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Stress is something Joan Borysenko knows something about. She's a Harvard-trained biologist and author of the new book Fried: Why You Burn Out and How to Revive. For 10 nonstop years, she juggled completing her clinical research, running a working farm (yes, that meant feeding chickens), raising two kids, writing a book and running 25 miles a week. In her two free minutes each evening, she secretly smoked cigarettes behind a tree in her front yard. Then came the back pain. After that, a scary feeling that she was sleepwalking through her life, immune even to her kids' excitement about riding their new pony through the woods.
She, the stress expert, was at the point of nonfunction.
Borysenko was a perfect example of how trying to do more than you can do for too long can result in a host of problems: emotional exhaustion (say, feeling numb inside when you know you'd normally feel happy or sad), recurring physical effects (back pain, constant colds, headaches) and a sense of spiritual emptiness that leaves you isolated from others.
This state can look a lot like depression. In fact, it might be easier to think of yourself as depressed; you can seek treatment from a doctor for that. Recent research, however, has found that although both result in a loss of motivation and pleasure, if you're burnt out, you can usually reclaim your everyday happiness—from taking great delight in a piece of crispy morning bacon to enjoying your hours at work or as a parent—once you make some fundamental changes. So the question is, How fried are you and what do you need to do about it? Go answer these questions to find out.
Ten Thousand Saints
By Eleanor Henderson
The setting: Gritty, energetic New York City in the '80s (with a little small-town Vermont)
Character you'll fall for: Fifteen-year-old Jude because he actually is named after the Beatles song and you don't want him to be afraid
Why we loved it: "The hard-edged settings highlight the touching vulnerability of young characters, who are—behind the sex, drugs and punk rock—innocents..."
Read the full review and browse the complete list of 16 books to watch for this month
Last night, Anthony Weiner admitted to and apologized for sending lewd pictures of himself to women over the Internet. He asked forgiveness from his wife, his family and the reporters he had originally "misled."
Standing in front of news cameras in a packed ballroom of reporters is one way to say sorry. But considering the magnitude of the situation, Weiner might consider visiting ShameBeGone.com—a site that asks "Are you in shame spiral?" and promises to dig you out by writing humble-pie emails to those you've hurt, let down or embarrassed.
"We handle end-of-relationship fall-out," claims the site. "Missed connections ... best friend's ex-boyfriends, family members, low-grade stalkers, people who owe you money, people to whom you owe money—almost anything and anyone." All you have to do is tell them about "a situation that you just can't deal with;" then you suggest what you think is a fair payment to them for fixing it and await the response. If the site accepts, its editor will provide you with a reconciliatory email to forward to the parties you offended.
Clearly, for Weiner this would be an expensive proposition. He'd have to pay for an email to every person in New York State whom he represents, not to mention the young high-school kids of America who aspired to, one day, be like him. Also women. Everywhere.
Here's the rub: Let's say ShameBeGone.com were magically engineered to achieve what it promises—even in big, ugly, impossible situations like this. Would I really want to Weiner's shame to be gone? There's a small, ungenerous, even unkind part of me that wants him to stew in his shame.
And, sigh, another part of me that knows that shame is too ugly to heap on anyone, that shame only causes more shame due to the cycle of guilt that inevitably occurs.
So what I really want is a magical site that will not take anything away from Weiner, but instead instill him with something else: remorse, responsibility and a way to find the real man inside.
Because infidelity is excruciating. Ask any real woman, including one our favorites, Wynonna Judd.
1. Savory Rhubarb and Chipotle Goat Cheese Pizza from Eats Well with Others
A pizza topped with a compote of rhubarb, balsamic vinegar and cranberry juice, sprinkled with smoky chipotle-infused goat cheese. Sounds weird? It works.
2. Sweet-and-Savory Rhubarb Jam from Cookbook Archaeology
This would be good with sharp Cheddar; some might even put it on grilled cheese. Also: with sausage on an English muffin for breakfast.
3. Savory Rhubarb Lentil Curry from Scissors and Spice
French lentils + rhubarb + mustard seeds + sweet potatoes = delicious
Oprah reminded us on her last show that we've all kept gratitude journals together. Actually, we may have missed a day (or 27), but we're getting back on the wagon. Every Friday, we'll be sharing what's making us happy right here. This week, we're thankful for...
What do you get when you pair a Paris designer with a much-loved American accessories brand? Effortless French accents! The limited edition Sophie Théallet for Nine West collection features shoes, bags and jewelry, all showcasing Théallet's signature feminine style. We spoke about the key pieces.
What inspired this line?
Stripes remind me of the French Riviera. And the silk grosgrain fabric has a dressy sheen that's great for day or night.
Why focus on accessories?
They let you add some fun to a neutral wardrobe: The satchel brightens up khakis; the ballet flats make a simple black skirt more interesting for work.
What can American women learn from the French about style?
French women like to feel free. The espadrilles and platform heels give you height and comfort; ballet flats are like sneakers, only sleeker. You can walk around uninhibited and still look chic.
Platform heel, $99; ballet flat, $79; espadrille, $99; NineWest.com
1. How big should my plate be?
2. What are they trying to tell us without actually saying?
The word "meat" doesn't appear anywhere on the diagram. Is using "protein" instead code for "eat less meat" (not that there's anything wrong with that, as we learned from Michael Pollan)?
3. Isn't there protein in vegetables, grains and dairy? So why is there a separate section for protein on the plate?