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Me & my health: Jason Shankey

By Gráinne McCarry

Male groomer Jason Shankey (37) believes in positive thinking to help achieve personal goals. He lives with his wife Brenda and their two |children, Lauren (7) and Will (5), in east Belfast

Do you get eight hours sleep a night?

No, not really. I get between six and seven hours. I'm too busy. My brain starts to go into overdrive at night and I'm usually working until 11pm, midnight or 1am. I don't find it easy to go to bed or fall asleep — and I don't find it easy to get out of bed in the morning either.

Early bird or night owl?

Night owl. I could easily work until two or three in the morning. I get up at 7.30am and Brenda gets up half an hour before me. She gets breakfast ready. When the kids aren't off on their summer holidays, I take them to school every morning.

Do you have a high pain threshold?

Yes, I suppose I do. I can blank out pain. Happily, I'm not exactly sure when was the last time that I was in any sort of pain.

When was your immune system at its best?

I don't know, I suppose when I was younger. I was very active, so perhaps when I was in my early 20s. Then, you get older and start going out for meals every week.

When I gave up smoking five months ago, I put on a lot of weight quite quickly. When you're smoking it's like having a flavour in your mouth, I suppose it's like having the flavour of food in your mouth. When it's taken away you crave it. In the first two or three weeks of stopping smoking, I put on two stone. I've since managed to take one stone off, and I'm playing tennis and going swimming. I'm trying to be the fittest I've ever been.

Have you ever experienced depression?

Yes, about 12 years ago when I lived in London. I worked there as a male hairdresser for three years, and I had come out of a bad break-up with a girl. That could've been the trigger for it. It's a clinical disorder, something doesn't necessarily have to happen in order for you to get it.

I went to the doctor and was prescribed tablets. I took them for a while but then weaned myself off them. Instead, I threw myself into my work and set myself goals to achieve.

It was a case of ‘mind over matter' and it worked for me, though it might not work for others. I tend to rely on positive thinking and I'm always happy when I achieve my goals.

Do you exercise?

Yes, I tend to go swimming twice a week and I take the children to the pool with me. I only do 10-20 lengths — I don't like to take exercise too seriously. I would never go on to the treadmill or anything. I play tennis twice a week as well, but that's just hitting a ball around for fun. Nothing serious.

Old wives’ tales or as the doctor ordered?

Probably strictly as the doctor ordered. I don't believe in old wives’ tales.

When did you last visit the doctor?

About five months ago when I gave up smoking. I was prescribed a new drug called Champex. I take it every day, twice a day, and it takes away my desire to smoke. The tablets made it really easy. Apart from that, I can't|remember the last time I went to the doctor's because I was actually sick.

Last time you were feeling under the weather — what did you do?

If I don’t feel well, I buy myself a treat to cheer myself up.

Do you calorie count?

No, I don't count them at all. I only eat once a day usually. I don't eat breakfast and don't really bother with lunch.I tend to eat at around 3pm and that does me all day. I certainly don't count calories.

Do you eat your five a day?

No, I don't. I'm very bad at that.

Do you take any supplements?

Yes, I take a Berocca every day. It's got like 100% of everything you need in it. It was someone in business that recommended it to me. Anyone that has a business always has to be on the go and they tend to get run down every so often so it's a good pick-me-up.

Do you believe in the mid-life crisis?

Possibly, yes. I know some people who have experienced it. I don't know why, maybe they get bogged down doing the same thing for too long without making any changes. Variety is the spice of life and I need different things to be happening all the time.

Organic or ready meals?

I don't eat ready meals at all. I refuse to eat them. Having said that, I'm not strictly organic |either. I wouldn't go out of my way to go shopping for organic food.

Is sex vital to overall wellbeing?

Yes, definitely. It certainly is. It's great exercise, de-stresses you and helps you bond with your partner. It keeps you young as well!

Best advice ever received?

If you do what you always do, you'll get what you always get. It basically means that if you keep failing at something, you need to take a look at what you're doing and make changes in order to achieve things.

Have you ever donated blood?

Yes, I have.

The Organ Debate— would you?

Yes, I've signed the forms and I have carried a donor card for as long as I can remember.

Hair of the dog?

A pint of Guinness.

Desert island must have?

Probably a computer with an internet connection so that I could do my work and keep in touch with my friends.

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