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Health coach Sandra Feaster: Taking ten minutes
My Day | My Life
BY PETER BOWES | SUNDAY MARCH 27, 2022
Sandra Feaster is a registered nurse and health coach. Now retired she is enjoying a new lease on life – busier than ever, but without some of the pressures of working life.
Related: Retire, pivot or die – LLAMA podcast interview, April 28, 2019
My Day | My Life explores the lives of people who have, in one way or another, mastered the art of aging. Whether it be through diet, exercise, mindfulness, spirituality, nutraceutical interventions, social connections, generosity or fulfilling careers, we discover the essential elements to living life with purpose, and perhaps, longevity.
Sandra Feaster: I’m 68 years old and or 68 years young, I should say. When I wake up in the morning, first of all, I feel grateful. I feel grateful that I woke up. So many people, they wake up and they don’t feel energized. The sun is starting to come up and it’s a blessing to be able to have that morning. I feel good. I’m ready for the day.
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The first thing that I do in the morning is always coffee. And I’m very lucky that my husband brings me coffee at 6 a.m. and starting off the day, just taking a moment to determine what the day looks like. We compare schedules while we’re sipping our coffee and two little dogs come over for their morning pets.
I teach every morning at 8 a.m.. So I teach online fitness classes to people that are 60 and older, and at 8:00 I look forward to them coming on. They come on regularly. I have a group of people that have been with me all throughout COVID and they’ve maintained their strength and vigor, vitality. My 70 year olds do burpees, which is amazing for them, so it’s a great way to start the day. I look at all of the people that I teach and each and every one of them really brings their A-game to their willingness to become fit and be as best and have functionality as they grow older. I have people in the class that are in their eighties, people that are in their early sixties. The classes are geared different levels for them, and so everyone can do all of the exercises at their level.
So I really draw inspiration from them to see them level up in what they’re doing and bring their smiles every day. One of my clients just got back from dog sledding. They sent videos of dog sledding. And the biggest thing she said was because of these classes, I could get in and out of the dog sled. So that inspires me to keep going. I love it.
My life and career has been a series of pivots, which I started out, you know, early on as a nurse. So my background is nursing. From there I went into marketing positions, sales positions with technology, and about every four years had taken on different skills, different learnings from each of those positions and built on them. When I retired at 62 from university life, I was at Stanford University. I decided that I really needed to become fit, and so I pivoted towards fitness training. I was not an athlete. I have many clients, many people I talk to, they say they’re former athletes. Well, I will say that they’re different athletes, not former athletes. So really pivoting those experiences and building onto them. I’m a lifelong learner and so love to take those different pieces of information and build on them.
I get inspired to live the best that I can for a couple of reasons. One is I’m a cancer survivor, and I think anyone that has gone through a cancer diagnosis, you get that aha moment. And I think that and we see that with people in health care, working in health care for a very long time. You see people that have, you know, a moment of a health crisis and they want to make changes. Sometimes they follow through with it, sometimes they don’t. But I really look at wanting to live a long life and knowing that life can be cut short quickly. So it gives you that moment of reflection and motivation. For me, it was a motivator. I looked in the mirror and went, I need to make some changes and life is good. Let’s, let’s live it.
When I’m done my teaching. And that’s pretty early because it’s 8 to 9 and I come into my office and get settled down. But the first thing I do is meditate. I don’t have enough time in the morning or I’m generally to rush to take a moment, but it gets me into a work mindset by taking 10 minutes. I don’t meditate that long and I try to do it regularly. I’m not always great at doing it regularly, but I take those moments and then I open up my planner, I open up my computer, I turn on my email. But just that moment of phew? Okay, let’s start the day.
My husband always laughs because I eat the same thing every day for lunch. He says, You’re very boring. I said, Yes, I am. I would eat the same thing every day for dinner too, if I didn’t have a husband that liked a little variety.
I hate to say my lunch is a sandwich, but I do put some vegetables on it. We have a little microgreens that go on it. It’s a good, healthy spelt bread. And so it’s boring, but it’s comforting. It’s a routine.
At the end of the day, I plan what I want to get done the next day. So what are my three accomplishments? It may be planting. You know, we have a garden. We developed a garden. So what are the new vegetables that are going in and maybe harvesting what grew? Walking in the vineyard, we we planted a vineyard that’s two years young. If you don’t write it down in my philosophy, you don’t do it. And so that’s where I think, you know, many people go through and it’s just time gets lost.
I retired. So I liked that routine of work of getting up, eating the same breakfast, going to work, eating the same lunch. But but the routine. And I think once for me, when I get out of a routine, I get a little bit disoriented, you know, not terribly, but it’s disruptive. So I like having something that’s planned. I like knowing what I’m going to do that day. I like having goals. And I think, you know, having those goals and a lot of them working here on our farm, we have to stay physically fit. My husband and I both work out. We converted our gym. I train people in the home as well as on Zoom. You can’t pick up rocks in a vineyard all day long and not be fit or squat down and weed or pick from the garden. So it’s just, you know, that that part of it is so invigorating to me.
We have a routine as well for the evening. That is a glass of wine. My husband is still working full time, but on Zoom most of the time. But at about 5:00 it’s just having that nice decompression of talking with each other and sipping a glass of wine of how did the day go? You know what went well? Anything bothering you? So it’s a nice time for the two of us to connect.
I’m very fortunate that I do not have any problems sleeping. I can go to sleep right away and pretty much stay asleep for six/eight hours. I think as we age, we do need more sleep. We need that rejuvenation. There’s a fallacy out there that people think that, Oh, I’m older, I should sleep less. But I really believe that rejuvenation overnight is so important as we age and rejuvenate all of our cells and get as much good sleep as we can. That’s the one thing I have found with this lifestyle change of being older is I don’t wake up worrying about what I should have done at work or what conversation I had with someone, the things that cause us, or meeting coming up that, you know, I might have felt that I needed to prepare more. It’s very pleasant to be able to sleep well.