Tuesday, March 1

A Little Girl Time

Here's what happens when my sisters and I get together.

Tammi, me, Cathy

My mom and her girls. She can dress us up, but
she can't take us anywhere.

My sisters are not only tons of fun but they've been my best friends forever, so it's no surprise that I look forward to our annual tradition of celebrating my mom's birthday with a trip home to Georgia and a lot of girl time. 

My sisters and I ditch our husbands and kids, shack up at my mom's house, pour the wine, eat loads of bad food and watch movies all day and night. Our movie staples are romantic comedies and anything our husbands would hate, e.g., Jane Austen movies, musicals, and films with subtitles.

It's a glorious few days of talking, eating, drinking, more talking, usually some crying, and more talking. And of course we watch movies, sometimes simultaneously with all that other stuff. I always return home happy and rejuvenated. Well, that and a little dehydrated, maybe slightly hungover and kind of bloated, but hey, it's worth it.

Last week was my annual trip and as I drove home I thought, "Everyone should do this. It's fantastic!"

Taking time to visit friends or family IS fantastic and it turns out, it's also healthy for you.

A team from Brigham Young University analyzed data from 148 studies which covered over 300,000 people and discovered that strong social relationships are as beneficial to your health as quitting smoking, losing weight or taking certain medications.

Humans are social creatures. We’re designed to interact and spend time together and now researchers are proving that socializing not only feels good, but it’s good for you!

Of course the opposite is true too. According to Julianne Holt-Lunstad, the lead researcher and psychologist of the study, “A lack of social relationships was equivalent to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.”

That's particularly bad news since as a society we are becoming more and more isolated. With the internet, social networking sites and working from home, we're spending less face-to-face time with other adults. And that’s not healthy. Isolation is correlated with loneliness and a variety of mental health issues.

So next time you feel guilty about scheduling a coffee date with a friend or a girls/boys night out, don’t. Instead, raise your glass and toast to your health.

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