In her early 50s, actress, filmmaker, and director Connie Ferguson is looking better than ever. The multitalented mother-of-two and grandmother (yes, this youthful and radiant lady is a grandmother) has cemented herself as a powerhouse, a business mogul, and a fitness queen. While it is no secret that Connie has faced challenges, she has been able to bounce back in a way that is not only touching but inspiring. So what’s her secret to staying youthful, radiant, and happy?
Connie lost her husband, Shona Ferguson, just a few months before their 20th-year wedding anniversary. The filmmaker and director passed away from COVID-19 complications. The power couple have not only acted together but have also produced multiple shows together under their production company, Ferguson Films. As an integral part of her life, his untimely death was undoubtedly a difficult period for her and the family. But one thing that helped them get through it was prayer and having a healthy spiritual life.
The actress shared that her family survived this trying season by God’s grace.
She said: “I know the Lord has been my strength throughout this whole year, otherwise I wouldn’t have survived. I didn’t go back onto antidepressants, (and) that in itself is a miracle.” She explains prayer and fasting as sources of strength, sharing that “prayer is faith-based, you have to believe it will happen.” She shared that if she didn’t have the foresight of believing and trusting the Lord, she wouldn’t have made it through.
Having spiritual beliefs is very important, with studies showing that people who are spiritual or religious tend to live longer. According to the Havard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, spirituality is associated with greater longevity, a lowered risk of depression, and increased immunity. A stronger immune system means increased fitness, something she cites as a great help for her mental well-being.
Exercise – Her Elixir
Connie has spoken openly about her battle with depression.
Describing it as “having an out-of-body experience all the time,” she has shared that she was previously on antidepressants. She had tried therapy and trauma counseling. But what really worked for her was exercise. “I found that what makes me happy and boosts my mood all the time is exercise,” she says. This is something health experts have backed up, with research showing that exercise can aid depression by boosting endorphins and dopamine production.
According to studies, exercise increases brain sensitivity to serotonin and norepinephrine, hormones that can relieve feelings of depression. Exercise is also linked to a reduced risk of chronic disease, improved skin and brain health, and stronger bones and muscles. “Exercise is good for so many different reasons, but the reason I commit even when I don’t feel like it is because of its effect on my mental health,” Connie shares.
She encompasses these elements in a simple mantra; “Wake up, PRAY, exercise, and go about your day.”
Alternative Medicine – The Infamous White Pod
Along with taking care of her physical and mental well-being through exercise, Connie has also opted for some alternative treatments. Earlier this year, Connie sparked waves online when she posted photos of herself inside a white pod, which was explained to be ozone therapy. While many thought that “sleeping in a powerbank” was her key to youthfulness, this wasn’t the case. She explains it as a “steaming machine… that (detoxifies) the body”.
According to ozone therapist Chris Porter, ozone sauna therapy is where “ozone is absorbed into the body through the skin to improve your wellness.” This is said to not only help detoxify your body but also stimulate the immune system and boost its natural defenses.
Traveling Is Medicinal
She mentions the importance of taking her vacation to Dubai with the kids, which was her husband’s favorite holiday destination. In fact, this was the family’s last vacation destination with him. So making this the family’s first holiday destination since his passing was symbolic.
“We kind of just wanted to trace all the things that we did with him, do everything in his memory, and also just, I suppose, to help us heal.” She explains. By doing this, they were able to test their strength and ability “to do the things that we used to do with him, without him”.
This emphasizes the importance of vacationing and taking time off for your overall health and well-being. Studies have shown that vacationing is more than just a leisure activity, being the source of a wide range of health benefits. According to numerous studies, vacations can not only reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, but also reduce burnout and lower your risk of depression, and depression-related symptoms.
The Ferguson Foundation
As something she and her late husband were meant to launch together, she has ensured that the Ferguson Foundation is a part of her husband’s legacy. And while it includes a film school, their efforts go beyond helping within the industry.
The acting industry comes with numerous challenges, and Connie has seen this firsthand. She shares how “people work hard (but) it’s usually hand to mouth”. The pandemic exposed a lot of things, one of which was people not having enough money for emergencies or unforeseen circumstances. Since assisting people out of their pockets wasn’t sustainable, she, along with her late husband, moved to provide financial literacy for those in the industry to fight this.
Not being able to effectively manage your finances can be extremely stressful, and take a toll on your overall health. Studies have shown that financial stress increases your risk of chronic anxiety, depression, insomnia, exacerbated diabetes, and an affected cardiovascular system. This can manifest as constant headaches, a rapid heartbeat, and even heart disease.
Mental Health – The Core of the Foundation
The foundation’s core focus is mental health and well-being across all ages and within families. She explains that mental health is layered and that they aim to help families support each other without any judgement. The foundation also emphasizes the importance of therapy. By working to show that “therapy is important,” she cites how we are chemical beings and how mental health ailments are rooted in these chemical imbalances.
What’s Next For Connie?
Connie has left a massive impact on countless people. Whether it be through her productions, her inspirational fitness videos on her dedicated Instagram page @iconniecfit, or her foundation, she has truly cemented herself in the hearts of many.
Her wish for this year? Truly being happy, content, and at peace. She states that she is on a journey of rediscovering her sole purpose, as “my purpose with my partner, lived itself out”.
One of her focuses is her beauty range, which she will be launching new products in June. With this and other production projects, the future is still shining bright for Connie.