You've made up your mind a dozen times to "eat healthy," "give up sweets" or "drop x number of pounds." But invariably cold winter weather makes it difficult to get to the gym, meaning most of us abandon our diets faster than you can say "Happy New Year!"
This year, how about focusing on something different for a change -- to look and feel younger? We promise it won't be hard. Here are five simple habits you can take up to look younger in 2016.
1. Start wearing gloves when you wash the dishes.
It's a chore that isn't going away any time soon. Before you tackle the mountain of post-New Year's party plates in your sink, make sure you slip on a pair of dishwashing gloves. The hands are often said to be the number one giveaway of our age -- sometimes making us seem even older than we are. Our hands get neglected while we apply anti-aging potions to our faces and necks, but they need just as much TLC.
Exposure to hot water and abrasive dish soap can leave our hands dry, as the elements strip away precious natural oils. Your skin can become parched, irritated and even cracked. Wearing gloves can protect your skin's natural barrier and prevent this.
2. Stick to your bedtime.
After many days of holiday partying and being on vacation from work, it can be hard to get back into your sleep routine. But a lack of sleep has been shown in studies to accelerate your skin's aging process. That's even worse than the dark circles you might be seeing. In one study, not getting enough shut-eye increased the visibility of things like fine lines and wrinkles, as well as the skin's ability to repair itself from UV damage.
So while it might be temping to stay up watching Netflix or whatnot, discipline when it comes to catching those Zs will keep you looking and feeling good. Since sleep pattern disturbances are common in middle age, experts recommend moving your bedtime up by 15 minutes each day until you're able to get enough sleep -- this means being asleep for 85 percent of the time that you're in bed.
To make sure you're able to fall asleep, avoid having caffeine after lunch, don't take naps and try to make your bedroom as relaxing as possible.
3. Don't sleep with your makeup on.
Another bad habit we often adopt during a busy holiday party season is going to bed with our makeup on. But these moments of late-night laziness can lead to a number of nasty skin concerns. Dermatologists say that sleeping in makeup can can increase your exposure to free radicals, breakdown collagen and prematurely age the skin. And clogged pores could even lead to acne. So take an extra minute or two and wash off your makeup or, better yet, keep some makeup wipes handy on your nightstand to make it even easier.
4. Use a fitness tracker to log your meals.
A lot of times, we don't see the results of diet and exercise because we underestimate how much we're really eating. Log your meals with a fitness tracking app or a food diary. One study showed that older women who used food journals lost more weight than those who didn't. Stay accountable.
5. Ease up on up the hairstyling tools.
Hair, like hands, is another forgotten area when it comes to anti-aging. Grays aren't the only thing that give away age. If you find your hair thinning with age or losing its volume, you might be more tempted to use straighteners, curlers and the like. But hair experts warn that too much styling can damage the hair's cuticle, making your hair more prone to breakage and looking less healthy. Limit your use to three times a week at most, and try to use heat-protection products to mitigate the damage. Oh -- and don't forget your hair needs SPF protection too!
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