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Here are 10 ways women can reduce stress, with their girlfriends:

1. Volunteer with a friend. Animal shelter or senior center, through a church or a neighborhood organization – wherever you prefer, volunteering together makes it more fun. Knowing that you’re helping others takes your mind off your own stress. In addition to doing something helpful for others, you and your girlfriend will have the wonderful experience of being thankful for all the blessings in your life.
2. Simplify your lives – together. Take turns helping each other organize closets. Help the other with household projects or cleaning out the basement. Make it your goal to organize, de-clutter and to trust your girlfriend to help you make good choices in what to keep and what to donate or toss.
3. Phone a friend. Sure, we send a quick email or forward a funny joke, but you need personal communication to connect with another indivdual. Give her a call to catch up. Plan a phone date at a time that’s good for both of you. I’ve had coffee phone dates with a long-distance girlfriend. We plan a time to talk on the weekend when the free minutes are rolling, and call each other from home or the corner place over a good cup of coffee. A few minutes on the phone together can totally erase the worries of the day simply through a caring conversation between girlfriends.
4. Start a girlfriend group, and don’t make it a one-time thing. Gather friends and start a book club, running club, mommies’ group or gourmet club. Having a plan to get together with several girlfriends on a regular basis is like having an upcoming vacation – it gives you something fun to look forward to.
5. Make plans to do dinner or lunch.Make it an adventure and try a new restaurant or share appetizers for a girlfriend catch-up happy hour of your own.
6. Take a yoga or Pilates class with a girlfriend. The exercise will help you physically, the girlfriend will help you emotionally – both wonderful outcomes for an hour of your time. Plus, you’re bound to find things to giggle about in class, which is worth the effort simply for the comic relief.
7. Try some animal therapy. Pets, like girlfriends, are a proven source of stress relief. Join the two and visit a dog park with a girlfriend. You’ll laugh at the dog antics and all the kinds of creatures and their personalities. Or, take a dog for a walk together. That combines exercise, animals and friendship – add a nice day and you’re set for a super stress-relieving session.
8. Be creative. Enjoy time together and forget about the stress in your lives by getting creative. Take a knitting class, plan a day to scrapbook, make cards, bead or try a new craft together. Crafting is also a wonderful way to get your mind thinking creatively which can lead to new solutions for your stressful life. There’s a reason women are so passionate about their pastimes – find your passion and some girlfriends who share that hobby with you and you’re on your way to happiness. And, you can make gifts for your girlfriends!
9. Pamper thine self. This could mean shoe shopping or a new haircut, a massage or a cup of fancy organic tea. Allow yourself some time together to take care of your inner girlie girl.
10. Get healthy – together. Weight gain or unhealthy eating often accompanies stress. Find an approach that works for both of you to be healthier – be it a diet or exercise plan, or perhaps by joining Weight Watchers or a boot camp class. Work together to eat right, exercise together, encourage each other and celebrate your successes. Stress diminishes when you’re healthy, happy and beautiful!

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