During the good, the bad and the holidays — your life is enhanced when you cherish a circle of friends
When I was married and my sons were younger, the holidays were all about creating a magical world of Christmas wonder for my children, an elegant Christmas party for my husband’s firm, and a large Christmas brunch for both sides of the family. Add in a few birthdays, and from Halloween through February, the days blurred from one event into another.
During this hectic time, one huge saving grace for my sanity was (and still is) my community of girlfriends. Taking time to laugh together, have lunch, or go to an impromptu movie — to simply enjoy each other — allows us to stop the craziness and enjoy the moment. I always found that after being with my friends, I would come home and spread that joy to my children and family.
Fun with my girlfriends helped open my eyes to what was really important through the holidays: love, fun and making memories.
It suddenly did not matter so much if everything was perfect, but whether everyone was enjoying, laughing and connecting.
A study from Emma Seppala, Ph.D., of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education found that “strong social connections” lead to a 50 percent increased chance of longevity. And yet Steve Cole of the University of California at Los Angeles wrote in a Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesarticle that from 1985 to 2004, people reported a decrease in having good friends. Today, one in four people report not having anyone to confide in. Cole even found that when people feel lonesome, it can increase stress to the point of feeling like a severe physical threat. That is because we, as people are social and love to interact. It fuels us psychosocially and as stated above physically.
That’s why the sisterhood of women is so vital to our wellbeing: coming together in a safe, trusting community; sharing things only other women can understand, learning from others’ experience and realizing we are not alone. There is this unspoken, yet clearly understood shared sense of ‘I get it’.
Women thrive in a strong community.
We give each other courage to try new things and stretch beyond our comfort zones. We see the humor in each other’s mistakes and, eventually, our own. We are quick to offer needed advice, help each other grow, or just lend a supportive ear when one of us needs to be heard.
True friends give us a safe zone to be totally ourselves and to know that someone has our back. It is the space where we ultimately become true sisters.
My love for learning grew because of women. When I was growing up, I loved seeing women excel in college and move into fields that, not so long ago, were not available to us. Watching them try and then succeed gave me courage as a young girl to spread my wings and believe in myself. I truly felt that anything was possible due to watching the women who went before me.
What I treasure most is the strength and love from the women who were there through the best and toughest times in my life. They never allowed me to give up and they helped me to see the humor in circumstances that made me want to cry. It was a sister friend who said, “Alena, take care of your own circle” when I felt like a victim at the beginning of my divorce. That helped me to open my eyes and take control, without blame, to pull my kids and myself together to form our strong, ‘new’ family.
Another experienced woman saw something in me that I did not see.
She took my hand and gave me the courage to step out of my comfort zone in music and into the world of writing, speaking and motivating. Her support enabled me to help others tap into their own inner divine and create the lives they want to live. I can never thank these friends and incredible women enough.
Although interacting in person is always the most fun, there are some fabulous communities of women online that offer real connection, sharing and growth. One such community is Savvy Sisterhood. Savvy is highly interactive and offers classes where women connect, make friends, share ideas and help one another. Many of these women also have local communities of Savvy right in their city or town, so they can connect in person and on social media.Savvy Sisters can even video chat through the Marco Polo app.
Another way to connect is through Meetup in your area. There are so many women’s meetups and each is doing something a little different. Finding women who like what you like is key. If you can’t find one, start your own! The possibilities for friendships between women are endless.
The holidays are the perfect time to be with your sisterhood, let off some steam, and build closeness and happiness. It is definitely a community to be treasured! When two women join — the space in between is where the magic unfolds. But remember, make time to nurture yourself. One can only nurture if they are nurtured. Don’t fall down the holiday rabbit hole without time for self.
>You may also enjoy reading Running With Purpose: Realizing the Fullness of Life While We Live It, by Dendy Farrar