Friends having dinner in restaurant

Our Favorite Night Out Ideas

There’s no escaping it: sometimes you just need a night out. Whether it is with your girlfriends or your significant other, a night out can be a great way to help reduce stress and increase happiness. Nothing is worse than making time for friends or your husband then having to face the question – what do you want to do? Grabbing dinner and heading to a movie are definitely fun ways to spend an evening, but that can get old. Keep your nights out, no matter who you’re headed out with, fresh and fun with a few of our favorite night out ideas.

Comedy Club
Part bar and all entertainment, your local comedy club is sure to be a blast. Comedy clubs are a great way to discover local talent, or to see one of your favorite comedians perform an awesome stand-up set. Plus, it gives you something to talk, and laugh, about on the ride home.

Woman sipping coffee and reading a book.

Coffee (or tea) and Books
Especially fun for bibliophiles, consider making your night out a completely relaxing, leisurely experience. Head to your favorite place for java (local or chain) and try a drink you’ve never had before. Your local bookstore is a great place to end the night, perusing the shelves and talking about one another’s interests. Bonus, most Barnes and Nobles have a Starbucks directly inside so you can maximize your relaxation by not worrying about running all over town.

Arcade
Get a little silly and engage in some friendly competition when you head to your local arcade. The great thing about arcades now is that you don’t have to hit up the mall and share space with a bunch of teenagers (unless you want to) anymore. Now, there are tons of establishments that feature a wide range of arcade games and activities while serving your alcoholic beverages and perfect arcade food, like pizza and nachos.

Cheese and wine in a winery

Tour a Brewery/Winery
Chances are you live near a brewery, or a local microbrewery, that conducts tours for the public. Often, after the tour, you are treated to a complimentary beer. If beer isn’t your thing, or if you just aren’t in the mood for it, visit a local winery. Sometimes, we get so stuck in drinking our favorite go-to wines that we totally forget to be adventurous and try new things. Taking a sip of local flavor is a fun way to enjoy the company of your best friends or your spouse.

Dance Lessons
When you want to let go and have fun with those around you, look into local dance courses. For couples, a ballroom class might be a fun way to connect with each other while sharing a new experience. If you’re heading out with the girls, try to find a local hip hop or jazz class to really get moving.

Your nights out, no matter who you go out with, are meant to be a way of touching base with those you care about and having some fun. Sharing new experiences and activities is a great way to spend an evening, and you’ll have plenty to talk about the next day. A little creativity, and a willing mindset, is all you need to create the perfect nights out.

Two women enjoying martinis

Girl's Nights – What They Really Do for Mental Health

You are busy, it’s as simple as that. Career obligations, social calendars and personal commitments are all vying for your attention and it can become overwhelming quickly. One way to fight back against the constant demands is to set aside time where you focus on you and what you need:  to relax and have a bit of fun. However, saying you need to take time for yourself and actually doing it are completely different. You may feel that you don’t have time to just go out with the girls for a fun night, or you may feel guilty leaving your significant other and/or children behind. It’s time you stop feeling guilty about making time for yourself with your girls. Not only do you finally get time to just enjoy yourself, you are also engaging in an activity that has some pretty awesome mental health benefits.

Why Your Mental Health Matters
With the long list of things to do each day come people that depend on your. Your boss depends on quality work, your kids depend on you for a healthy meal and your significant other depends on you for support. It seems counterintuitive to say that you need to take time for yourself when you have so many people relying on you each day but in reality it’s incredibly important and beneficial. Without taking time to take care of yourself, how are you going to effectively take care of those who make up the important parts of your life?

The Office of Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services very plainly states the benefits of giving yourself some time saying, “[g]ood mental health helps you enjoy life and cope with problems. Just as you take care of your body by eating right and exercising, you can do things to protect your mental health.”

How a Girls Night Out Helps
Spending some time with your girls can:

  • Boost your happiness and reduce your stress
  • Encourage you to avoid or change unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as lack of exercise or excessive drinking
  • Improve your self-worth and confidence
  • Help you cope with traumas, such as serious illness, divorce, the death of a loved one or job loss
  • Increase your sense of purpose and belonging

Spending a night out with the girls decreases feelings of depression, stress and anxiety, increase beneficial hormones and can also give your immune system a boost. Research suggests that socializing with people of your gender plays a role in improving mental health. The reason is as yet unknown but there is a theory that bonding occurs due to biological hormone differences between genders and because you may find it easier to relate to the life experiences of members of your gender.

We know it may be difficult to schedule time with friends or that you might feel guilty about doing so, but you shouldn’t. Hanging out with your girls not only gives you a bit of time to relax, it also does provide serious mental (and physical) health benefits. Take care of yourself so you can take care of the people and things that are most important to you.