“Girl Time” is Important for Your Health

One of the most rejuvenating things I have done recently was to enjoy a “Girl Week” with three of my female friends. {{more}} Two of the women are from Ohio and one is from Connecticut. We spent a week together at a Villa in Miami, Florida.

It was exhilarating, fun, full of laughs, and a great chance to relax and reconnect with each other. I worked with one of the women and the other’s husband many years ago in Ohio.

We were great friends then, but the years had separated us when I moved to Connecticut and we were busy with our careers, marriages, and raising our families.

We always managed to keep in touch over the years, but never to spend a whole week away on vacation with no responsibilities and just having fun.

My Connecticut friend and I shared an apartment together in our early careers, and have remained close as we traveled together, raised our families and enjoyed many common interests.

It is a proven fact that making and sustaining long term relationships is a key ingredient for sustainable mental health.

The head of psychiatry at the University of Stanford said recently in a talk that one of the best things a woman can do for her health is to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends.

Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. According to this psychiatrist, “girlfriend time” helps to create more serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well-being.

Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities, such as jobs, sports, and cars.

Our Girl Week together certainly created a fair share of serotonin for the four of us! We talked each morning over coffee while planning our day and sharing our feelings on just about every subject under the sun.

One evening we made ravioli pasta together and stuffed it with an avocado and salsa mixture that we chopped and made ourselves. We enjoyed this homemade meal with a bottle of wine as much as we enjoyed our nights dining out.

We explored Vizcaya, South Beach, and Coconut Grove where I had my first milk shake at a Johnny Rocket’s outdoor café.

We went to the famous Cadillac Golf Tournament on Practice Day at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa and literally stood next to Tiger Woods as he dropped a bucket of balls onto the green and methodically putted each one into a hole only a foot away. We acted like teenagers following around other well-known golf champions.

We danced the salsa one evening at the Bossa Nova Lounge with members of the band playing that night. We met new people from Peru and Venezuela and enjoyed their stories of life in America.

At the end of each day while catching up on emails and playing games on our I Pads, we had more soul searching conversations late into the night (well, late, for us mature women, that is!)

So every time you hang out to schmooze with a gal pal, just remember that you are doing something good for yourself. Gals, let’s toast to our friendships with our girlfriends. Evidently it’s very good for our health.

Joanne Byrne served as Senior Services Coordinator for the Town of Orange. She is now actively and happily retired. Email her at joannebyrne41@gmail.com to share your thoughts on retirement.