When it comes to reducing stress and maintaining balance in my life, I rely on my community. AKA: hanging out with my girlfriends.
Last year I contracted a nasty gastro infection. Thanks to my great doctors, my recovery was complete. Well almost. Sadly, I was told no, or very limited, use of antibiotics.
During my yearly physical, I told my doctor my number one goal for 2019 was to improve my overall heath, particularly strengthening my immune system. She said cutting stress would be a big part of that. She prescribed exercise, a healthy diet, and spending time with my girlfriends.
My doctor explained that women thrive in deep relationships with their girlfriends. They need an outlet to share their thoughts, feelings, and problems — someone who is more emotionally driven, i.e., another woman.
Like a lot of people, I had gotten caught up in my life. Running my growing business. Spending time with my husband. And snuggling with our dogs.
It was time for a change.
The next day, I contacted several of my girlfriends and set up dinner dates. I called or texted those who are miles away. I told them that my doctor had prescribed “spending time with my girlfriends” as essential to my health.
Over the last few months, I’ve had dinner with at least one friend every month. I now have a monthly video chat with several friends who live in other parts of the country. I’ve made an effort to spend more time on the phone and less time texting.
Am I happier and less stressed?
I love the two to three-hour conversations that I only have with my girlfriends. Sharing problems, triumphs, and skin care advice with someone who has likely stood in your shoes is priceless.
Now when life gets in the way, I remind myself and my friends that adding joy to my life is “doctor’s orders.”