Small changes make big differences.

Tuesdays with MOJO / Schedule some gal/guy time

Marjorie Spitz Rento1 Comment

I am giddy with excitement!  My husband is leaving for a trip to Oregon tonight for 5 days.   My inbox is overflowing, and calendar overbooked.  I stayed up till 12:30 a.m. last night working.  I am groggy from lack of sleep (ignoring MOJO Maker #4 this week).  BUT, in just two days I will head east for girls weekend.  Two of my dear friends and I have observed a long weekend in Montauk together during July since I can remember.   And boy do I need it!

Montauk 2012

In fact, Facebook reminded me today of our girls weekend exactly three years ago by sharing this memory photo.  I guess my timing is good!

With life so busy, it’s easy to let girl (or guy) time take a back seat.  Turns out, that would actually be detrimental to your health – and it’s not just me who says so.

Just look at some of these studies:

Portland, OR 2014
  • A study by Australian researchers found that female friendship wasn't just good for the soul: It's good for your health. Researchers, who studied elderly women over a period of 10 years, concluded the presence of "good friends" in a woman's life increased life expectancy.
  • In 2002, a landmark UCLA study concluded that girlfriends are stress-busters for women and have an impact on overall mood -- when we're around friends, the mood-elevating hormone oxytocin is released, increasing our feelings of euphoria.
  • Harvard University Nurses' Health Study concluded not having regular contact with girlfriends was as detrimental to her health as smoking or packing on pounds!

Wow, and I thought it was just an excuse to leave the guys and obligations behind to soak in some sunsets, get the sand between our toes, sip some vino and eat local fresh fish!

Montauk, 2010

Regardless of the studies, I was aware of the benefits of “girl time” just from experiencing them first hand. Whether it a couple hours, or a getaway, time with the gals makes me a better person, friend, wife, daughter, aunt, sister and health coach.   

Sometimes our other friends join us (which is great!), but it is always this core group.  My husband knows better than to even ask to come – as much as I love him, he’s not welcome.  Plus, he gets to have his own time, which is good for him (and us) too!

If feels so comfortable to be with people who know you to the core – we pick up where we left off, our movements around the space like a perfectly orchestrated dance, and share in a deep way.

It makes sense that “Scientists now suspect that hanging out with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis.”

Three generation

They “suspect that women have a larger behavioral repertoire than just fight or flight; … it seems that when the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the fight or flight response and encourages her to tend children and gather with other women instead. When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect. This calming response does not occur in men, says Dr. Klein, because testosterone---which men produce in high levels when they're under stress---seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen, she adds, seems to enhance it.”  Sorry guys!

“Study after study has found that social ties reduce our risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol. There's no doubt, says Dr. Klein, that friends are helping us live longer.”

I’m all for that!

As for you men, I hope your partners encourage guy time!  If they don’t, just share this study from Cornell University that found “men who do not spend enough time with their friends can actually feel less attracted to their partner.  ‘A man's ability to play a round of golf or to have a few drinks with a friend who has only a passing acquaintance to his wife or girlfriend is crucial to preserving some independence in life,’ Professor Benjamin Cornwell says. The researchers also found erectile dysfunction was almost double in the group whose wives had steadily cut ties with their husbands' old friends.”

Enough said!

Montauk 2011

So, whatever you’re doing right now, take a moment to stop and get some girl or guy time on the calendar. All it takes is one instigator to make it happen.  As with me, I expect giddiness will ensue and the stress melt away with just the thought of it!  

I look forward to hearing about your plans.

This weekend, you’ll find me on the deck with these gals!

In friendship,

Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™

P.S.   I expect my friends and family will forgive me for sharing their pictures without their permission.  I stayed away from including those who tend to object (you know who you are and how much I love you).