Do You Need More Vitamin J in Your Life?


It’s a stage we approach with a mix of anticipation and a healthy dose of fear of what’s to come. Careers peak, children leave the nest (if we’re lucky), and the question of “Who am I now?” often hangs heavy in the air. But even with anxiety about what’s to come, there’s a powerful truth.  Midlife can be a time of much joy and rediscovery.

Several years ago, I found myself in this soul-sucking period where joy seemed to have left the building. I even considered closing up shop on my business. I felt burnt out. 

So, what was the key to unlocking this joy? I hired a mindset coach, and we set about finding the things that really light me up. I removed ALL the pressure to meet goals. I gave myself permission to just BE. For me, it was not about expensive vacations or drastic life changes (although that followed) but about making space for the things I loved. I had completely stopped doing that!

Let’s examine the science behind why prioritizing pleasure is critical and how you can assess whether you need more of it in your life.

The Science of Joyful Rejuvenation

Science is increasingly validating the importance of pleasure for our well-being. Here’s how incorporating joyful activities in midlife benefits you:

  • Stress Reduction: Pleasure activates the reward system in your brain, releasing dopamine, a neurotransmitter that reduces stress hormones like cortisol. Chronic stress is linked to a multitude of health issues, so incorporating activities you enjoy can be a powerful preventative measure.
  • Enhanced Mood: Dopamine also plays a crucial role in regulating mood. When you engage in pleasurable activities, you’re essentially giving your brain a happiness boost, combating feelings of negativity, and promoting a more optimistic outlook.
  • Cognitive Benefits: Studies have shown that doing things you enjoy can improve cognitive function and memory. Pleasure can stimulate the creation of new brain cells and strengthen existing neural pathways, keeping your mind sharp. And who doesn’t want THAT?
  • Greater Resilience: Experiencing joy can also build resilience. When you prioritize the activities you find pleasurable, you create a bank of positive emotions to draw on when things are hard.
Assessing Your Joy Quotient

So, how do you know if you need to prioritize pleasure more in your life? Here’s a simple self-assessment tool:

  • The “Groundhog Day” Check-in: Do your days blur together in a monotonous routine? When was the last time you did something purely for the fun of it? This was exactly what had happened in my life. That, and I had taken on more clients than I could joyfully handle with ease. Solution: hire some new team members and schedule photography outings. Problem solved!
  • The “Emotional Thermometer”: How often do you feel genuinely happy and excited? Do you find yourself feeling drained, overwhelmed, or simply going through the motions? I’ve always been pretty good at having something scheduled that I look forward to. But this period of my life was at the beginning of COVID. While the pandemic was great for business, I had absolutely no ability to schedule ANYTHING fun because the world was shut down.
  • The “Spark” Test: Think about your hobbies and interests. Do any activities ignite a spark of excitement within you? If not, can you identify why those activities have fallen by the wayside? Again, an area of improvement for me.

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, it’s time to make some joyful adjustments!

Finding Your Midlife Oasis

The beauty of prioritizing pleasure is that it’s a deeply personal journey. Here are some tips to help you rediscover the activities that bring you joy:

  • Revisit Childhood: Did you love painting as a child? Did you enjoy dancing before life got busy? Dust off those old passions and rediscover the joy they bring.
  • Get Out of Your Box: Step outside your comfort zone and try something new! Take a pottery class, join a book club, or learn a new language. You might surprise yourself with what sparks joy.
  • Savor “Micro-Pleasures”: Don’t underestimate the power of small, everyday joys. For me, a cup of coffee and my Merlin app in the morning is a perfect way to start the day. Simple, free and this routine gets my day off to a great start. 
  • The Power of “No”: “No” is a complete sentence. Saying “no” creates space to say “yes” to the things that truly matter, to the things that bring you joy, and politely decline those that are draining.
  • The Joy of Connection: Social connection is a key component of well-being. Spend time with loved ones who uplift and inspire you. Consider joining a social group that aligns with your interests. Or give yourself the ultimate connection.

Prioritizing pleasure isn’t selfish. A woman who feels joyful and fulfilled is better equipped to navigate the challenges and opportunities of midlife. So, embrace the activities that bring you light, reconnect with your inner spark, and watch your life become a time of vibrant rediscovery and happiness.

Additional Inspiration:
  • Consider creating a “Joy Jar.” Write down activities that bring you pleasure, and pull one out whenever you need a dose of happiness.
  • Surround yourself with beauty. Decorate your home with things you love, visit art museums, or spend time in nature.
  • Practice gratitude. Taking time to appreciate the good things in your life can significantly enhance your overall happiness and well-being. There’s no right way to do this. Some use a journal, some do it upon waking, or at the end of the day. The important thing is to DO it and be as specific as possible.

Remember, life SHOULD be joyful, and you deserve as much as anyone else. Make it a priority and watch your life blossom!

If you’re looking for an opportunity to design what you want to create for your next chapter (no matter what your age is), please join me on this retreat. This retreat has been in the making for 3 years in my head, and it’s finally here. Early bird discount of $1000 for the first 3 registrants until 8/18!

Dr. Anna Garrett is a menopause expert and Doctor of Pharmacy. She helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. Dr. Anna is the author of Perimenopause: The Savvy Sister’s Guide to Hormone Harmony. Order your copy at

Dr. Anna is available for 1-1 consultations. Find out more at

Get Chapter 1 of Dr. Anna’s Book—Free!

Perimenopause: The Savvy Sister’s Guide to Hormone Harmony

This book gives you the tools you need to navigate this transition without losing your mind or your mojo.

By clicking “Submit” you are opting-in to receive email marketing from me. Don’t worry, you’re able to unsubscribe at any time if you don’t find value in the content I send, but I’m confident that you will.