Friends are good for your health
Many moms are swamped with their family's schedule and household responsibilities, so establishing and maintaining friendships can be difficult. But you shouldn't put it off because friends are not only good for your social life, they're good for your health.
If you've been stalling to develop or maintain friendships (the adult kind), you may not want to put if off any longer. Turns out, friends aren't just for keeping us company -- they can actually improve our health!
Feel the love
Have you ever noticed that you feel better about yourself when you have friends around? There's a good reason female friendships improve our self-confidence. "When women spend time together, they secrete oxytocin," says Dr. Eva Ritvo, a psychiatrist and co-author of The Beauty Prescription. "Oxytocin is a hormone that makes us feel calm and allows us to bond. It is sometimes called 'the love hormone'." As a busy mom, you deserve to feel the love!
While relationships with our husbands and kids are important, they certainly don't offer the level of support that comes from truly understanding our roles as mothers. "Friendships provide a source of support, comfort and degree of separation from our everyday lives," says Emma Viglucci, Marriage and Family Therapist. "Friendships support independence, enhance self-esteem and promote a stronger self-identity." Friends also provide a much-needed distraction from household chores and family schedules. Remember, you're more than mom and wife -- you're also a woman who benefits from peer interaction.
It doesn't matter where you live, how old you are or how many kids you have, chances are, you're a real life super woman. With all of the balls you're juggling, female relationships may take a backseat, but paying attention to your friends doesn't have to take as much time as you may think. "You don't need to carve out a full weekend to reconnect," says Stephanie Goetsch, relationship expert and founder of HerExchange.com. "In fact, small, more frequent doses will keep you continually inspired and uplifted." Try scheduling little get-togethers such as a quick coffee or a jog around the neighborhood. You'd be surprised what a difference a few precious moments can make on your outlook.
So, how do you cultivate female friendships? Viglucci provides the following practical tips:
* Network with your children's friends' moms. Set up playdates with the moms you like and add a mom activity or discussion to the event.
* Reconnect with old friends. Have a monthly get-together with old friends and support each other's endeavors and dreams.
* Have weekly connecting sessions with friends. Spend "mindless time" like doing chores, driving, shopping or working-out chatting on the phone!
* Use your professional organizations to make friends. Explore, connect and network with others at conferences, workshops and meetings. Then stay in touch and develop the relationship.