An early morning here (thank you, science fair) and a late night there (thank you, Scandal) and you might feel a few decades beyond your actual age. Sound about right? Try one of these tips and bounce back in no time. By Anna Davies, REDBOOK.
See red - on your plate
Red foods, like watermelon, berries, and tomatoes, are superfoods in the fight against aging, says Morgan Hill, CA, nutritionist Robin Kaye. "Tomatoes and watermelon contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant with anti-aging properties." Berries are also antioxidant-rich anti-inflammatories, meaning the sweet fruits can help keep your brain healthy by fighting against age-related mental decline.
Take a YouTube break
Whether you dig SNL skits or prefer watching baby sloths scamper around, dozens of studies prove that laughter reduces stress, which makes you feel light-years younger in the moment - even if you'll be back to squinting at spreadsheets in a few minutes.
That pout certain starlets produce on the red carpet isn't only off-putting - it could be prematurely aging them. According to a recent study, simply smiling can make you appear three years younger than you actually are. So say cheese!
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"Avoid vamp-y reds or dark purple polish, which can draw attention to any imperfections on your hands," says Donna Perillo, founder of Sweet Lily Natural Spa in New York City. "The best way to avoid sunspots, crepe-y skin and other age-related evidence is to exfoliate your hands weekly with a self-made sugar scrub." Her recipe: a half-cup granulated sugar, a half-cup cup olive oil, and a few drops of essential oil. Massage the mixture into your hands, then wash off in cold water. Follow by polishing nails with a neutral color.
Head out on the town
"Whenever we're feeling a little too bogged down by everyday life, my best friend and I schedule a girls' night away from our husbands," says Seattle resident Cass D., 35. "Last time, we went to a bar that's frequented by a lot of students at the local college. We danced, we laughed, and yes, we may have harmlessly flirted with one or two college seniors." Even more reason to grab your girls and hit the town? Studies have shown that social ties can lower blood pressure, guard against dementia and lower stress - i.e. make you feel as young as the hottie offering to buy you a drink.
Make time for tea
From stress-busting to energy-boosting, it seems there's a type of tea for almost any mental issue - and Robin Nielsen, a nutritionist in Morgan Hill, CA, says to believe the hype. "Hydration is key for looking younger, and tea is one way to make sure you're getting enough liquids. Plus, studies have found green tea can help us retain elasticity in our skin as we age."
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Slather on sunscreen
We know, we know, you've heard it before. But not only does slathering up - even on cloudy or cold days - help prevent the wrinkles and sun spots that'll add extra years over time, but the scent triggers nostalgia, which has a whole host of benefits, including self-esteem enhancement and feeling more socially connected to the people you're surrounded by, all of which may make you feel the years falling away.
Be realistic about your to-do list
"The stress hormone cortisol ages the body, inside and out," Ronald Kotler, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and author of 365 Ways to Get a Good Night's Sleep. "If your to-do list is a mile long and you're constantly thinking about it, you're living the stress response all the time." Try only writing down the stuff you can get done during the day, and enlist your husband, mom, or babysitter to help you with the rest. Doctor's orders!
Lay down for a nap
"What people don't realize is that a lack of sleep can shorten your life," says Kotler. "Chronic exhaustion sends hormones out of whack, making you more vulnerable to diseases ranging from obesity to depression." While seven to nine hours of shut-eye is ideal, taking a twenty-minute nap (any longer and you'll end up feeling more exhausted than you were before) can give you a boost of instant energy and, yes, help combat some serious under-eye circles.
Fun up your fitness
Sure, you know exercise is good for you - but how you exercise is also essential. "Recently, I'd been feeling pretty burned out by my treadmill routine," says Alison E., 39 of Culver City, CA. "So I signed up on a whim to take an aerial yoga class. It's so much fun that it doesn't feel like exercise, and it also makes me feel like I'm a kid again." Finding something that's fun - and yes, reminds you of recess - not only renews you motivation, but the exercise itself will help keep your body biologically younger than if you were sedentary.
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Grab a cup of Joe
There's one habit you can stop worrying about. Not only will the caffeine give you a much needed jolt of energy right now, but the antioxidants found in java have been found to have a whole host of anti-aging benefits, from lowering risks of certain kinds of cancers to boosting heart-health.
Switch up your skincare routine
If you've been wearing the same foundation since high school graduation, it may be time to try something new. "Oil production diminishes as we get older, which can cause foundation to seem caky and powder-y," says celebrity makeup artist Julianne Kaye. "A tinted moisturizer keeps your skin looking youthful and glowy."
Play with your food
"Whenever I want to instantly feel younger, I order tater tots from the local diner, making sure to try every dipping sauce they offer," says 32-year-old Auburn S., of Seattle, WA. While fried foods don't prevent aging - and aren't the smartest choice for everyday - having fun with your food can make you seem younger. Novelty-seeking, like seeing how the tots taste double-dipped in ranch and honey mustard, triggers the production of the anti-aging, feel good chemical, dopamine, in your brain.
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