Advice Column

Why every woman needs a girls’ weekend away

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“I love my husband, but there is nothing like a conversation with a woman who understands you. I grow so much from those conversations.” – Beyonce

The last 18 months have been gruelling! As a result of juggling kids’ homeschooling, working from home, doing the mountains of laundry and cleaning the house so there’s a teeny semblance of organised chaos, your girl squad has been firmly relegated to the bench. With sanitising, social distancing and masks have become our new normal, now more than ever, women are craving the physical connection with their girl tribes for much-needed time out. There’s nothing quite like a girly get together to boost confidence, recharge your battery and create a safe space (AKA shoulder) to cry on.

Shaun Lamont, Managing Director of First Group Hotels and Resorts admits, “It’s not a secret, all guys know that female friends fulfil a role that no man ever could.” In addition to ladies-only getaways being full of fun, connection and relaxation opportunities, Shaun says that studies show that they also provide a multitude of other benefits.

It’s good for your health

At least 22 studies have shown that having social support decreases the heart-racing, blood-pressure-boosting responses that humans and other social animals have to stress, and the hormones it sends surging. When oxytocin levels are high, reactions to stress are dampened, and stress is less likely to do the kind of damage that can lead to chronic diseases such as heart disease and metabolic disorders. We even heal faster and better from wounds when oxytocin is high.

It’s been proved that people with strong social support structures have more robust immune systems and are less likely to succumb to infectious disease – this is so relevant with COVID-19 all around us. Psychologist Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, who studies friendship and health, calls social support “the most reliable” psychological indicator of immune response that has been found to date.

It’s good for your career

When women support women, they’re more successful – collaboration over competition rules! The Harvard Business Review found that while both genders benefit from having a strong network to lean on, women with a close circle of female contacts are more likely to secure executive jobs with higher salaries. Why? People do business with those they like and trust, and women tend to spend time on building and nurturing relationships. Women also aren’t afraid to ask for advice and to praise, giving credit where credit is due.

You’ll live longer

Women tend to reach out to their girlfriends when stressed, whereas men generally internalise their stress, thinking it’s a sign of weakness to ask for help. But as the mortality stats will testify, this more often than not leads to fatal heart attacks.

You’ll be happier

Social connections truly are the key to happiness and positivity. Friends make us burst into raucous laughter when we are feeling down or raise a glass in celebration with us when we have good news. The need to belong to a girl tribe is quite simply, fundamental to happiness.

Bottom line? “Road tripping with your mates is good for you. And whether you’re into long, leisurely, poolside naps, or taking hundreds of selfies; working up an appetite on a hike, or getting lost in a good book, you are guaranteed to make a bucketload of long-lasting, magical memories,” Shaun concludes.

Visit www.firstgroup-sa.co.za for loads of girly getaway destinations.

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