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From yoga to guided hikes, it’s time to think outside the box
As I placed the last linen napkin on my outdoor table, I smiled. In just a few short hours I would be surrounded by my girlfriends, in what felt like a long overdue reunion.
It had been pre-pandemic since I’d seen a few of them, and my girlfriends are some of my favourite people. Many I’ve known since childhood. They hold secrets, memories and witnessed a thousand firsts. Others are friends I made as an adult, through shared life stages. They are my soft place to land and the shoulders I lean on when life’s weight feels crushing.
If it’s been a while since someone in your friend group hosted a gathering, perhaps this article will inspire you to start making plans!
Location & food
When I organized my recent weekend getaway, my goal was to maximize the time together and minimize the work.
When planning location and food, I suggest everyone pool their money and hire/buy/outsource as much as possible. Consider renting a nearby cottage or venue, that way no one has to frantically clean their home before and after. Hire a chef to come in and make a delicious meal, pre-order charcuterie boards, or try out a new recipe a day or two before, so you have easy “made ahead” meals.
Remember to ease into your weekend. We are often so busy getting ready that we can’t really relax for the first few hours. Allow for the transition by lighting some candles, encourage comfy loungewear, set out some snacks and then have everyone sink into the couches for the catch-up and laughter that will ensue.
What to do
As for activities, I like to have a few planned, but with plenty of downtime. In the morning, after a nature walk or yoga, I like to do something creative. Perhaps bring in a local artist to teach an art project and laugh over everyone’s attempts to draw or paint. In the afternoon, I like to have some flexibility. A few people might want to head out and poke around a local vintage shop, while others want to enjoy the fresh air with a hike. Giving options allows each guest to choose.
I also like to find unique activities. Consider hiring or asking a friend to teach you something new, such as a local forager who can take you on a nature walk and then explain how to brew an edible tea from the findings. We are overly blessed in the Maritimes with outdoor fall activities — from corn mazes and apple picking to long walks on the beach. Between the ocean and the forests, the options really are endless.
Something to consider
On social media, we often see girls’ weekends involving women drowning their sorrows with massive amounts of wine, and I caution against it. The point of having time away from our daily lives is to truly feel rested and restored. I’m not saying don’t drink, I’m just suggesting you ask yourself beforehand how much focus you want to give it.
I spoke with Wendy McCallum who hosts the popular podcast Bite-Sized Balance, and she encourages women to consider their options and be curious about new experiences. If you typically drink a lot during your ladies’ trips, you might also have a great time drinking less, or not at all. It’s an experiment that has paid off for me. I find I sleep better, feel better during the day and truly enjoy my precious me-time.
I hope you find some time this fall for the respite and laughter that only your friends can give you.