We schedule in our dentist appointments, our work meetings, our deadlines. We even schedule in date nights with our partner and time to play with our kids, but how often do we schedule ladylove time?
A recent study found we’re different to men (duh), and apparently our friendships are even more important, thanks to the way we process stress. When a stressor arises, we all release cortisol and epinephrine into our bloodstream, which raises our blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Then we release oxytocin, which counters all the crazy and produces a feeling of calm, and reduces our fear and stress.
Men release a smaller amount of oxytocin than us, because they’re all fight and flight – ready to wrestle bears and beat each other to a pulp to win the chance to shag us. This is also why they bottle up their emotions and shout at the footy on TV. (*Cliché alert but also totally based in science.*)
Us ladies, on the other hand, are all wired for drinking wine and talking to each other about our problems. This is what releases all the oxytocin, which makes us feel comforted and loved, and also less likely to set our houses on fire and move to Jupiter.
But for loads of us it seems that ladyfriends are the nice-to-haves we put at the bottom of our priority list, along with getting a haircut and going to the toilet on our own.
The importance of female friendship in my life
Last weekend, I had the good fortune to fly to Sydney to hang in the bosom of lady friendship with my very dear friend Danielle. You might know her from her award winning blog Keeping Up with the Holsbys, her writing at the Australian Women’s Weekly, or her brilliant cookbook Cook Once Feed All. (By the way, I lost my copy of that book and made her give me a new one while I was down there. So if someone out there would go over and buy one from her, that would square us up somehow in my mind. It really is a fantastic cookbook for those with kids. Just sayin’…)
I was having an ordinary week, but an hour with Dan and a bottle of wine, and there was oxytocin leaking out of every pore. I can honestly say I feel a thousand times better, and like the weight of the world can no longer hold me down. I am bullet proof. I am ladyloved.
I know I am incredibly lucky to have some wonderful ladyfriends in my life, including, of course, my bloggy buddy/work wife Gillian. That lady knows more about me than just about anyone, and she hasn’t run away screaming yet.
But the older we get, the harder it can be to make new friends. If you don’t have any right now, here are a few ideas for building your ladylove circle:
- Prioritise making new friends. Don’t leave it to chance.
- Take a chance and ask an acquaintance to grab a coffee or a movie.
- Look up an old mate on Facebook and reconnect. Unless you slept with their boyfriend. Then you should leave it alone.
- Make dates in your calendar that are lady days. Make them a priority.
- Start a new class doing something you love and choose your favourite classmate to connect with.
- Volunteer some time at a local charity or community centre or your kids’ school.
Do you prioritise ladylove time? How do you ensure time with your mates?