The Unwind is Yahoo Life’s well-being series in which experts, influencers and celebrities share their approaches to wellness and mental health, from self-care rituals to setting healthy boundaries to the mantras that keep them afloat.
Martha Stewart doesn't do meditation. But when it comes to living her best life, there are a few "very good things" that the businesswoman and lifestyle trailblazer does swear by — among them, fresh air, green juice and farm living.
"I do take very, very good care of myself," Stewart tells Yahoo Life's The Unwind of her approach to wellness. "I have my regular checkups; they're on the calendar at least six months in advance. I eat extremely well. I'm not a vegetarian, but I do eat a lot of good fish and very little meat. I eat fantastic vegetables that I grow myself, and delicious eggs right out of my chicken coop. I live on a farm, which I think is one of the healthiest lifestyles there is because when I get up in the morning, I can go outside and breathe fresh air. I can plant some flowers or pick some vegetables and make a green juice that is utterly delicious, which really helps with the maintenance of good skin, good hair and strong bones.
"It's just important for me to look good and feel good," the former model adds. "My career requires it."
And what a career it is. In addition to the eponymous media and merchandising company she founded in 1997, Stewart, 80, has a host of TV and retail projects in the works, running the gamut from her own Martha's Chard wine ("not oaky, not too buttery") to "delicious" CBD gummies and pet treats.
Now an adviser for Toronto-based cannabis company Canopy Growth, Stewart credits her foray into the CBD space to frequent sidekick and noted marijuana enthusiast Snoop Dogg. She and the rapper have teamed up once again for a joint campaign for the BIC EZ Reach lighter, which now comes in stylish, Stewart-approved faux stone prints. While the duo's ads wink at Snoop's 4/20 lifestyle, Stewart says she's found more domestic uses for the "handy" lighter, including igniting the pilot lights in the gas stoves she keeps in her homes like any true gourmand would.
"I use them for candles of course, all the time," she adds. "I use them to light my barbecue, and I also use them to light my fireplace fires; it's really nice on a cold night."
Stewart has built her business around the art of fine dining and entertaining, but it's more than just work; hosting friends for dinner remains one of her great pleasures. "I really do enjoy sitting down with friends," she says, conjuring up the previous night's mouthwatering feast of turkey meatloaf, salad and a beef broth she topped, in true Martha style, with shiitake mushrooms, spinach and watercress from her greenhouse. While she's, of course, partial to her Martha's Chard, she otherwise doesn't drink much alcohol and has never smoked, noting, "all that stuff is really bad for you."
Staying active is also a priority. In addition to yoga and swimming, Stewart enjoys horseback riding, cycling and working with a trainer in her home gym.
"I go riding at least once a week, a good long trail ride," Stewart, who owns five horses, says. "I have a trainer come two times a week, at least. During COVID, it was a little harder; I had to self-motivate to get to the gym, which I have on my property. It's great to have your own gym — at least with a few pieces of good equipment for weight lifting. It's also good to have a treadmill if you can't run or walk outside, or a recumbent bike is OK. I also love to bike ride. So I have a garage full of bikes for me and my friends, and I have four miles of road on my farm, and we can ride all over those roads, as well as ride on those roads on our horses. So it's really a good, healthy lifestyle."
What stresses her out? Disorganization and dishevelment, Stewart says. But even the woman whose name has become synonymous with perfection can't have it all. A good night's sleep is something that continues to elude the entertaining expert.
"I just live with it. I am an insomniac. I wake up so early, or in the middle of the night. Then I hope the New York Times has posted its next crossword puzzle, because I'm up doing the crossword puzzle," she laughs. "I read, I watch a series, I watch a new movie or an old movie that I haven't seen before ... I do that kind of stuff and then I tend to fall back to sleep. Insomnia is not the best thing, but for me it, it's not deleterious in any way to my health. My doctor says [to] just stay in bed, rest and try to sleep. I don't take sleeping pills or any of that stuff. In fact, I don't take any pills."
Poor sleep aside, Stewart is passionate about being productive, vibrant and at the top of her game as she settles into her 80s. She credits her "learn something new every day" mantra with helping her to stay sharp and maintain a curiosity about the world. She also holds dear another motto that is reflective of the unexpected ways in which she and her brand have grown.
"When you're through changing, you're through," Stewart says. "So be adaptive, be adoptive. Evolve always."
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