for depression and anxiety. So, be a good friend now, and you’ll have your support system to keep you healthy as you age!
I started doing yoga in college, when I was nineteen years old. Once I started, I was hooked. It’s the one discipline that’s been with me my entire adult life, and I know I’m a better, healthier person for it. If you don’t already have a yoga practice, now’s the time to begin. It will become your refuge during times in your life when things are rough. It will become your mainstay practice, as it can be easily adapted to the natural ebbs and flows of a feminine life. Yoga will be your primary form of self-care, and you can do it up until the day you die. That’s the beauty of the practice!
Figure out what kind of exercise you really enjoy
We all know we’re supposed to exercise regularly. But, it’s so hard to stick with anything unless we truly enjoy it. Now’s the time to figure out what that looks like. Maybe you surprise yourself through experimentation and find you’re really into rock climbing. Or maybe it’s the music that moves you and you dedicate yourself to regular dance classes. Perhaps Pilates is your thing. Or maybe swimming. Whatever it is, now’s the time to find something you love and stick to it. It’s far too easy to grow complacent with age. But, if you create the healthy habit of exercising via a style that moves you (read: inspires you), you’re likely to stick with it even as middle age sets in. Your 30’s is the time to find your exercise groove.
Learn how to manage stress
Chronic stress can turn our lives upside down in no time. I know working moms in their 30’s (my sister, actually) who are stressed out and strung out. This runaway stress train makes you gain weight, wreaks havoc with your hormones, and has you up at all hours of the night. It decreases immune function, raises your blood pressure, and can eventually lead to heart disease. Stomach ulcers, asthma, and even strokes are related to chronic stress. It also inhibits digestion, making it difficult to absorb all the nutrients you need. Panic attacks and an underlying sense of anxiety are real for many women, which so often lead to depression and a general sense of feeling as if you’re always underwater.
Learning how to manage stress is essential for your long-term health. And there are so many ways to do it. Taking nightly baths with Epsom salts and essential oils, talking with friends, exercise, yoga, meditation, deep breathing techniques, massages, aromatherapy, eating a whole foods diet, avoiding too much caffeine, learning how to get enough sleep, and developing a positive mindset—these are all effective ways to manage stress. Learn which ones work for you and create your own stress management toolbox. Your future health depends on it!
Kegel it up
Kegel exercises prevent urinary incontinence, and strengthen your womanly parts. Beginning a kegel routine now is one of the best things you can do to decrease your risk of having incontinence further down the line. Aim to do about thirty kegel reps each day. All the muscles in your body need your attention—not just the most obvious ones!
Start eating a little less meat
Heavy meat eaters have a greater risk of developing heart disease. They also have a higher environmental footprint than those who abstain entirely or from time to time. If you want to reduce your emissions, while reducing your risk of developing heart disease when you’re older, you’ll want to consider making meat more of a special treat than regular fare. If you currently eat a lot of meat in your diet, consider meatless mondays. If you’re already not an avid meat eater, good for you. The planet thanks you!
It’s easy to get carried away with unhealthy habits when we’re in our teens and twenties. But, by the time we hit our 30’s, it’s time to get serious about our health, which means ditching the cigarettes ASAP. If you smoked in your youth, no worries. But, if you still smoke, it’s time to stop. And if you do, you’re likely to live longer than those who keep smoking throughout their lives.
Get a hold on your finances
You may have been liberal with your money in your youth. But, now’s the time to get serious about your finances and spend wisely. There’s nothing worse than being a financial basket case. Not only does it lower your self-esteem, it’s also bad for your physical health. If you spend your way into debt, you’re more likely to suffer from depression, insomnia, chronic stress, binge eating and drinking, and even stomach ulcers. Being financially stable and independent, on the other hand, leads to greater self-confidence and overall well-being.
Gals, take these tips to heart. Make little tweaks in your routine here and there. Start slow and have compassion for yourself. Enlist friends (or even professionals) to help. Staying healthy now, is the key to remaining healthy for life!