Women celebrating Galentine's Day together

THRIVE

Why Galentine's Day is important for mental health

Your favorite February holiday is almost here.

It’s not the one with heart-shaped candy. It’s Galentine’s Day on February 13.

Galentine’s Day may be one of the newest examples of an invented holiday, but it is one with a valuable health message for women.

Galentine’s Day meaning

Galentine’s Day is all about female friendships. It gained popularity about 10 years ago when Amy Poehler’s character on Parks and Recreation, Leslie Knope, described it as “Ladies celebrating ladies. It's like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas."

Of course, it’s easy to generalize. But women often get something out of their friendships with each other that they don’t get from their partners or their guy friends. Women share the intimate details of their lives, often over a lifetime. Those experiences and the shared memories they create help you find joy and meaning in everyday life.

While Valentine’s Day celebrates you and your significant other, Galentine’s Day celebrates the special bond we have with our girlfriends.

Galentine’s Day for your mental health

Good friendships, and all that come with them, contribute to your sense of well-being and belonging. Friends can:

  • Enrich your day-to-day life by sharing new experiences and common interests.
  • Listen to your worries and keep you going when life becomes a struggle.
  • Share your triumphs, large or small.
  • Be a constant in a world that’s changing fast.

All of these benefits add up to be a powerful influence on your mental health, which, in turn, affects your physical health.

The opposite is also true. Some studies have shown that loneliness and social isolation are even more harmful to your health than cigarette smoking. Over time, being socially isolated can raise levels of stress hormones and increase inflammation, placing you at a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, dementia and other illnesses.

To learn more ways to boost your mental health, read Five Tips for Good Mental Health

Galentine’s Day ideas

  • Get a dose of green with a visit to Como Conservatory.
  • Hike or snowshoe at a regional park.
  • Try a new restaurant.
  • Schedule a spa day.
  • Cook dinner together.
  • Bowling, anyone?
  • Binge on your favorite rom-coms.

Nurturing your friendships can make a difference in your life today and long into the future. Whether you make it official and celebrate Galentine’s Day or simply stay connected with a regular phone call or coffee date, let your friends know that you’re glad they are part of your life. 

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