My to-do list is getting out of control: I still have to buy and wrap some presents, bake cookies, order holiday cards, and finish decorating. If you’re like me, time with friends tends to slip over the holidays. But that’s not a good idea, especially for women. Studies have found that women who have strong friendships feel less stressed, are less likely to be depressed, have healthier cardiovascular and immune systems, and live longer. We need to invest in our friendships and make time for friends a consistent priority, no matter how harried our lives may be.
One key strategy for eking out that precious “girl time” around the holidays is to combine time for friends with your to-do list. If you have a friend who exercises, coordinate your schedules and work out together, whether it’s hitting the gym, doing yoga, or going for a walk. You can also schedule hair and nail appointments together or do your holiday shopping together. Think about the things you need to get done and which activities can be done with a friend. Maybe you and a friend decide to help each other address and mail out holiday cards. You could also wrap presents, indulge in some cider or cocoa, and catch up on each other’s latest news.
My friend Betsy and I are going to bake Christmas cookies together next week. Yes, we’ll have our kids with us, and yes, it will likely be a rather chaotic, messy, noisy baking extravaganza. But I’ll get to cross something off of my list (hooray!) and spend some time with my dear friend at the same time.
I’m also thinking about fun holiday activities that my family would like to do and whom we can invite along. We’re hoping to attend the Holidazzle parade downtown, and I think I’ll invite some friends to bundle up and join in the fun. It’ll make our outing more special to have them with us and we’ll be able to reconnect with our pals.
However overwhelmed you may be feeling, do your best to make time for strengthening your friendships this holiday season. It’s important for you, your health, and your quality of life.