Friendship is a form of self-care. It combats loneliness, spurs laughter and joy, helps us process complex emotions, and allows us to be truly ourselves. In the middle of a pandemic, where most of us feel alone, sad, anxious, stressed, or bored (among lots of other emotions) on a regular basis – we need friendship more than ever.
Yet, new research is suggesting that the pandemic is changing our social networks and friendships. People are shrinking their social circles and have less day-to-day interaction with their friends, than ever before. While that alone is troubling, studies also suggest that women are bearing the brunt of the caregiving responsibilities during the pandemic. The CDC reports that two out of every three caregivers are women. They also indicate that women who are caregivers, “have a greater risk for poor physical and mental health, including depression and anxiety.” #awesome.
Ladies we need friendship time, now, more than ever. Thank goodness it’s almost Galentine’s Day. Galentine’s Day, a holiday created by Amy Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope on Parks & Recreation, is a day intended to celebrate and spend time with your gal pals. It’s only the best day of the year!
Galentine’s Day, a holiday created by Amy Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope on Parks & Recreation, is a day intended to celebrate and spend time with your gal pals.
I know what you’re thinking…
“I wish I could hang with my gal pals this Galentine’s Day. That sounds awesome…but…pandemic.”
“If I have to sit on one more Zoom Happy Hour and listen to 20 people talk over each other for an hour, I’ll scream.“
I feel both of those statements on a personal level and I know many of you do, too. I’d like to offer some remedies:
Four Ways to Hang with Your Gal Pals This Galentine’s Day without a Zoom.
- “Essential Dates”. My first essential date happened almost by accident. I was texting with one of my best girl friends. We were discussing how much we missed each other. I mentioned a need to go to Target for a few essential things and she mentioned she had something to return. I suggested we perhaps go to Target at the exact same time. We met up, after the kids were in bed. Target was empty at 8:30 p.m. on a weeknight. We wore our masks, had separate carts, and casually browsed every inch of that Target for almost 2 hours. It was pure heaven. Many of us are going to the grocery store or running a few essential errands on a daily basis; Why not ask if a gal pal wants to meet you there? Who said grocery shopping can’t be fun? I already have plans for a Galentine’s Day Essential Date to Target with my best gal pal. Maybe that’s lame, but it was something I needed more than I even knew.
- Face-to-FaceTime. I spend a LOT of time sitting in my car. Waiting in drive-thrus, school pick-ups, while my daugther is at her socially distant dance class, picking up carry out, etc. I use that time to FaceTime a friend or family member to catch up – even if for only 10 minutes. Friendship isn’t built through Zoom parties or even small group conversations. Friendship is built through one-on-one meaningful conversation. It’s built through intentional questions and radical listening. Try using some of your car time to check in with a lady friend or schedule time to get face-to-FaceTime, instead of mindlessly scrolling through the Netflix menu at night. You won’t regret that time connecting with a friend, unless you haven’t seen Bridgerton yet.
- Garage Party! Some of you are lucky enough to not live in the frozen tundra that is the upper half of the US right now, #jealous. Try a small gathering of close lady friends on a patio or garage. A friend and I did this a couple months ago. She and I sat apart from each other in the garage one morning, sipped coffee, and caught up. For those of you lucky enough to still be outside right now in quazi-tolerable temperatures, there’s lots of ways to connect with your lady pals outside (but please, make sure to still mask up and keep it under five people)! Try something that gets your heart pumping or your legs moving – after all the CDC did say we’re at risk for poor physical health…
- Parking Lot Drive-Ups. It’s cold here in Indiana. Leaving the confines of my car when its 18 degrees and snowing is not my idea of a good time, no matter who I’m talking to. Recently, a gal pal and I met in parking lot and pulled up window to window (still 6 feet apart and masked). We rolled our windows down and chatted with each other for over an hour – in the comfort of our warm vehicles. We chose a parking lot that wasn’t full at that particular time of day and sat way in the back away from any other cars. It was great to physically see each other and warm my tooshy at the same time.
You might have caught on by now, but there are lots of ways for us to see our lady pals and still socially distance. I recommend ACTUALLY taking the time to be one-on-one with your friends. Those interactions are far more powerful than group happy hours, zoom parties, and large gatherings. The conversations are more focused, meaningful, and revitalizing. While I enjoy a good group text filled with memes that feel all-too-relatable, spending time in meaningful conversation with each other fills my bucket WAY more.
So, make time for your lady pals this Galentine’s Day. You might not realize how much you actually need it.