Ever wondered if Martha Stewart struggles with some of the same health
issues we mere mortals do? So did WebMD.
So when we talked to her for our March/April WebMD the Magazine's
cover story, we quizzed her on some of the things we all go through -- finding
time for yourself, recovering from injury, and coping with grief. (Martha's beloved mom, "Big Martha"
Kostyra, passed away last November.)
From its first year of publication, GH has urged readers to live healthfully
— to take "a walk before breakfast" (1885), "eat more fish" (1932), and get "at
least eight hours of sleep" (1933). The tips here, whether from our early days
or fresh from the latest journals, have one thing in common: They are based on
the best expertise of their time.
We also talked to Stewart about the visionary new center for senior health
at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York she recently opened, inspired by her
mother -- and what she's learned about herself along the way.
1. Health Flaw: Sleep
Stewart confesses there's one thing she probably neglects: "Sleep.
It's an exhausting lifestyle, and I always say sleep can go. It's not important
to me right now," she says. "I never stay in bed late -- I can't! In my
house, the first people arrive at about 6:30, and I have to be up well before
that." Breakfast for her household menagerie alone -- three dogs, four
cats, about 30 birds, 200 chickens, eight turkeys, five horses, and three
donkeys -- could take hours.
Could she perhaps turn in a little earlier at night? Not with the pile of 35
books she bought while in Seattle over Thanksgiving waiting on her night table.
And besides -- "I like watching David Letterman!"
2. Health Flaw: Stress
How does Stewart really relax? She admits she has yet to find the perfect
way to wind down from her hectic lifestyle. "I wish I had one!" she
laments. She's stressed by the way today's high-tech world has cut people off
from one another, and laments the fact that her daily phone conversation with
her daughter has now turned into a daily email. "Just simply talking to
somebody makes things better. A three-word email doesn't do that," she
"Although ... when I get on my horse and go out into the woods, the
thing I always say is, 'It doesn't get any better than this.' That's a good
little motto. We all need to look for those moments when we can say
3. Health Feat: Personalizing Her Grief
Stewart's loss of her mom last December was fairly sudden; she'd been in
good health up until a stroke
in early November. An unexpected loss requires a specific approach to grieving,
says Pamela Sollenberger, MS, a certified grief counselor who serves on the
advisory board for the American Academy of Grief Counseling.
"When someone has been very ill for a long time, we're a lot further
along in our grieving when that person dies," she says. "But if it's a
relatively sudden loss, we have no time to prepare." And just because
Stewart isn't wearing her grief on her crisply ironed sleeve doesn't mean she
isn't struggling in private. "Your grief is unique only to you. Yours is
different than mine, Martha Stewart's is different than ours," Sollenberger