S.M.A.C.K.s for Stepmoms: Do you have a pleasure deficit?

25 11 2008

dec08_cvr1Yesterday, a series of things happened that made me realize I am experiencing a pleasure deficit. First, I had a lunch with some really groovy folks. Jocelyn Hale, the Executive Director of the Loft Literary Center, Dennis Cass, the author of the hilarious and fantastic book Head Case, and Pilar Gerasimo, Editor-in-Chief of Experience Life magazine. We were discussing an article that is coming out in the December issue of Experience Life called A Real Pleasure in which the staff of the magazine describe how all the latest research in the fields of positive psychology, neurology, and psychoneuroimmunology show that pleasure is good for us. Yet, each of us at the table admitted to not taking proper care of ourselves by doing activities that really gave us joy. For instance, I absolutely love massages but I haven’t booked one since before Eva was born. She’s 8 months old.

Then I ended up at the eye doctor yesterday afternoon with what turns out to be a case of episcleritis. My left eye is all red and it hurts. Why? Because I’ve been staring at the computer for too many hours in a row. You got it. I’ve been working too hard, with too few breaks for fun.

The final straw was a voice message from my co-author Clare. She admitted she was totally exhausted. She’s working two jobs and has to work through the Thanksgiving holiday without a break.

Consider this quote from the Experience Life article: “Pursuing pleasure and feeling stress, it turns out, are mutually exclusive – which means that embracing pleasurable experiences may present not just an opportunity for warm fuzzies, but a very real antidote to stress and a very necessary ingredient to sustained well-being.”

Instead of letting the Inner Critic freak out on me and tell me I can’t possibly get up from the desk since there is so much to do, I flipped it the bird. After a business phone call I must take at 10:30 a.m. CST, I am outta here! If you don’t hear from me for the rest of the day, you’ll know I am off visiting a flower shop and inhaling as deeply as I can. Or maybe I’ll be tasting a cup of joe in my favorite coffee shop. Or perhaps I’ll even book a massage for later this very day. The only errand I’ll run is to buy myself a pair of reading glasses – promise!

It seems to me that this post is really important for us stepmoms since the place where most of us go to relax – our home – produces serious stress in our lives. So what will you do today, right this minute, to increase the joy and pleasurable experiences in your life?

Visit www.smackyourinnercritic.com for more about how to knock out your Inner Critic and live the life of your dreams!



3 responses

25 11 2008

Honest to god: I pole dance.

I started taking pole dancing classes last year after I’d had a miscarriage and it’s transformed me physically and mentally. I don’t do anything with stripping and I’ve made some amazing friends in my classes.

I bought a pole for myself for Christmas last year and if I can’t get to class (Sundays at noon — what a great reprieve my family!), then I’ll head downstairs and do a few spins or tricks and I feel sexy and powerful.

25 11 2008

This is something I definitely need to work on. And it’s not just from being a new stepmom, ti’s something that I’ve always done. I usually go out and try to pamper myself. I also keep a handful of delicious smelling bubbles for bubble baths on hand for a nice hot bath, followed by a pampering session in the shower with body scrubs, manicures and pedicures, hair treatments and what not.

I can’t always afford a nice trip to the spa, but I make sure that I get well taken care of with at home products.

26 11 2008
Pilar Gerasimo

Hey Jacque, thanks for the nice shout out, and it’s so great that you got the big pleasure “aha!”

Pleasure deficits are a real health and happiness problem for most of the busy people I know (including yours truly). And it’s amazing how giving yourself a healthy dose of pleasure (even simple pleasures like stopping to smell, taste or feel something yummy or even just stand in a patch of sunshine for a moment) can completely transform how you feel on a given day. The trick is, you have to make it a priority and consciously choose to enjoy.

Speaking of which, it was wonderful to see you at lunch (red eye and all — I meant to ask you about that, but somehow it never came up!)

Anyway, the “A Real Pleasure” feature article is available now on our Web site, for anyone that would like to read it, and if folks want to sign up for our free e-newsletter, we’ll send them the heads up every time a new issue comes out. January’s theme is “Reinvent Yourself,” and it includes a nice Resolutions Workshop feature with step by step advice on doing that whole process.

Meanwhile, very excited about your Smackdowns project. Keep up the terrific work! And make some time to play, too …. 🙂


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