As women, the majority of our time is spent trying to accomplish a seemingly endless list of tasks, most of which are done for others. In our determination to get everything done, we risk allowing our to-do lists to become more important than we are.

Recognizing the need to put ourselves back on our list of priorities is important. A great first step is to enjoy a spectacular night out with the girls on a regular basis.

Follow the recipe for a successful evening.

A great girls’ night out includes fun, freedom and female bonding time, along with the vital secret ingredient of frequency. Ideally, look for two or more women who would like to get together on a monthly basis. But keep the group to a maximum of six people. More women than that can yield too many scheduling conflicts.

Your selection of participants shouldn’t be limited to women you already know or see socially. Expand your circle by considering mothers of your children’s friends, teammates or schoolmates, as well as interesting women who live in your neighborhood or you meet at yoga class.

Suggest that you all go out without spouses or children for an evening that involves some decadence. The invitation is bound to elicit a few positive responses.

Keep the menu simple.

There’s no point in stressing about an evening that is meant to be relaxing and fun. Stick to a simple plan that gives you more time for enjoyment. If you prefer gathering at someone’s home, keep the preparations to a minimum. There’s nothing wrong with having a potluck or a tasty combination of finger foods and snack platters. Alternatively, you can have everyone chip in for delivery, such as pizza or Chinese food. Remember, what you do or eat isn’t as important as who you’re with.

If you and the other women decide to go out, choose a favorite restaurant or a place you’ve never been to. It’s best to opt for a locale that caters to a predominantly adult clientele. The best part about this option is that none of you will have to plan the menu, cook, serve, clear the table or wash the dishes.

Save room for dessert.

Designate your ladies’ night as a diet-free occasion. Splurging one night won’t hurt as long as you go back to your healthy routine the next day. Treat yourself to at least one sweet treat, such as a piece of chocolate cake, a serving of mousse or a mug of hot chocolate. It doesn’t take much. Even a single piece of chocolate can be a tangible and delicious reminder that this is your special night out with the girls.

Serve up some amusement.

Look for activities that make you laugh. Check out the latest comedy release or rent a classic flick like Nine to Five. Plan silly theme nights and take pictures that can be shared at your next get-together. Visit an arcade, a carnival or the park. The possibilities are endless.

The one provision is that you don’t bring children. Ladies’ nights should be adult-only evenings. You gain the most benefits from these gatherings by keeping the setting, activities and conversation centered on your group of friends, not the next generation.

Relish being yourself.

A regular ladies’ night is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself. It’s your chance to recharge your batteries, shed your many hats for a few hours and just be you.

In addition to getting a break from all of your responsibilities, such evenings provide an excellent opportunity for you to rediscover yourself while connecting with other women.

Plus, knowing there is another soiree planned for you and your friends helps you get through even the most challenging of months. It can be your lifeline on those mornings when you look in the mirror and wonder whatever happened to that fun-loving woman who used to stare back at you.

Over time, ladies’ nights allow you to establish and strengthen connections with peers. By sharing time together, you form that incredible bond that only happens with girlfriends.

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