The other day, with no friends available to join me on my morning run, I had to go alone. Sometimes that’s ok, but most often I prefer some company, especially when I am running up the hill at the end of the first loop. So, on this day, having been up many hours of the night tending to my sick son, I was particularly sluggish and completely dreading running up that hill. While my feet hit the pavement, I couldn’t help but think how much easier it would be if I had a friend next to me, chatting and distracting me as I my feet shuffled slowly up the incline. Amazingly, while thinking about my usual running friends — Liz, Suzy or Jackie — beside me, I somehow made it to the top and even had the energy to go around again.
And then I started thinking about friendship, life and how much nicer (and often easier) it is to do most things in the company of a friend. We often cook with friends for this reason, but did you know that our biological makeup as women actually craves the company, making it vital for us to have friendships?
Scientists have shown that when women undergo stress (let’s say getting dinner prepared!) they release Oxytocin, which encourages them to care for their children and gravitate towards others. The more time women spend with their friends, the more Oxytocin they release, thereby reducing stress. With studies revealing lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels and heart rates when women spend time with friends, it’s clear that there are health benefits. In fact, studies have shown that women with more friends tend to live happier and more fulfilled lives.
I guess my thoughts on my run the other day, are consistent with scientific thinking. And, this ”tend and befriend” concept validates what we have always advocated here at Cooking With Friends.
So, with all this time we spend in the kitchen (often alone) doesn’t it make sense to include friends? With our lives as busy as they are, often the only constant is cooking for our families, it’s something that has to be done, we all do it (or at least we should).
Apparently, September 19th was the 10th annual National Women’s Friendship Day and in fact the whole month is dedicated to celebrating friendships among women. In fact, 34 governors endorse this celebration, making it a country wide event. So, with only a little more than a week left in September, think of your friends and schedule some cooking dates. Not only will you create food for your family, but while you’re at it, you’ll be doing something that’s good for your health and longevity too!