Good news girlfriends: it’s official, hanging out with your favourite females on holiday is a big tick for your health. Not that you need any convincing, but quality time with mates is shown to have significant mental and physical health benefits, so you can consider this your permission to book that trip you’ve been meaning to take for years.. Don’t thank us, thank Harvard Women’s Health Watch.
A new study into the health benefits of strong relationships found that good, solid friendships reduce the risk of heart disease, help manage physical pain and even extend our life expectancy. Spending time with your pals also increases the amount of oxytocin (the feel-good hormone) in our systems, so this is big news.
“Social connections like these not only give us pleasure, they also influence our long-term health in ways every bit as powerful as adequate sleep, a good diet and not smoking.” - Harvard Women's Health Watch.
Sadly, the study found that those without strong bonds are more likely to experience cognitive decline earlier in life, depression and even have a shorter lifespan. One paper that collected data from over 300,000 people found a lack of strong social connections increased the risk of premature death by up to 50 per cent. But it’s not all doom and gloom (we’re about to get to the holiday bit, we promise).
“Dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems and live longer." - Harvard Women's Health Watch.
The research advises that while day to day life can be cluttered, taking time out (AKA booking that holiday) to focus on the importance of friendships and foster meaningful relationships is key. So next time someone tells you that drinking margaritas in Mexico with your girls is a waste of time, you can tell them you’re investing in your health.
Image source: Contiki
Need some inspiration? Here are Contiki’s top three girls’ trips:
We weren’t kidding about the margaritas (we never joke about margs). This trip hits up the best spots in Mexico from Tequila to Cancun for 12 days of fun, sun and a whole lot of tacos and culture!
Sailing around the Dalmation Coast on board a sailboat is dreamy stuff. Grab your girls and do a summer in Europe as you score front row seats to gorgeous sunsets every day.
Vibrant culture, tasty food and experiences you’ll never forget await you and your besties in Vietnam! An untapped Asian country to be sure, but you and your friends can fix that on your next adventure.