Support

Host your own girls' night in

Support

Host your own girls' night in

Strong friendships are important during the cancer journey, so what better way to catch up with your girlfriends than with a relaxing girls' night in? Cancer treatment can zap your energy, so hosting a low-key event at your home or a friend's house can take the pressure off while still giving you and your pals a chance to catch up, says Lauren Garvey, MS, CRC, NCC, a counselor and facilitator at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont.

"Cancer can be an isolating experience, especially if no one you know has been diagnosed with cancer or a serious illness before," says Garvey. "Social activities have been shown to reduce stress levels as well as the risk of depression and anxiety."

Reasons to host a girls' night in

Need a reason to host your own girls' night in? Here are just a few.

  • It fosters connection. "When we go out, there are many distractions, from reading the menu to ordering your meal," she says.  "A girls' night in gives you an intimate setting where you can tune out everything else, lean in and have that true connection that happens when you sit down with a group of friends."

  • It gives your friends a chance to support you. "Sending an invitation is literally saying, 'Here is a time and place where you can be supportive,'" explains Garvey.

  • It reduces social overwhelm. You may have several friends who want to see you and find out how you're doing. However, it can be overwhelming if multiple people want to have coffee or lunch, or come over to visit several times a week. A girls' night in lets you visit with everyone all at once so you aren't overwhelmed by multiple visits.

  • Socializing is good for your health. "Research shows that emotional expression positively affects us on a cellular level, so connecting with other people during a difficult time can really help," explains Garvey.

  • You can introduce your friends to your healthy lifestyle. "By starting the conversation, you can include them in your life and survivorship while providing a platform for discussion about how they can be supportive to you," says Garvey. "For example, you might serve healthy food, low-sugar beverage options and include an activity that has health benefits, such as a stress-reducing at-home spa theme."

  • You get to set the tone. If you aren't comfortable going to an outside environment yet or have low energy, socialize at home. Tailor the event to make it healthy and relaxing for yourself.

Elements of a meaningful girls' night in

Hosting an event while undergoing cancer treatment may sound overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. These tips can help you enjoy your evening.

  • Ask for help. If the idea of a girls' night overwhelms you, ask a close friend or family member if they will co-host with you or host at their house.

  • Be mindful about communication. Garvey recommends using an online invitation (such as Paperless Post) so you cut down on individual calls, texts and emails before your event, and can keep track of who is attending.

  • Create your ideal guest list. Invite supportive, loving friends and family members who encourage you, make you laugh and love you just as you are. Whether you invite one friend or 10, your girls' night will be memorable because you are taking the time to be intentional with your relationships.

  • Keep it simple. There's no need to plan an elaborate meal or a bunch of activities, unless you want to. Simply having a cup of tea and catching up with a few girlfriends can do wonders for your mind, body and spirit. 

  • Make a plan: Decide who you want to invite, what food and drinks you want to serve, and what activities you would like to do (if any).

  • Prep everything in advance: Plan and prep your food and activities as much as possible so you can relax once your friends arrive.

The one thing left to do? Enjoy your night!

"Once you are surrounded by supportive people, lean in and try your best to be in the moment and take advantage of all of the benefits of a fun fête," says Garvey. "A girls' night in can be whatever you want it to be — that's what is so fun about it."

For other fun social activities, check out the monthly Cancer Wellness calendar.

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