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5 Ways to make more time for friends

Hang with your gal pals

You work hard all day -- whether at home or at the office -- and you’re always putting the needs of others first. But your friends need you, too, and you need them, if only for a little bit of time to relax and re-ground yourself. Here are five easy ways to make more time for you and your gal pals.

Woman at cooking club

Set a date and don't break it

When you make plans with friends, pick a date and time. That makes backing out harder. Don't say, "I'll call you," because something inevitably comes up. Put it in your calendar (in your phone, your planner, or on the family calendar). Block the time out and protect it. And while a Tuesday night with cupcakes to bake, a report to write and a house to clean makes a Thursday evening happy hour seem impossible, you'll be glad to have kept that time for yourself.

Make it a regular thing

Work-from-home mom and mother of two Christine Leninger Jeffries is the founder of the Wo-Hoo! Society. Wo-Hoo (short for womanhood) is a group for women from all walks of life -- singles, mothers, married, etc. -- and they meet regularly. For Jeffries, it's her once-a-month escape.

"It's where I can reconnect with women who are important to me, just be me, and enjoy those few hours no matter what we're doing," says Jeffries. "It truly enriches and recharges me."

Stop for lunch

Sometimes, finding time in your busy day is nearly impossible, but experts say that taking time for lunch (away from your desk) is good for you. So, consider scheduling a fun lunch date with a friend or group of friends. Audrey RL Wyatt, award-winning author and stay-at-home mom with two teenage daughters, makes it a weekly event.

"As a writer, I spend more time alone than I care to," says Wyatt, "so setting aside a specific date and time every week to enjoy good food and good conversation with my writer girlfriends enables me to do the solitary work the rest of the week."

Like Wyatt, make time to stop for lunch. It can be a great opportunity for a little "me time" in the middle of your day. You also can use your lunch hour to meet a friend for a shopping break, take a quick trip to the spa or to meet at the local park for some midday sunshine.

Join a group

It can be a cooking club, book club or a Bunco group. Basically, it's an excuse to get out of the house and have a little fun. The regular commitment to others makes skipping out hard, and the laughter and great conversation with your girls is enough to lift your spirits, no matter what might be going on at home or at work.

Mix and match

Moms and busy women juggle lots of priorities -- kids, family, exercise, etc. -- and time is a precious commodity. To free some up, consider mixing and matching some of your to-dos. For mom of two Ruthie Rich, that sometimes means meeting at the local park or children's museum with friends who have kids, too. The kids can play while you and your friends play catch-up. Or you might make a date to work out and meet a friend for a bike ride through the neighborhood or for a run at the local track.

Whatever you do and wherever you are, find some creative ways to fit your girlfriends into your life. You'll be glad you did.

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