Did you know there is a strong correlation between good health and friendship?
It is a scientifically proven fact that solid social relationships and time spent enjoying moments together inspire more than just belly laughs; friend time is actually good for your health and well-being. Specifically, time with friends encourages resilience against things like heart disease and strengthens the immune system.
According to TIME, “strong social support, whether it comes from friends, family or spouse, is strongly associated with better mental and physical health.” So, if we take the opposite into consideration, that means that a lack of social interaction can leave us at a higher risk for developing a chronic illness and/or mental health issues.
We see the value in friend time because we feel the benefits both within our own relationships and our health!
Here are some super fun, out-of-the-box ways to have a night in, or out, with your friends because life is short and your health matters.
Exercise & Libations
Friendship is good for your health, right? Right! Go break a sweat with your friends and then follow it up with some adult beverages and whatever delicious food your heavily beating heart desires. What about a hike in the woods followed by a beer and burger? Or what about Lauren’s Saturday morning Power Yoga Class? Hit her up first and then explore Chicago like it is your oyster. Whatever you choose, know this option just might be some of the best medicine around.
If you share an interest in good food and drink (who doesn’t) take that normal dining experience to the next level and find a cooking class. There is something so exciting about learning a new recipe or way of cooking and who better to do that with than some of your people? I recently took a class at one of our favorite local restaurants and it was highly enjoyable. I recommend this friend-sperience.
If you don’t have a friend who has a lake house, make one fast and then get the heck out of dodge. I’m kidding…sort of. Sometimes a night out just isn’t enough. This getaway doesn’t have to be fancy, although those are nice too and, let’s be honest, most buddies can have fun in any situation. I say, ditch the guilt of missing kids’ games and not being around for a couple of days and repeat after me, “Girl time is a necessity.” You won’t regret it.
Have a Hygge Hangout
The ultimate cozy hang consists of three things: a fire (inside or outside), a cocktail, and takeout. This approach to some hang time is about as cozy as it gets and should always be rounded out with a big pot of your most delicious soup or pizza from your favorite spot. Done and done. Let the healing begin.
Start a Book Club (or Any Club for That Matter)
Here is the deal, us ladies will look for any excuse to have a good time and, if that means you have to start a club to gather the gang, then a club it is! Reese Witherspoon has created a pretty great space to discuss books with her book club, Hello Sunshine. You can follow, lead, or create your own. If you really want to get fancy, you can create a Trello board to keep the club organized. And, if no one reads the book, just change the word “book” to “drunk” and you will still have your club, just with a different name…
Experience your City or Town like a Tourist
It’s fun to explore the city you live in like a tourist and even better to do it with your friends. Make a date to take in some local art or experience something new as if you are visiting from out of town. Then hit up that restaurant you have been dying to try.
Give Back with Your Friends
If you want to make the time you spend with a friend really count, go volunteer at your local soup kitchen and feed the poor and disadvantaged. You will likely walk away from that experience more humble and grateful for your support system than when you started. If that doesn’t float your boat but you like the idea of ‘giving back’, then hit up a local gala or charity event near you.
Keep your eye out for our annual event should you be looking to pencil in some friend time in October.
Go on a Food/Pub Crawl in Your City
Sometimes the most fun times with friends also happen to be the most gluttonous, which is why we saved the best, or worst (depending on which way you look at it), for last. Remember when you were young and unattached and you could head out for the day with your friends and get rip-roaring blasted and stuffed to the gills? Why not recreate that experience?
Pick a little town or area of your city and make a day of it. If you live in or near Chicago, crawl through a hygge little part of City called Andersonville. You can start at Hopleaf bar for some mussels and a beer, head on to Big Jones, and round it out at Little Bad Wolf. Conclude with a sweet dessert and coffee at Lost Larson and head home with a full tummy and happy memories in your heart.
I hope you were inspired to start that text thread or call your bestie and make a day of it. Life is far too short to do otherwise.