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By Lisa Hughes Anderson - Guest Contributor

Sometimes it takes getting away to come back to yourself again.

What better way to raise your spirits than to spend a carefree night with good friends. I suggest an old fashioned sleepover, just like we use to do as kids. Gather up the girlfriends and host a night in pj’s and sweats. Order pizzas, bring out the comfort food and put on a movie or two that everyone will love. Have them bring their favorite pillow and spread comfy blankets around. Sodas, wine, beer or hot chocolate can fit the bill. For dessert, buy a wide variety of those great mini ice cream containers and dole out the spoons. Remember, there should be little effort and a lot of fun. Yes, you may have to see if hubby and kids can hang out somewhere else for the night ( Grandma’s? bff’s?) or at least have their own pizza party in their bedroom.

Sleepover tips: try to have places that everyone can snuggle into as the night comes to a close, whether a bed or sofa.  When morning arrives set up a breakfast bar with goodies like coffee cake, sliced fruit, bagels and cream cheese, juices, coffee and teas.  A special way to acknowledge your good friends is to present them with a personalized gift to remember the gathering. I recently found lovely coffee mugs with letters from the alphabet at Pier One and I bought an initialed mug for each girlfriend. After throwing my own Girls’ Night In, friends were greeted with their lettered mug filled with a festive folded napkin at the breakfast bar. I explained that the mug could go home with them, or if they would like, I could keep it handy, waiting for the next time they stopped by for a chat and a cup of coffee. That special touch keeps you connected, emphasizing that your door is always open for their cherished friendship.

We women thrive on togetherness. There is something about sharing ups and downs and lots of laughter in a supportive environment that is so nurturing. You may believe it seems selfish to get away from your family, but the reality is that mom returns home with a lighter, brighter spirit and greater appreciation for all that is around her after these focused girl times. Cheers to that!

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