Healthy Living Strategies

Actress Mariel Hemingway and partner Bobby Williams have discovered the benefits of a simple, outdoorsy lifestyle. Here’s how fresh air and healthy choices can do your body good.

Ellen Byron
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Photograph by Dana Fineman

Power down.
Bobby and Mariel try to keep a lid on the amount of time they spend online. “We put away our electronics at 8 pm every day,” says Mariel. That’s a good idea, since research from the National Sleep Foundation shows that exposure to computer screen light after dusk suppresses the release of the hormone melatonin, which promotes sleep.

Consider ending your day by watching the sun set. “It’s a great way to feel connected to the earth,” says Mariel.

Mariel’s mission to perserve mental health
Mariel Hemingway is passionate about mental health, since she’s lost seven family members to suicide, including grandfather Ernest. She recently filmed Running From Crazy, a documentary about her family’s battle with mental illness. “Mental illness still has a huge stigma,” says Mariel, who recently hosted the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention dinner in New York City, which Health Monitor attended. And it can be deadly: Suicide is the 10th leading killer of Americans.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help prevent it. If a loved one has any of the following warning signs, encourage him or her to see a mental health professional:

  • talking about suicide
  • feeling hopeless or desperate
  • having intense anxiety
  • losing interest in favorite activities
  • experiencing insomnia
  • withdrawing from family and friends
  • being irritable 
January 2013