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Martha Stewart's Best and Worst Health Habits

The domestic diva talks about her efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
By
WebMD Magazine - Feature

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.)

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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 says.

"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 that."

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 says.

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