The world-famous day of romance, Valentine’s Day has been celebrated since the 14th century. More recently in 2010, we can thank Parks and Rec’s Leslie Knope for introducing us to the concept of Galentine’s Day.
More than a fun play on words, celebrating friendships is important. It gives us a sense of belonging and even offers health benefits, according to the Mayo Clinic. Having friendships have been associated with longer life span. Moreover, having strong social connections is associated with less depression, healthier body mass and blood pressure. Here are a few health benefits we get from friendships:
- Better self-confidence and self-worth
- Reduced stress
- Offers a path to deal with traumas and celebrate successes
- Happiness-boost along with a sense of purpose and belonging
Maintaining friendships near and far can be difficult, let alone during a pandemic. Here are some ways to keep in touch with pals virtually:
- Virtual book clubs
- Sports or television show brackets
- Regular virtual game nights
- A regularly scheduled call or video chat
If you are able to celebrate in person, these are some fun ways to celebrate the love of having social connections:
- Trying a new restaurant
- Attending a yoga class together
- Arts and crafts such as a pottery or painting class
- Self-care activities such as a spa day
- Creating a vision board together
- Gift exchange
- Movie night
Looking for a treat for your celebration? Heart-shaped foods and traditions aren’t just for couples. Consider this heart-cuterie board for a night with friends that features a salami wine glass rose, heart caprese skewers, heart-shaped cheeses and veggies using a heart-shaped mold and more. I like to fill the board full of healthy items like fruits and veggies balanced with a few treats like pink cookies and cured meat.
Shanthi Appelö is a registered dietitian and health and wellness spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan based in Detroit. Passionate about the science of nutrition and behavior, Shanthi has experience working in clinical nutrition, public health and teaching in the university setting. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, exploring the outdoors, working on art and spending time with family. See more at AHealthierMichigan.org.
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